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Monday, 3 April 2017

Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern


Book: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Series: Flawed #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: April 5th 2016

 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 took me by surprise. The story, the characters, the premise, it all quickly drew me in until I vanished into this world and found it impossible to leave until the final page was turned. It’s dystopian, and even though I'm not the biggest fan of dystopia, this is fairly mild as far as dystopias go. (Think of how The Selection by Keira Cass tried to make her series dystopia, except this book does it far better).

It tells the story of a world where perfectionism is celebrated and any ethical or moral mistakes mean you become “Flawed”.  This means you are branded with an F on a certain part of your body, depending on the mistake you made, and are deemed separate from society and have separate rules and laws to abide. Being “flawed” or “perfect” had absolutely nothing to do with looks, who you love, or what you believe in. Race, sex, marital status, gay and lesbianism had nothing to do with it. It’s about whether you steal, lie or are disloyal to the government or in the workplace. Take a risky venture to expand your business, and it fails? You’re branded as “Flawed”, for life.

It was an incredibly interesting idea, and I loved the way Ahern handled it. Even in our lives, we have socially constructed views and stereotypes on everyday things, even as simple as blue is a boy’s colour and pink is for girls. And we see our protagonist discover these stereotypes she never realised she had regarding Flawed people and begin to question everything she used to simply accept.

I really liked our main character, Celestine. She was a very well-developed, relatable girl. She was being hailed a hero by some and being punished by others because of a decision she thought was logical and humane, and her whole life was changed because of it. But despite being called a hero, she never once believes it and doesn’t want all this hope and faith people are putting on her. She always appeared very human and average, despite what was happening to her. It made her very relatable. While I didn’t agree with all of her actions, I still at times believed that it was something I would do if I was her in situation too. And that’s what made her so great to read about.

What I also liked about this story was the fact that while Celestine’s life does change drastically, she still stays at home and attempts to live her life as “normally” as she can. She doesn’t run away and start a revolution with a ragtag team of misfits who all believe the system is flawed (no pun intended). While I believe the sequel will take that direction, this book was delightfully fresh as it didn’t take that clichéd route. It just made the whole thing so great to read. I also loved that her family was as supportive as possible despite everything happening to her and how much their lives changed too.

One problem I did find annoying was that it was never made clear where and when this book was set. The author is Irish, but this book had American spelling, while also some Irish phrases. However, as it is dystopian, I like to think that it’s in a distant country that is a mixture of both Ireland and America. We also were never told whether it’s set in this decade or way in the future. There were no technological advances so I think it was, again, set in a parallel world or something similar, but I found it irritating that it was never made clear. Another thing the author seemed to do was show conversations rather than tell them – there would be paragraphs of Celestine explaining a conversation she had with someone.

Besides those, however, I still really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to those who like dystopia and the idea of fractured societies. It’s definitely worth a read.  

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