In the past couple of months I read a few YA novels, all within a relatively short span of time. I found them to be nice reads but falling short of the intrigue presented by their premise, and ultimately not reaching the full extent of their potential. This made me look back at the YA novels I have read and reviewed so far to re-visit my prior experiences. While there are a few books that fell short for me, there are five stand-outs that I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend.
1. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
If I had to recommend just one book, it would be this one. It is a smart, character driven debut novel that is absolutely brilliant. It follows a nine-member crew travelling on a tunnelling ship whose job it is to punch holes through space in order to create shortcuts. A must-read.
2. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
A strange and heart-breaking story about a girl born with the wings of a bird. It’s wonderfully engrossing with great depth of character as it explores the struggles of Ava and her family. Continue reading “Top 5 YA Novels I Have Read & Reviewed”
“To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale.”
Ava is a normal girl, with one unique difference: she was born with the wings of a bird. She is from a line of women with odd abilities and traits, but hers is one that is quite noticeable. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender introduces us to Ava’s family and walks us through their history, struggles and misfortunes, particularly when it comes to love. There are many stories told throughout, narrated by Ava, which lead us to her own story and her life.
The words in the title itself best describe this book; it is strange and it is beautiful. Strange in concept and absolutely beautiful in the writing, storytelling, and delivery. There are stories within stories and each character that plays a part is given a rich and interesting background. Ava’s narration is captivating and her emotions are captured and related wonderfully. This is a book for fans of magical realism and storytelling. It is not a book that is full of dialogue and action. Instead it is one that focuses on the stories and depth of its characters. For a strange and beautiful read, I would absolutely recommend The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.
Favourite passage: “I’ve been told things happen as they should: My grandmother fell in love three times before her nineteenth birthday. My mother found love with the neighbour boy when she was six. And I, I was born with wings, a misfit who didn’t dare expect something as grandiose as love. It’s our fate, our destiny, that determines such things, isn’t it?
Perhaps that was just something I told myself. Because what else was there for me – an aberration, an untouchable, an outsider? What could I say when I was alone at night and the shadows came? How else could I calm the thud of my beating heart but with the words: This is my fate. What else was there to do but blindly follow its path?”