Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Series: Flawed #1
Published by Macmillan
Published on April 5th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
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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.
Cecelia Ahern’s Flawed, about a society that strives to be morally and ethically flawless, has quite a few flaws of its own. I had great expectations for this book and I just knew that I would love it. But, that’s not at all what happened. From the very beginning, I found myself bored. The story is written in first person, told from the perspective of our main character, Celestine, who is perfectly perfect and perfectly dull. Celestine is that annoying overachieving perfectionist type you knew in high school. You know the type–the grammar corrector, the rule follower, the class president (that was me, me and ME). But, think of that multiplied by 10. She’s logical and smart, but also incredibly naive and selfish, and she sees the world in black and white. Because, in her world, you’re either good and perfect or you’re Flawed, displaying weakness in character. This world’s definition of flawless would probably have Beyoncé like:
To be considered Flawed, you have to do something like tell a lie or steal, something immoral. Or, you might do something that we would consider completely moral, like help an elderly man who is sick. This is what gets Celestine branded–in a moment of rash decision making, she shows compassion to a Flawed man. And then, her world changes.
While this dystopian tale is unique in many ways, I couldn’t help but feel that I had read it a dozen times before. As I read, I was reminded of books such as Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium. The story centers around a world that is obsessed with achieving perfection and a government that is willing to do whatever it takes to handle anyone who tries to stop them from achieving that goal.
I liked the family dynamic of the story. I especially enjoyed reading about Celestine’s relationship with her older sister, Juniper. I think that Juniper was one of my favorite characters (along with Pia, a journalist who helps Celestine). I found myself wishing that the story was told from Juniper’s perspective. She’s a bit more rebellious and less naive than Celestine. More interesting than her. But, I did find that Celestine became a bit more likable as the story progressed, gaining some courage and learning to stand up for what she believed in.
“I can’t be Flawed. I can’t be Flawed.
I am perfect.
My parents say so, my teachers say so, my boyfriend and even my sister–who hates me–say so.”
The story doesn’t have too much of a romantic plot line, but there is a small love triangle. I’m not a reader who absolutely, positively hates love triangles, but I do have an opinion on them: give me greatness or give me nothing at all. If you’re going to add a love triangle into your story, a trope that has been misused and overused time and time again, then it better be a damned good one. Actually, it has to be better than good and more than a plot device. Give me Jem and Tessa and Will. Give me Rafe and Lia and Kaden. Don’t give me the stereotypical love triangle found in Flawed, the one-dimensional good guy versus the bad boy. That’s been done too many times before.
Flawed isn’t a terrible book–I liked the diversity and the concept and some of the characters–but it’s not spectacular either. It just wasn’t what I was expecting, which was something new and fresh that would stand apart from all of the other dystopian stories I’d read in the past. I’m not sure if I’ll continue with this series. I’ve always found that the first book in a series can be slow and lackluster due to the worldbuilding and the setup, so I may be willing to give this another try in the future. I love Cecelia Ahern’s stories, but this one just wasn’t a favorite.
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