Published by Candlewick Press on March 27th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Lyrical, Magical Realism
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 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.
I came upon this book quite by accident, or maybe it found its way to me. I was visiting my local bookstore and there it was just waiting for me. Shiny and gorgeous (I mean just look at that cover…what a glorious beauty!) it sat on that bookshelf summoning me like a moth to a flame. I walked with it cradled in my arms as I explored the bookstore (it was my first time there, and definitely not my last, though they really should have a cafe). I wanted to refrain myself from buying it right there and then because I was on a book budget and had recently just arrived home a few months before from Book Expo America with a suitcase filled with new books to read and review, but I could not stay away from it for long. It beckoned to me as if it were a siren’s song and I just HAD to read it.
This book is exquisitely written, and it broke my heart into a million pieces. I finished it months ago, but could not write a review for it because I did not have and still don’t quite have all the words and ways I want to express my love for this story, especially for Ava.
Walton writes a story soaked with emotion and atmosphere. As you read it you “feel” with every inch of your being what the characters are going through and this allows you to connect with even the most minor of them. It’s a story about the history of a family that spans generations, it’s about new love, old love, tragic love. It’s a story about the scars left by love. It’s a quirky and very odd story, and it definitely is quite strange through most of it.
It’s not all unhappiness and gloom either, I promise!
Many might not think it’s a story that has hope, but I believe that hope is there, but first you must heal the wounds left by love before you can move forward.
It is an exceptional and memorable book that lingers within you even after you have long finished reading it. From the moment I opened and read the first few lines I was completely enthralled with it and I haven’t yet quite let it go from my mind.
“To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth — deep down, I always did. I was just a girl.”
I don’t want to say much more about it. I think this is the kind of story you should jump into without knowing too much and explore its beauty. It should be experienced in the “raw” and felt in the deepest of ways possible.
**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**