BOOK REVIEW – The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye WaltonThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
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*2.5 Not so Strange or Beautiful Stars*

I loved you before, Ava. Let me love you still.

Well….two months ago when I heard about this book and saw the stellar reviews, I never would have thought this would be the end result. It was beautifully written (contrary to above^^^) and it had a well thought out story line with no gaps to be seen…but…I can sum up this book in one word and, let me tell ya, it’s not groundbreaking: boring. This book was boring. Boring, boring, boring, boring, boring, boring, BORING. Never has a shorter book been more boring.I HATE saying this about such a popular book, but I just could not and did not connect.

I found it ironic that I should be blessed with wings and yet feel so constrained, so trapped. It was because of my condition, I believe, that I noticed life’s ironies a bit more often than the average person. I collected them: how love arrived when you least expected it, how someone who said he didn’t want to hurt you eventually would.

What’s worse is that I barely even highlighted anything…even if I don’t love a book, I always highlight the parts I do love like crazy. So when I hardly felt the pull to highlight something, it really set the alarms off in my head. My biggest problem with this book was certainly not the characters-they were painted vividly and didn’t leave any fogginess as to their personalities or what their purpose was in the story-nothing was left to the imagination. But that’s where it went south for me-this book’s fatal flaw, for me, was what other people said made it so special. I’m the black sheep. I disliked this book so much because, wait for it, it was almost too overdeveloped. I know, right?? We readers and reviewers always want more depth, more description, more world-building….but in this case, the world building and character back stories suffocated me and made me feel like the sole purpose (or at least what I thought the sole purpose was supposed to be) was convoluted and wasn’t even in the story all that long….and I feel like the main character wasn’t even the main character…

Love, as most know, follows its own timeline, disregarding our intentions or well-rehearsed plans.

That’s right people. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was more about her mother and her lost and longing love than about Ava herself-which bugged me…I’m sorry. I just feel like when the story is said to be about Ava Lavender, it should, in fact, be about GD Ava Lavender…Am I wrong in wishing this? I mean…Ava didn’t even become a factor in the story until, what, 30%? Doesn’t that seem a tad over-excessive for building a back story? Well, it was for me. And, hey, I was okay with it even then. But when she finally entered, it still wasn’t wholly about her and I just wasn’t okay with it then. When it was just the late intro (short book, but still), it was acceptable, because the world needs more well thought out books. But when Ava finally became the ‘sole person’ of the story, it wasn’t overwhelming, my senses didn’t overload, I didn’t love her as a person and…and it just was too little too late-it wasn’t enough to make me love this story and it’s characters.

A person with a curved heart line was a person capable of great warmth and kindness, a person willing to give their whole selves to love, no matter the cost.

It’s all so ironic because I am one of those readers who kinda loves the delayed male entrance into a story-sure, I start jonesing for the male like the rest of the red-blooded females on this site and in the reading community, but I’ve always thought it adds more to the story when he enters-it gets so built up and when they finally meet or see each other again, their connection has became THAT much stronger. So, it’s ironic of me to be a little angry that Ava wasn’t in the story for so long, but I feel I’m justified in my reaction-once she entered, there just wasn’t enough stage presence.

Years later the lights of the growing city would erase the stars from the sky, but back then they shone through the branches like jailed fireflies.

Okay, I’m done whining and complaining-despite my nasty star rating and saying to go along with it, the writing was actually very beautiful. I highlighted some parts despite their lack of significance just because I loved the way the author described something-the writing was never the problem. It just wasn’t enough. And then I did adore the boy Ava fell for. He was sweet, kind, and absolutely adorable (when he was in it). And her best friend was fun, too-pushy, but fun and (most of the time) loyal. The only character I did abhor at times was Ava’s mom. I mean…her story (which turned out to essentially 60% of the book for whatever reason) was, here it comes…boring. At first it was cute-her falling for a guy and it being forbidden love and all-but then she won’t let it go-Years…and years….and years later…and we are still hearing about this dude even though there’s a perfect guy right beside her and-Oh gosh, I started complaining again-but to sum up, the mother drove me insane at times. Which, this became a problem because she was a large part of the story.

“Love can make us such fools.”

I am so so sad that I didn’t love this book. I even had bought an extra copy on hardback at Target as it sat on my kindle app for months because A) it was just so pretty and B) I just knew I’d love it. Sadly, I did not. So, if there was one thing I’d say to people, it would be that Ava was an absolutely sweet and lovely character. If you love stories with very intricate detail and world-building, you will probably love this one too. Her guy is nice, she is nice, the world the author built is nice…I just didn’t fit into it.

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