YA Review: Flawed Ceceila Ahern
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Published in: 2016
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Find it here: Flawed
This ARC was provided by Harper Collins UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
Book Worm’s Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story. I found myself totally invested in Celestine and how she dealt with what happened to her. Ahearn has done a great job of world building. The story is set in an alternate future, after the banks crashed, and it is similar enough to society today, with the exception of the Flawed, that it rings eerily true. Given the right set of circumstances, I could visualize this new society occurring.
The characters face tough moral decisions. Should they do the compassionate thing in-spite of the threat they could be found Flawed or should they do what the rest of society does and turn a blind eye? I enjoyed the political undertones and how the book captures the way events are spun by the media and those in charge. I also enjoyed the allusion to recent events in England where things are not black and white such as assisted dying and the Ashya King case where those in charge appear to be out of step with those they govern.
Unfortunately, there is a “love triangle.” This seems to be a staple of YA fiction and it’s a trope that I would be quite happy to see dropped. Seriously a single heroine or hero would be cool. The biggest problem is that I have to wait until next year to find out what happens.
Reading this book so soon after we published our post questioning why so many adults (myself included) love young adult fiction, made me contemplate some of the Slate article’s claims against YA. The author of said article made several generalizations about YA. I briefly consider some of those claims and my reaction to them based on my experience reading Flawed.
- YA is more dramatic: There is some truth to that claim in this book because it is a dramatic book. However, adult thrillers by the likes of James Patterson are more over the top in terms of drama.
- YA is less Realistic: Really? I mean have you read any of the Jack Reacher series?
- YA is less ambiguous: in terms of this book, this claim is wrong. The protagonist is living in a society very much like a mix of apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany where a simple choice of right or wrong could end up costing you and your family your lives.
- YA books have neatly tied endings: This is the first in a series ends on a cliffhanger so it’s hard to judge the ending. However, take a look at classic literature like Jane Eyre. It is an example of a neatly tied ending.
- Less graphic sex: True, there is no sex in this book
- Less graphic violence: People found guilty of being Flawed are publically branded with red hot pokers that is pretty graphic for me, although not as graphic as the murders in say a Karin Slaughter book.
- YA is more simplistic: This is wrong again. Flawed is a very thoughtful political book. It questions real cases that have occurred here in England in recent years and it examines how both the media and society treated those cases. It also raises the question of how justice can be achieved in a flawed system.
So who would like this book? Fans of dystopian fiction will love this new world and it goes without saying that if you are a YA fan you should pick this one up.
Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Flawed
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