I’m so happy I can use book blogging as an excuse to read ALL the books. Go outside? Can’t, reading a book for the blog. Do something productive with my life? Can’t, reading a book for the blog. Here is a book I read recently: Flawed by Cecilia Ahern.
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Publication Date: 24 March 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Childrens
You will be punished…
Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.
But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.
In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.
“Flawed” is the first YA novel from bestselling women’s fiction author, Cecilia Ahern. You may know her from P.S I Love You and Love, Rosie (both of which I rather fancy re-reading now…) Set in a dystopian future where people are branded “Flawed” for making decisions that could be seen as morally wrong, we follow Celestine North, a young girl with a bright future. Celestine is a good girl, and wholeheartedly believes in the Flawed system. However, one snap decision leads to Celestine being branded Flawed, and beginning a new life completely different to the one she had planned out.
First things first, lets talk about the Flawed system. If you are found to be “Flawed” you are LITERALLY BRANDED like an animal with a ‘F’ symbol. You can be branded on your hand, foot, chest, FOREHEAD or TONGUE, depending on your crime. Like.. what the actual?! You would genuinely be better off being an actual law breaking criminal. Yeah, you would go to prison, but when you came out all would be forgiven. If you have lied in some way, you will be found Flawed, and you will be treated terribly, FOREVER! Pardon the pun, but what a flawed system! How can you get anywhere in life without taking a risk, or telling a small lie? Why would you let your government set up an agency that had the power to permanently scar you for life, and make sure your life is terrible for as long as you were alive?! Who has the right to do something like that?!
Celestine, our main character and narrator, was a flat and boring character. #sorrynotsorry. I get that she is meant to be a “good girl” and a big believer and advocate of the Flawed system (which is why her being branded Flawed is such an order for her) but it was hard to connect to her or feel any empathy towards her plight.
I struggled with the writing style and tone of Flawed. At the beginning, it felt like it was aimed at a younger audience (which is fine by me, I don’t have a problem reading something aimed at a young age range), but then later on there was a use of the “f” word, and no, I don’t mean “flawed”! *blushes* Who is the book aimed at? Is it for 12 year olds, or is it for 18 year olds? I also thought that the dialogue was unrealistic and cliche (you are helping me on my journey! etc) but to be honest, it wasn’t that bad to put me off reading further.
Moving on now to the love triangle… or what I presume is supposed to be a love triangle. Yawn. I like a love triangle in stories, but this felt so contrived and forced. Celestine’s boyfriend Art (nice name, mate) didn’t come across very well. Unbelievably charming? More like unbelievably boring. I didn’t really know what was up with him, and Celestine’s pining and adoration for him got on my nerves. Carrick, who I think is meant to be the “other man“, was made out to be more than what he actually was. I don’t understand why he is meant to be “the other man” when he and Celestine actually never had a full conversation with each other. Seriously! He looked at her a few times from his cell, and was witness to her branding, but that’s about it. I don’t understand why Celestine kept thinking about him and being rather dramatic about finding him. Personally, I would have preferred it if they had been in the cells together, and had struck up a friendship of some sort. They could have confided in each other about their worries, dreams, lives, and made a real connection. How can I root for a couple that have basically just looked at each other a few times?
I get the message behind “Flawed”, namely our attitude to public shaming and how we should be proud to be “not perfect”, but I think it could have been done better. It would have made more sense if you were found Flawed by being a criminal, as surely committing an offence against the law would show you to be a “flawed person”? Perhaps Celestine could have stolen something (the age old story of stealing bread to feed her hungry siblings comes to mind) or she could have been killed an abusive parent/boyfriend/girlfriend or helped a terminally ill loved one to die? I sound a little bloodthirsty here… *gulps nervously* but you get my drift, right?
I have to admit that despite my reservations, Flawed was an intriguing story and I did find myself wanting to read on so I could see what happened next. It reminded me of The Hunger Games; a young girl unwittingly starts a rebellion against the oppressive and cruel system. I’m not going to lie, I probably will end up reading the sequel, but I’ve got a while to wait for that as I believe it isn’t published until next year.
As there is a second book planned, I feel that most of the action will happen in that book, and indeed a few reviews have noted the lack of action. Whilst I would agree with them, I also think that the absence of something “big” makes the smaller events in this novel have more of an impact. The rebellion is beginning, but it is happening slowly. Perhaps a little too slowly, but it is happening nonetheless.
I therefore award Flawed 3/5 stars. A good, enjoyable story, but I feel like it could have been executed better. Indeed, this book is flawed! *laughs at own joke* I think younger readers, especially those new to YA, will enjoy this book more than I did. Oh well, back to the Kindle I go…