Published October 6th 2016 by HarperCollins Children’s Books (first published March 24th 2016)
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Genre: Young Adult
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“I am a girl of definitions, of logic, of black and white.”
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.
Macmillan’s Feiwel and Friends imprint has acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to Cecelia Ahern’s debut YA books, Flawed and its sequel, Perfect, due out in summer 2016 and summer 2017, respectively.
Sort of like The Scarlet Letter meets Divergent, Flawed and Perfectare set in a future society where perfection is valued above humanity and “flawed” people who commit acts of disobedience or rebellion are branded with an F.
When this book first came out in hardback, I bought it. Not for myself, but for my best friend who, like me, loves Cecelia Ahern. The great thing about Ahern is that she writes LOADS OF BOOKS and ‘for the past twelve years’ has ‘been writing one novel every year’. I can only bow down to her in admiration, and thank her for the pleasing fact that I am never stumped for gift ideas when it comes to my friends birthday every year.
I waited until Flawed came out in paperback to treat myself to it, and I started reading it soon after. Whenever I buy a new book, I like to take a photo and post it on my bookstagram and it just so happened that another bookstagrammer, Emily, had just started reading Flawed and she asked if I would buddy read it with her. I said yes, and we began!
Once I started reading, I immediatly felt unsettled by the society that Celestine North is living in. Her mother is ‘perfect’, a model no less, and all her observations centre around perfection, and the personalities of those around her. We soon realise that this society is the same as ours, except that as well as people being sent to prison for crimes, people are branded ‘Flawed’ if they commit a personaility-related crime, or something that might cause them to be seen as having a flawed personality. This might be caused by lying, aiding a Flawed person, doing something that may be seen as a ‘theft from society’.
To me, it all sounds very petty. But there’s a wider message contained within, and that is apparent from the start. I almost started to read it as though it was an analogy to certain areas of our own society. The way we put other people down for their appearance if it is less than perfect, or the way we might dislike someone just because their personality differs from our own.
The way the characters in this book treat the Flawed is not unlike the way black people used to be treated. This is evidenced most strongly when we find out that there are designated seating areas on buses for the Flawed. Rosa Parks springs to mind.
From the outset, we know that Celestine is going to make a mistake that could mean she is branded Flawed, and I’m glad she broke the rule, because it was the right thing to do. Which holds another message: this book is set in a society that punished people for doing the right thing. What is right in this society, seems wrong to us. They think it’s perfection, but what this book will show is that flaws are what make us human.
At the start, Celestine wasn’t very likable, but she came into her own throughout the course of the novel, and by the end I was rooting for her every step of the way!
Once I got into it, I was hooked and I didn’t want to put it down. I raced through it and now want to read the sequel, Perfect.
Read this book, and you’ll realise that the society we live in isn’t really so bad.
Link to the book on Goodreads: Flawed
Here I am going to offer you snippets of my discussions about the book with Emily, as I was reading it. However, my thoughts will contain the odd spoiler or two, so if you don’t want to know what happens…then you can skip this bit!
Page 35 – Chapter 8:
I’m getting more and more hooked into it, and I think this coming chapter is going to be the one where things start getting darker.
I really love it, I’m getting even more hooked!
I really love the silent relationship going on between her and Carrick. I’m so excited to see where the second book will go! I think [the Flawed] seem more human to me. They’re punished for things that it doesn’t make sense to be punished for…? I love how much it’s making me think!
I’m not really feeling much for her relationship with Art. When she had a visitor and assumed it would be Art, I knew it wouldn’t be him. I was glad it was her Granddad! I like him. Plus, I think there’s some kind of underlying creepy thing with her and Judge Crevan (Art’s dad). The way she describes him at the beginning is not how I’d expect someone to feel about their boyfriend’s dad.
She knows all these intimate things about him that she lists at the very start. And at one point he is really angry at her and she comments on how he’s not as handsome as she first thought. As if she’s subconsciously attracted to him, which is just creepy.
I want her to see how unsupportive Art is and how he won’t understand what she’s going through. I ship her and Carrick at the moment and I want to know more about him. When she got a letter off Art, there was a part of me that wanted it to be him saying how they couldn’t be together or something. I wanted to see her reaction to that, but instead she clung to his ‘love always’.
I had a feeling it would be Art that Juniper was going to see. With her sneaking out it was clearly going to be revealed at some point and I think Art was the only one I could think it would be.