The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

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 naïve 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.

I wouldn’t have wanted to be the one to write a summary of this book. That one really does it no justice at all. Ava Lavender spans 3 (plus a ghost) generations of women. The main narrator is Ava, mentioned above, but she goes back in time to explain her family’s story first. It seems like a normal immigration tale, with just a hint of witchy wonder hidden in the gene pool.

Honestly, I wasn’t near as interested in Ava’s character as I was Henry’s. Sure, Ava is the “weird” one, with her wings–but I don’t think that makes her the main character or hero in this story. Henry is autistic (though they only call him quiet), and his special focus charts the map of the story right up to the very end. Leslye Walton writes Henry into the background so perfectly that unless you are paying close attention, you won’t catch up until it is too late. And that is really the whole dang point.

The book is a bit of a slow starter, but once the family history gets rolling, it picks up. Give it 50 pages and you won’t be sorry. This snowball gets big quick.

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