Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Published by Feiwel and Friends on April 5, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 336 pages Source: Borrowed from the Library
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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.
As the risk of starting this review with a bit of a bad pun… Flawed is inherently… flawed.
I’ll start with the good. The concept of this dystopian world is fascinating and not so outlandish it couldn’t be possible. There’s a great pressure to fulfill a sort of expectation as human culture evolves, and with with rise of social media, the pressure to keep up with others and to be perceived as perfect grows and grows. So why not take it a step further – create visible brands for those who are imperfect, so they can’t hide it and we know? That way, we could avoid the “scum of the earth” and make strides toward a more perfect version of humanity.
This is all interesting, and the bare bones of it are well conceived. But beyond the idea, beyond the ticking clock of Celestine’s courtroom case… the story begins to unravel. There’s not a lot of support for this society, and things shift too quickly. Even Celestine herself, an outspoken supporter of the Flawed system, finds herself completely changing her worldview after a single, seemingly inconsequential event. And, somehow, this girl inspires the country? The plot pieces fall too perfectly into place without anything substatial to support the change.
Similarly, the characters are shallow. They chase their minds and change their stories at a moment’s notice to serve the author’s grand design of the story… no motivation required. It was impossible to care about the characters because they never went more than words. They lacked a multifaceted depth that made them relatable. So many characters seemed to appear solely to create a subplot. Subplots that never blossomed into fruition, to my opinion.
The story moved along quickly enough, so I’ll give it points in that respect. I’m not sure if the general shallowness was because of Cecelia Ahern’s writing, or if she’s just better suited to her usual adult novels instead of YA. It just didn’t grip me as much as I felt like it should.
As a whole, there’s a lot of potential in Flawed, but it failed to follow through. The elements were there, but the lack of depth in characters and the apparent whimsy in the plot shifts are dealbreakers for me. I appreciate the idea, but as a package, this did not work for me. I won’t be adding the sequel to my TBR.
Could you survive in a society that branded you for poor judgement? Even though we aren’t branded on the outside for being less than perfect, I think that a lot of us feel branded on the inside when we can’t meet society’s expectations. What do you think? Let me know in the comments?