The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Foolish love appears to be a Roux family birthright. And for Ava Lavender, a girl born with the wings of a bird, it is an ominous thing to inherit. In her quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to join her peers, sixteen-year-old Ava ventures into the wider world. But it is a dangerous world for a naive girl… goodreads

Finishing The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is like emerging from a strange and beautiful dream. The first couple of chapters serve to poke holes in the reader’s perceptions and invite you into this, I think I’ll use the word a lot, strange other world – where the wall between reality and the fantastical is smudged and a character can turn into a canary.

I didn’t know what to make of this story at the beginning and wondered if I’d even continue but I soon found myself wrapped up in the strange goings ons and the beautiful writing and before I knew it I was turning the last page.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is narrated by Ava Lavender – a girl born with wings – but as she recounts the history of her family the feel is more third person than first – even when she catches up to her own timeline. This distancing is part of why it took me a while to fall into the story.

At the beginning of the story Emilienne explains to her younger sibling that, ‘Love can make us such fools’ and this line echoes through the life of each family member as they are all irrevocably changed by the love in their lives verging into the dramatic and foolishness that love brings.

The writing is gorgeous and clever and delivers the Gondryesque feel of the story perfectly. At times I felt disconnected, due to narration and the windy plot, from the story but by the end of the book my heart was so full of each love that was lost, scorned, yearned and shared that even with slight disconnection this story still impacted me.

Thanks to Walker Books for my review copy.