genre: young adult fiction
Ava, the girl with the lovely wings. Yes, wings. With feathers. Without them, she would just be an ordinary girl, but with them? What is she? Even she doesn't know.
In an attempt to understand where she comes from, Ava digs into her family's past, finding within its roots a tragic history of love found and lost and broken. Through the tales of Ava's grandmother and mother, this magically realistic story shapes the fleshy truth of how a girl like Ava came to exist.
When Ava is ready to make her own life story, she ventures into the small town her family has lived in for generations. The events that happen and don't happen will tie the past with the present and teach Ava about what is truly worth living for.
First, you should know that I am a fan of magical realism. If you don't enjoy reading about impossible things that just are taken as reality without being a work of fantasy, this book will drive you crazy. But if you are like me, you'll find some magic within these pages. I love generational tales, especially when they take on a near-mythic sheen. Girls with wings. Bakeries with irresistible delicacies. Ava's family story is full of incredible heartbreak with glimpses of beauty. The writing is sparse and lyrical without ever feeling contrived. While it hurt to read about so many characters choosing to feel pain instead of working through their issues, in the end I felt like Ava had a harshly beautiful story to tell.
I need to mention, though, for those who are concerned about content, that this feels like a pretty adult book for something categorized as YA. Several sexual scenes, one violent.
(read on Nov 26, 2013 - arc provided by publisher)