The Memory Trees

The Memory Trees
By Kali Wallace
Published: 2017, Katherine Tegen (HarperCollins) Books
Genre: YA Fiction, Magical Realism, Mental Health


Beyond the window the morning was bright and glittering, the sky a breathless blue, and the hotels on Miami Beach jutted like broken teeth across the water, but all Sorrow could see was the orchard. There were trees whispering behind the walls of the office, and she almost believed if she turned—if she was quick—she would glimpse their sturdy thick trunks and rustling dead leaves from the corner of her eye.

I have seen this book recommended all over Bookstagram, and it is in a genre I have newly discovered that I enjoy so I waited and waited for it to come to the top of my hold list at the library. I was not disappointed.

There was just enough magic in the book, while the majority of the story line stayed within the real world. I do like when a book has a lot of the magical aspects to the book, such as The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, but I also enjoy when it has just a touch of magic so that it could almost really happen.

:…a darkly magical novel about a mysterious family legacy, the bonds of sisterhood, and the strange and powerful ways we are shaped by the places we call home.”

As we follow Sorrow on her quest to regain her memories surrounding her sister’s death, we learn how much our present and future is shaped by our family, the history of our family, the dynamics of the family in our home, and the community in which we grow up in. Sometimes, our own actions are so influenced by previous generations, that we can wonder if we would have made a different choice if we had not had those influences and preconceived notions.

Kali Wallace has a wonderful way with words. Her descriptions were beautiful and you definitely could feel as if you were right there, within the pages, standing next to Sorrow, experiencing everything right along with her.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys magical realism or fantasy fiction.

There were no gaps in her memory anymore—the missing pieces had been here all along, cradled in the mountains and waiting—and in their absence the seams between the lonely lost child she had been and the person she was now were that much harder to find.

The Memory Trees

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the strange and beautiful sorrows of ava lavender

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
By Leslye Walton

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This book was so fantastic and so phenomenal that I had to read it twice.
Ava Lavender was the book club pick for this month. The first time I read it, I had it done in just 2 days.
I thought I should read it a second time before our monthly meeting to make sure I did not miss anything since I devoured it the first time. I took a little bit longer to read it the second round so I could grasp more of the details; 4 days.

To many, I was a myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth–deep down, I always did.
I was just a girl.

Myth incarnate……but just a girl.

The book follows 3 generations of women through life; we walk with each of them through their journey with love, loss, tragedy, understanding and redemption. It is unique, however, in the fact that the story is told from the narrative of Ava Lavender, the 3rd generation in this line of women.

I loved the background story the author gives us so we can understand what makes Ava who she is and how the women before her fit into her story. Emmilienne seeks to forgive, Viviane seeks love and Ava seeks normalcy and acceptance.

Lesyle Walton, in her debut novel, weaves just enough realism within the story that there are moments that you have to check in with your mind to remember that it is magical realism and pure fantasy. She makes it easy to get so wrapped up inside the pages and the characters that you tune out the world around you and forget that it is just the result of a brilliant imagination and extraordinary writing.

The writing, the words, the language, the flow of the story of Ava Lavender is quite captivating. It is poetic, it is whimsical and it is exceptionally enchanting to read.

Just a girl……normal…..accepted…….is that not what we all want, wings or not?

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There is some adult content. While it is a YA book, I recommend this for older teens and for you to pre-read it to gauge what fits into your family’s level of acceptable literature.

This next section is where I usually add to my review after my book club meets and include some thoughts and opinions of the other ladies, but I do not want to ruin the magic of this book for you by giving away spoilers. 

The majority of the ladies enjoyed the book, although magical realism is quite different from what we typically read.

I highly recommend this book and it is definitely one I could see myself reading multiple more times.

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

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