My Rating: 5 strange stars
Synopsis: 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.
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.
On occasion, when I have finished the final words of a book and sit for a moment to soak it in and finally close the pages, I feel like something has shifted inside of me.
This is not an often occurrence.
It is a rare thing that happens once a year if I am lucky, and this one was that book for me. I keep reading things and saying “nothing is going to top that book for me this year,” but other books come along and steal that top place in my heart.
This book takes the cake.
I would not call this a young adult novel because I believe that very few people of my generation will actually read it in its entirety and feel effected as I have. There were some graphic sexual portrayals and unusually dark themes that made me stop and say “I would not recommend this to many young people.” I believe it is more for people who are about 20 and older.
That being said, the problem was that this book made me want to recommend it to everybody. I wanted to climb up on rooftops screaming and pay for television airtime to convince the world to pick up this book.
This is a story about love, not a love story. If you want to be comforted by a gushy romance, then maybe save this one for a time when you want to be hit in the face with the harsh reality of love.
The crazy things about this book is that, while it is about a girl born with wings and a family who is odd in ways that only a novel with magical realism and fantasy elements can produce, it was very realistic.
This book is less about a girl with wings who has a sort-of-but-not-entirely magical family, and is more about the ways that love can often suck.
The synopsis of this book is quite misleading. I expected that most, if not the entirety, of my reading experience would be spent witnessing Ava’s life, but she was only about 40% of the book, and maybe even less than that.
At first, this upset me. I want wanted Ava. I wanted the winged girl.
Instead, I got a fascinating cast of characters spread out through multiple generations as they loved (and more often lost) those close to them. A trade that is more than fair.
This book, in all of its beauty, is filled with pain. There is murder and suicide and sex that is not consensual. There is unrequited love and obsessive love and people who, after suffering through many of the pains listed above, simply decide not to love anymore while ghosts of the dead haunt silently from the corner.
This book is as strange and beautiful as the title suggests. And it may just be one of the best books I will ever read.
I acknowledge that this book is not for everyone. I don’t think I would ever suggest this to someone who is not an avid reader or is not at least a bit strange themselves.
For me this book was the perfect combination of broken dreams and the hope that can follow afterwards. If any of that works for you, then you have come to the right book.