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Flawed by Cecelia Ahern (A YA Book Review)

Flawed takes place in a somewhat futuristic society where the government has established something called The Guild. The Guild determines people to be morally or ethically flawed for everything from false advertising, to assisted euthanasia, to philandering. Celestine North considers herself average, she doesn’t want to blend in she just literally wants to be perfectly average. However, that all changes when she rushes to the aid of a Flawed person, a crime in and of itself. The novel begs the question, what makes us human and who is allowed to take that away from us?

At first I didn’t know what to think about this book. Sometimes it seemed a bit preachy, as if Ahern had witnessed or experienced a great injustice. In the acknowledgements she recognized that she wrote Flawed with a lot of anger, and at times that emotion actually seemed palpable from the page. In the beginning, the characters could have been fleshed out more, and some scenes seemed grazed over. The branding scenes were a bit graphic and disturbing, but I already knew they would be from an editorial review on Amazon. Some have criticized the premise, and I agree it seems extreme and somewhat unrealistic, but fiction, especially dystopian, is exactly that because it revolves around the question What If?

This book got better for me with about 150 pages left. Carrick intrigued me from the get-go, as I was never impressed with Art. I am curious to see where that story line goes. Once Celestine starts having more personality and more at stake, the story got more interesting. Some events were predictable, and others I found myself surprised. It is definitely a trust no one situation in Celestine’s world. Everyone has their own agenda, just like in real life. Overall, I think the characters should have been more fleshed out from the get go to emotionally invest readers sooner. There were also a couple times where it was like watching a scary movie and you think, ‘No, don’t open that door!’ and you want to shake Celestine for being so naïve. Also, the premise is not new (real life examples, the Civil Rights Movement, Holocaust…) and the whole Us vs Them mentality. That aside, I am interested enough to see what happens to the characters to read book 2, Perfect, when it comes out next summer. I would give Flawed 3.5 stars.

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