This month’s FYA Book Club selection is The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. Check out the discussion questions below! (Slight spoilers ahead.)

P.S. If you’ve already read the book, feel free to add any other discussion questions of your own in the comments!

Content Warning

This book features one scene of sexual assault, and while it’s not graphic, it’s still awful.


This book follows the lives of three generations of women. Looking at your own family tree, do you have a female relative whose story you admire, or who lived a particularly interesting or unique life?


1. Out of the three generations– Emilienne Roux, Viviane Lavender and Ava Lavender — whose story did you find most compelling and why?

2. Leslye Walton writes in a distinctive style, combining traits of magical realism and historical fiction. Did you enjoy her writing? Why or why not?

3. All of the heroines in this book experience terrible heartbreak– which instance impacted you the most?

4. At one point, Ava says,

And I, I was born with wings a misfit who didn’t dare to 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– a misfit, 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?

By the end of the story, do you think that Ava still believes in destiny?

5. Did you find Viviane’s enduring love for Jack Griffith believable? What about her obliviousness to Gabe?

6. When Nathanial Sorrows and Ava first meet, why do you think he affects her so much? Why is she drawn to him?

7. Gabe attempts to figure out how to help Ava use her wings to fly, and Viviane believes that it’s better not to even try. Do you think that either of them is necessarily wrong or right?

Additional Questions

Check out the official discussion guide here.

This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.