Thursday, January 08, 2015

Best of 2014: Magical realism

One of the many items [old and new] enjoyed by Burbank Public Library staff during 2014, recommended for your consideration:

I've read many great books in 2014, but The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender really captured my heart, and has me looking forward to future books by Seattle-based author Leslye Walton.

In this unique and beautiful book, the winged heroine Ava Lavender tells the reader about three generations of the Roux family, and the events that led to her own birth with the wings of a bird.

Growing up shielded from the world, with just a brother and one friend to keep her company, Ava Lavender wants more than anything to live like a normal girl. However, knowing that the world will fail to see her as normal, Ava is complicit in her confinement. But as she tells her story, it becomes apparent that Ava is not the only member of her family who had to face extraordinary circumstances. Love and heartbreak surrounded the lives of every female member of the Roux family, and as Ava approaches her fateful sixteenth year, tragedy looms within reach. As she faces her own inevitable heartbreak, Ava will have to finally decide for herself if her wings were meant for flying.

As a fan of that particular melancholy and quirkiness of John Green's books and Aimee Bender's magical realism for adults, Leslye Walton's writing had a particular appeal for me. The book has beautiful writing--lyrical, punctuated with moments of offbeat humor that carry the book seamlessly towards its grand ending. It also features a great deal of two of my favorite things: rainy Seattle weather, and French bakeries!

Chosen by Anush B., children's librarian

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