I read this book because I liked the cover and I wanted to fulfill the “read a book for its cover” category for my reading challenge. Since that is usually not the best way for me to choose my reading material, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.
However, I wasn’t over-the-moon for it. The plot meanders a lot. When a book title has a character’s name in it, I tend to assume that the book is about that character, but only about half the novel features Ava. There are a lot funny little tangential stories about minor characters, most of which contain something weird or magical, but they do almost nothing to further the plot. Sometimes, I felt like I was reading a series of short stories rather than a novel.
It appears that this book is often considered to be magical realism, but I wouldn’t categorize it that way. Conceptually, I’d call it urban fantasy. Stylistically, I’d call it a fairy tale. The language reads very YA to me, but there are a few adult scenes that I think are very un-YA. So, for people who might want to give it to young people, you might want to take a closer look.
It has a setting that reminds me a lot of Joanne Harris’ Chocolat series, which I think is lovely, but the writing just isn’t as much there for me as it is in Joanne Harris’ books.