Following the popularity of The Hunger Games there seemed to be a flood of dystopian YA novels being published. YA readers, including myself, gobbled up these books. However, these stories can start blending together, especially if they have similar themes. A dystopian story has to be something special, with a unique idea to really grab my attention now. When I heard about Cecelia Ahern’s YA debut, Flawed, I was intrigued about the premise and I had to read it. It is one of the best YA dystopian stories that I have read in a long time and it had me gripped from start to finish.
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.
I absolutely loved Flawed! It is a tense, action-packed, edge-of-your-seat read. Cecelia has created a world that you need to know everything about and characters that you love and loath. The action speeds along and keeps you greedily reading but Cecelia also makes you feel for the characters.
The world of the story is one of things that makes Cecelia’s dystopia quite unique. The story is set in, Humming, a city that could be somewhere in Scotland. The city is overlooked by Highland Castle, the headquarters of The Guild. The country is ruled by the government but a separate organisation called The Guild was set up to separate the morally and ethically flawed people from society. If you are accused of being Flawed you are tried in the Guild court. If you are found guilty you are branded in a place on your body (your temple, your hand, your chest, your foot or your tongue). If you are branded as a Flawed then you must live a simple life, with only basic food and many restrictions. This system, however, only exists in the city of Humming. The Guild and its system is an experiment and is being viewed by the rest of the world to see how successful it is. This system has been in place for many years, with both supporters and opponents, but when Celestine is found Flawed the system gets tested.
Celestine is a very well written character. I have to admit that I found her pretty annoying at the start of the book. She’s got the perfect life, with her perfect boyfriend, and she seems very naive. However this all changes when she makes a decision that will change not just her life but the lives of those around her. The change in her personality is quite dramatic and my view of her changed too. I grew to like her more and more, and there were plenty of times I wanted to high-five her. The horrific events that she went through made her stronger and better equipped to cope with what is still to come.
In her acknowledgements, Cecelia Ahern talks about writing Flawed and what she wants readers to take away from the story. All of her anger, love and passion that went into the story is very clear to see when you read it.
‘I wrote this story with anger, with love, with passion. Every word and sentiment came from the heart. If there’s one message that I hope this book portrays, it’s this: none of us are perfect. Let us not pretend that we are. Let us not be afraid that we’re not. Let us not label others and pretend we are not the same. Let us all know that to be human is to be flawed, and let us learn from every mistake made so that we don’t make them again.’
I can’t wait to find out how Celestine’s story ends! The second and final part of the story (only 2 books, YAY!), Perfect, is out in March next year.