I’ve always been a bit of a softie for YA fiction and while I’d say it’s a bit insulting to refer to it as a guilty pleasure (who needs to feel guilty about reading young adult? It’s fab!) I’d say that’s exactly what this book was to me. I was quite shocked to receive an advanced reader copy of “Flawed” by Cecilia Ahern- I absolutely love Cecelia Ahern’s books for adults and I’m pleasantly surprised to say that her contribution to the YA genre is an amazing one, and I can’t wait for the next instalment of the story. Thank you very much to Harper Collins books for providing an advanced reader copy of this book for me to enjoy!
I’m big into dystopian fiction and this book slots itself perfect into the genre. We are introduced to Celestine, a girl who has everything and more- she has the perfect family, the perfect boyfriend and ultimately, the perfect life. The story is set in a place where committing a moral crime is punishable by being branded ‘flawed.’ If you are branded flawed, you’re made to wear your brand visibly, for all the world to see, and you lost your rights as a citizen- you aren’t allowed to travel out of the country, you have specific designated seats on the bus, you’re forced to wear an armband signifying that you are flawed and you follow a strict curfew and dietary plan. Needless to say, Celestine allows herself to get into a position where her own morals are called into question and her actions ensure that she is deemed flawed. She is then shunned in a society in which she had previously been so perfect.
There’s a lot of room for spoilers as far as this book is concerned, so I won’t say much more than that about the plot. I will say, however, that I absolutely love what Cecilia Ahern has started here-her characters are interesting, full of personality and easy to relate to. I particularly love Celestine- as a main character she is feisty and intelligent; and her grandfather, who is basically the most kick-ass grandad I’ve ever read about in YA fiction. I’m also incredibly interested in finding out how the friendship between her and Carrick is going to develop in future books, as I think that this could work in weird and wonderful ways. I loved how the Ahern has taken time to discuss certain characters histories (particularly Carrick’s)- this sets the tone for the book and allows an interesting twist to the plot when darker pasts are taken into consideration. The villain created in Judge Crevan is fantastic, especially in one scene in particular, a scene which really changed the pace of the story, as well as having the power to shocked me as a reader. Crevan, as head of the Guild which rules over the region, reminds me of a “big brother” type character and I must admit that the political side to the novel reminded me of Orwell’s works in general (by no means am I comparing the writing quality and style to Orwell, but in terms of where it’s going with its political opinions and the theme of the manipulation of the media there are definitely similarities.) I’d also say it’s quite similar to the Scarlet Letter, with it’s branding with the letter F on those who are deemed flawed enough to receive punishment.
I’d definitely recommend this book to other readers, particularly those who are fans of dystopian YA fiction (such as the Hunger Games trilogy, the Divergent trilogy and so on) as it is very similar to these books in its approach and is definitely a very good read all-in-all.
You can buy FLAWED from all the usual places from Thursday 24th March, 2016.