Nobody’s perfect. 4/5 stars.
Thank you to HarperCollins UK and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book in return for an honest review.
The blurb: 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.
If a frail stranger needed urgent medical attention, would you help them? Of course you would. Now, what if helping this stranger would get you into lots of trouble, would you still help them? You’d probably like to think you would anyway, right? But what if helping the stranger meant you and your family got into a lot of trouble? What would you do then?
These are the kinds of dilemmas raised in Flawed which, like all the best dystopian fiction, encourages its readers to ponder difficult questions. It also touches on interesting issues such as trial by media and the often slippery distinction between legality and morality.
Flawed manages to weave these questions and issues into a highly-engaging and entertaining story. Our heroine and first-person narrator, Celestine, is very sympathetic. Unlike many heroines in YA dystopian fiction, she has no “special skills”, nor is she kick-ass or sassy. She’s a maths nerd and, like most teenagers, just wants to fit in at school and spend time with her boyfriend and friends. Flawed is the story of an ordinary person thrust into an extraordinary situation, struggling to cope and discovering she is far braver than she imagined in the process.
This is Ahern’s first foray into YA fiction and the book is clearly written for a teenage audience. Our heroine grows up a lot in the short time period covered in the book, learning that (sadly) everyone has an agenda and the distinctions between right and wrong, good and bad, are often more difficult to discern than she had believed. These ideas may be old hat to a more world-weary reader, but this does not make them any less important. Indeed, the book’s main message – that none of us is perfect, that we make mistakes to learn from them and our flaws make us interesting and individual – is one that bears repeating, particularly to teenagers who may long to be “like everyone else” rather than celebrate what makes them different.
Overall: a must-read for all those who enjoy dystopian fiction. I enjoyed Flawed very much and look forward to reading the concluding part of the series.
Claire Huston / Art and Soul