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Publisher's Summary

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga. Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender.

Ava - in all other ways a normal girl - is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naive to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the summer solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

©2014 Leslye Walton, original book published by Candlewick Press. (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful and Haunting Fairytale

What a lovely book. It reads like a wondrous tale spanning three generations of women from France to New York to Washington State. Each given special attention and detail, the women traverse sad circumstances. The writing is superb and lyrical, akin to the style of Neil Gaiman.

Sorry I haven't given much detail, it deserves to be experienced and not chronicled out ruining the surprises.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring and imaginative writing

If you could sum up The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender in three words, what would they be?

Beautiful, sad, artistic

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender?

Vivianne Lavendar goes into the Summer Solstice Festival describing the beautiful things around her: the musicians playing lovely tunes, the delicious pies made by the schoolgirls' mothers... and as she runs away from the festival in a sad state she describes the same items again through a different emotion: the drunk musicians and the over-baked pies. It was so beautifully written and I found myself inside of the book many times.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Ava is kissed for the first time. Leslie's description is lovely and so heartfelt. It reminded me of my first kiss with my husband.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

You must let them go for them to come back again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Watited for the story...then for it to end

I wanted to love this book. I, like some other reviewers, found it on a list of YA novels to watch out for. I was disappointed. It is a fairly grown up story with lots of violence, etc, which doesn't bother me in the least, but the language is immature, almost like a fairytale at some points and so simplistic as to draw attention to itself and this strange contrast of content and style--not incredibly well written (of course, I think listening makes this more noticeable and especially in the absence of a captivating storyline).

It was an interesting premise in which Walton created a lot of interesting exposition and back stories but the story of Ava Lavender itself falls flat. You never really care about her; she is little more than the character who happens to narrate the story, nor are there any other characters you are really rooting for. When bad things happen, as they inevitably do, you are not surprised or upset. It's like a really long, twisted bedtime story. I just wanted it to be over, knowing it was not going to offer me any sort of awesome plot twist or satisfying conclusion, so that I could go download something else! Some people seemed to really like it, but if you care about a strong story and characters, look elsewhere.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite book!

I bought this audio book because, I saw the cover and was drawn in. Pretty wine bottles and book covers always get me. While listening to the first few chapters I know I thought to myself several times “What the hell, this is crazy!” but by the end of the book I was crying and breathless. It spans 4 generations of a family that is familiar with oddities. It’s horror, it’s mystery, it’s violent and then it is beautiful. It’s so beautifully written that I stopped several times and wrote down some of the lines because I wanted to remember them. The narrator did a FANTASTIC job. There are so many different characters and accents in this story and I was never lost. I want to listen to it again. I highly recommend!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

why the ending though!!!

No spoilers but I needed closure for this, I have too many feelings invested in the characters to not have a concrete ending!!! whyyyyy?

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Strange yes, Beautiful no

Too weird. I didn't get the ghosts, I didn't get the long family history. I didn't get the ending. I just couldn't put it all together cohesively, I guess. My daughter (high school) also was ambivalent. I did appreciate the theme of learning to love your own differences; and I did appreciate the bakery scenes!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Magically rich

The characters, the details, the intertwining histories and the magical parts...what a beautiful story of love, loss, survival and devotion.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Slow To Get Into, But A Strangely Beautiful Finish

It took quite a while for me to gain interest in the storyline, part of which I'm sure had to do with the monotone narration - hence my 3 star review... however the last five chapters saved it for me. Definitely not for everyone, but I'm glad I gave this one a chance nonetheless.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Sakuya
  • California, USA
  • 03-06-17

Boring

It took me a year to finish this story. Ava was barely in it and when she was she wasn't even her own person but a shadow of her pitiful mother and distant grandmother. I would have liked to known more about what was in Henry's head and what his thoughts were. The story spent so much time telling what everyone and the kitchen sink (I almost want to say literally there) thought when they didn't say it. It would have been great to know Henry. Don't even get me started on the uncaring and borderline nonchalant manner in which this family treats tragic events. The way Ava tragedy was handled was so laughable and downright messed up I lost focus for a moment.
I can't recommend this story. However the audible version is more bearable only do to the peaceful voice of the narrator.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

When magic is not magical

This book tried to hard. With absurdly they were cool names of absurd Lee supernatural characters in the book ended up falling flat. And Ila magical realism as much as the next girl but this went both too far and not far enough. In addition, there is unnecessary violence that seems gratuitous to the max. I tried for the entire time I was listening to this book to like it, But it just got worse and worse for me. Oh well!