*This Review is Spoiler Free*
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a young adult magical realism novel by Leslye Walton. The first portion (let’s just say about half of the book) follows Ava’s family before she’s even born. The latter half of the story follows Ava, a sixteen year old girl who was born with the wings of a bird on her back. We follow Ava as she begins to broaden her world and try to fit in with others her age. This is a novel that I feel you should go into not knowing much. If you do read the Goodreads synopsis, I HIGHLY suggest you skip over the 3rd and 4th ‘paragraphs’ of the synopsis as they give away some plot points and insinuate to major events towards the conclusion of the story.
The story is beautifully written and the cover is gorgeous….but for some of the story, that’s all it has going for it. Although the novel follows more than one character and quite a bit happens it still doesn’t feel very character and/or plot driven. I can’t articulate it here in this review…stuff happens but a lot of the time it doesn’t feel like anything is happening. I know that doesn’t really make sense, but for some of the story I felt like I was walking around in a daze, simply mesmerized by the writing, but not actually aware of my surroundings. Still not making sense…but I tried lol!
So, like I was saying, I whimsically floated through the plot until it punched me in the face and gutted me like a fish. I wish that before reading it someone…anyone would have warned me of the sexual violence that was going to occur. So please, please, PLEASE heed this TRIGGER WARNING of sexual abuse and acts of descriptive violence. I know some people don’t believe that literary triggers are a ‘thing’ but I honestly would never wish for someone who is sensitive to sexual violence to go into this book unaware that it would occur. I am triggered by such events, so I just want to make sure I do my due diligence in letting others know what to expect if you decide to give this novel a read.
Something just fell very flat for me with this story. It felt to be missing something, although the story covers a large span of time and so much happens to and around Ava. I adore the poetic writing and would re-read it again in the future…when I’m ready to be emotionally and psychologically f***ed over again. I just did not enjoy my reading experience of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender as much as I hoped I would and as much as I’ve seen a lot of others enjoy it through their reviews. Even with the prose driven rating boost, I can only give this novel 6-out-of-10 unicorn horns. I hope you all connected with this novel more than I was able to and loved it! Also, please don’t let this review put you off from reading the book. If you are not triggered by sexually violent content I would suggest that you give the book a try. Happy Reading!