The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

20170804_205249

5stars

“Love makes us such fools.”

Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Author: Leslye Walton
Good things about this book: It is magical and so well-written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Perfect narration, lovely characters, a wonderful story told by an exceptional person. Felt like being in a world that was a mix of Amélie Poulain and Pushing Daisies. This book felt like all the colours, the brightest ones. It was enchanting and magical. I loved it all; I also loved how mad certain passages made me feel, at the way the scenes narrated made me navigate through my emotions. It was the perfect book, of the perfect length, for perfect summer afternoons. I read it slowly enjoying every bit of it.

The whole book is told by Ava Lavender: an exceptional girl born with a pair of extraordinary wings. Ava and her twin brother, Henry, are two peculiar children, each of them with something that make them stand up to the world, that make people see them as different. Ava with her wings and Henry with his silence and amazing map drawing skills.

The story, as much as it is about Ava, it is more about her family: her grandmother and mother’s adventures mainly. Ava recounts the story of her great-grandparents when they decided to move, with their four children, from a little town in France to Manhattan. It is a sad story about misunderstandings, love, lost love, pain and death. It seems that nothing goes right to the women of their family when it comes to love.

She worried she couldn’t protect me from all the things that had hurt her: loss and fear, pain and love.
Most especially from love.

I really loved how things were told, the feeling you got of the surroundings really brought out all the magical realism of the story. How the natural elements were mixed up with magic, without being weird or exaggerated, was done perfectly. There’s so much magic in this book and it fits it like a glove. I wish I lived in Ava’s world with ghosts, wings, baked goods that could change your mood, a weird house and its marvelous inhabitants. They brought me joy and I read about theirs lives feeling like a friend.

She learned how to worry. She, who’d always thought love’s only companion was sorrow, learned that worry came hand in hand with love.

Ava Lavender is just a girl. Her mother, Vivian, is just a heartbroken woman. Her grandmother, Emilienne, is just a baker. They are “just” something until you stop looking at the surface without seeing how many layers of magic, kindness and strength there is inside each one of these women. They are the powerhouses of this book. They are what make you turn the pages anxious to know more, to see them get the ending they truly deserve.

I recommend this if you’re looking for a magical book but as much as it is a light and easy read, check the trigger warnings and if knowing everything you still want to give it go, then you have my full approval!

firmablog

Release by Patrick Ness ☆

20170609_135153

5starsplus

“Ain’t no shame in a broken heart.”

Title: Release
Author: Patrick Ness
Good things about this book: The way Ness writes is bewitching!
Bad things about this book: Nothing, at least for me. Check the trigger warnings before reading, though.
Do I recommend it? Yes, absolutely.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I couldn’t put it down and this is the third Ness’s book that has done this to me. I loved it with all my heart; there is something in Ness’s books that resonates with my soul and I feel them embracing me and cuddling me. The magic touch, at first peculiar, settles into the narration almost unnoticed and unforced. All of this makes Release one hell of a book to read and treasure.

This is not the easiest of books, it is a book about life and the obstacles it throws at you; it gives you hope in a better future if you’re willing to fight for it. It is so hard to fight for something you don’t think you deserve because you’ve been “taught” that what you are goes against nature, against the will of a lord you think doesn’t really care how you live your life.

“Through prayer, everything is possible-“
“I don’t know, I’ve prayed for years to change your heart. Nothing’s happened so far.”

Adam Thorn doesn’t believe he deserves being loved. He grew up in a very religious family being the son that’s different in a way they don’t dare to say out loud. Adam is gay and his family thinks it’s merely a phase, they think what he feels is not real. How much realer can it be if it breaks his heart in a million pieces? Adam Thorn has loved and his broken heart is the result of it. Will he ever let go of the past and fight for a future worth living? Will he ever let go of the boy he gave his all to but apparently was never willing to give anything back?

Where on earth had this day come from? And where was it headed?

We follow Adam throughout one day of his life; one day that will change everything. He will wake up, run errands, exercise, go to work, help his father and say goodbye to the boy who broke his heart. It’s going to be a long day, a day of news that will test his mind and episodes that will test his heart. Today everything changes.

He starts his day going to buy flowers his mother will certainly hate, and then running to clear his mind thinking how everything he does is never and will never be enough. He wants to go away and be himself but at the same time he is struggling to find some kind of peace in a home that has conditions for you to be worth being in it.

He can’t evade and find peace at work either with a boss sexual harassing him who knows pretty well how these accusations will go away easily; after all, who will believe a 17-year-old gay boy saying his boss touches him inappropriately? Here comes the frustration, the realization that a teenage boy is helpless, unable to reach for help because the world has this unbelievably twisted conviction that teenagers can only say lies and you should never believe them.

“They’re your parents. They’re meant to love you because. Never in spite.”

Adam finds his peace with Angela, his best friend. She is a tough girl and she is there for him whenever he needs it. Her family is different, open minded and kind, a safe refuge when he needs to get away from his cruel reality. Angela and Adam are a wonderful duo, ready to take the world head high. Their flashbacks show how incredible their friendship is.

“I’m always gay?”
“In every universe.”
“That makes sense. Are you always short?”
“Except in the universes where I’m Beyoncé.”
“In some universes, we’re all Beyoncé.”

I was so happy about Angela because at this point in the book I was ready to fight everyone who was in the way of my big blonde guy and his happiness. Adam deserves the world and I was more than ready to give it to him. Letting go is hard, painful, but once it’s done you’re free to live and start again. Our brain is one hell of an instrument: it tortures us when it decides on its own accord to fish memories you wanted hidden. Mastering the cohabitation with your bad memories is the way to keep them at bay and not letting them hurt you ever again. They are there, you sense them, but they don’t control you; you don’t allow them to do it.

Will Adam be ready to let go? This day will decide it; it will decide his fate.

While we follow Adam on the day his life is going to change forever, a spirit called by one single, an apparently innocent, action will leave the safety of her home to answer questions she doesn’t even know were asked. The magical realism, very similar to the one in the other Ness’ favourite of mine “The Rest of Us Just Live Here”, can seem out of place but you need to let it flow, no questions asked. It’s a parallel quest, seemingly unrelated, to our Adam’s journey, that will set in motion the end of the world, as we know it.

This book left me shaken. I related to parts of the book and sympathize with everything else. I was frustrated and angry, I wanted to scream, I wanted to cry but I also wanted to have hope and believe that maybe the world doesn’t really hate us the way we sometimes think. That maybe we can build ourselves a safe heaven in the midst of our not so very perfect lives.

I loved Release and it confirmed my love for Patrick Ness and the way he writes. It’s a hit or miss in my opinion and I understand when the story doesn’t reach everyone the way it reached me. Nonetheless, it is a story worth reading.

“Never pass up the chance to be kissing someone. It’s the worst kind of regret.”

firmablog