Monday, 15 February 2016

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern **Review**

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Series: Flawed #1
Pages: 400
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Release date: 24th March 2016
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK

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Thanks to the publisher for my review copy of the book.

Goodreads synopsis:
The stunning YA debut from internationally bestselling author Cecelia Ahern.

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 in which 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 this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

I first read Cecelia Ahern when I was about 17, starting off with A Place Called Here, a book that I really loved. Despite that, though, I haven't really read too many of her books, mostly because I rarely read the kind of books she writes. But when I heard she was publisher her first YA novel, my interest was immediately piqued, and I knew I had to read it. Her style was always easy to get on with when I did read anything of hers, so I expected it to be similar with Flawed. If anything, I think Flawed was even easier to get on with than her adult books, and I was drawn into the story almost immediately.
But it wasn't until things started to go seriously wrong that I became totally engrossed.

The main character, Celestine, is thought of as the perfect girl – perfect grades, perfect boyfriend (the son of Judge Crevan, the leader of the Guild), not a misfit but not too popular, and she knows where she's heading in life. She never puts a hair out of line and always knows exactly the right things to say.
That is until her seemingly perfect neighbour, Angelina Tinder, is accused of being Flawed and taken away to be branded. This rocks Celestine's world and she begins to call into question the system that is supposedly there to keep her world safe and untainted from those who are morally corrupt.

Once Celestine begins to see the cracks in the system, they appear everywhere, and a further incident occurs that leaves her unable to stand by and simply watch. But this act calls her own character into question and she is faced with repercussions that could be with her for a lifetime.
But it's what happens when a seemingly perfect and innocent 17-year-old girl is punished for acting out of kindness, logic and compassion that really throws their society into chaos. Celestine never wanted to be the face of change, but this is what she is fast becoming, and she's left scrambling to find her own way, and her own voice, in the sudden chaos of her own life.

Just as I was only really gripped by this story once things started going wrong for Celestine, I only really found myself beginning to like her at that moment too. It was only when she opened her eyes to the wrongs that were being committed around her and began doing something about them that I found her tolerable. Before that she was just like everyone else around her seemed to be; a sheep, a drone.
But once she started to act, I found myself really rooting for her. She took things into her own hands, and although reluctant to be a poster girl for either side of the campaign, she was never truly reluctant when it came to doing what she thought was right, and that alone was bringing about change. Actions truly do speak louder than words, and Celestine's shout the loudest.

I guess the main function of Flawed is to discuss what makes 'perfection'. The Guild was set up to remove 'flawed' and corrupted people from positions of power, people who had made mistakes and errors of judgement that had lead to the near-collapse of their society.
There are some fantastic quotes that discuss this:
"If you make a mistake, you learn from it. If you never make a mistake, you're never the wiser. These so-called perfect leaders we have no have never made a mistake. How can they have learned what's right and wrong? How could they heave learned anything about themselves? About what they feel comfortable doing, about what they feel is beyond the scope of their character? The more mistakes you have made, the more you have learned."
This is probably one of my favourite quotes from the book, simply because I love (and totally agree with) its message. Making mistakes is one of the most important things you should be allowed to do, because, like the quote states, how else can you grow as a person?

But it wasn't really a mistake that Celestine was making – her act was one that I feel was right, and that is portrayed as right, even if some characters do not agree with it, so there is a level of irony to that – to mark a girl Flawed when she has actually been more right than those who condemn her to be forever branded as wrong.

I enjoyed the direction that Celestine's story went in, but I think I would have preferred a little more to happen before the end of the first book. There was a certain character that I was expecting to play a much larger part in this first instalment, but their role after their initial introduction was only very small.
This character was also accused of being Flawed while Celestine was locked up during her trial. Although they never really spoke, a bond was forged between the two anyway. And although we didn't see much of him, I liked him instantly and wanted to know more about him. I'm disappointed that we didn't get to see more of him than we did, but his lack of presence leaves me wanting the second book even more.

I also expected another reveal to happen in this book, which eventually didn't occur. It was a little frustrating, as I feel it's incredibly obvious, even though it's been set up as something apparently surprising. I'm just hoping that it's discovered and moved on from quickly in book two.

Overall, I think I would have wanted the story to be a little further along by the end of this first book, but I am fairly satisfied with it so far. It is by no means a perfect story, but wouldn't that kind of go against the message of the book anyway? (That nothing is truly perfect, and nor should it be?)
Celestine is a strong character who I've enjoyed watching grow and develop, and I can't wait to see what happens with her in the next book. I would have liked a little more from some of the other characters, but there is still time for them to come into play in a much bigger way in the next book.

I really enjoyed Flawed and would definitely recommend it.

Other quotes I liked:
"Courage does not take over; it fights and struggles through every word you say and every step you take. It's a battle or a dance as to whether to let it pervade. It takes courage to overcome, but it takes extreme fear to be courageous."
"I can understand now why people read, why they like to get lost in somebody else's life. Sometimes I'll read a sentence and it will make me sit up, jolt me, because it is something that I have recently felt but never said out loud. I want to reach in to the page and tell the characters that I understand them, that they're not alone, that I'm not alone, that it's okay to feel like this."


Aizel Camille Macaldo said...

I've read a number of Cecelia Ahern's book and liked them all. I'm gonna have to check this one out. Thanks for sharing. Nice review! :)

aparajita said...

I have only read Ahern's Love, Rosie, this book begin in a YA category sounds pretty slick and so different from her other works.... Thanks for the recommendation!

Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

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