Many will have heard of Cecelia Ahern, mainly thanks to her book-to-film P.S. I Love You. She's chosen to write a young adult dystopian series which, at first, I wasn't sure she'd be able to pull off as her forte is chick-lit and women's fiction. But she does a good job with the dystopian Flawed. Once you get past the flaws...Ahem.
The society is based on being perfect. Celestine has a sister, Juniper (an almost identical version of herself but a little older) and a younger brother Ewan. They come from a mixed race family. Cutter, their father is black, and Summer is white. A good premise to start. Slowly we learn how Celestine's mother is a model and regularly goes for nip/tucks or pick-me-ups if she's having a bad day. Early on in the story we learn that her mother dislocates her shoulders to do her own hair (what?) When I read this I thought of a far-out other dystopian called Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.
Celestine is a hard character to read because there doesn't seem to be much personality there. She loves maths at school, and has a boyfriend called Art, who she spends most of her time with. Now we get to the tricky part. Art's father is called Bosco Crevan who is head of The Guild. The Guild is a government run program (not THE government) which deems certain citizens as 'flawed'. If they do wrong or lie or steal or anything bad they get punished, by way of an 'F' branding, and have to live under a whole new set of rules, which apparently is better than going to prison (although we do learn there is still a prison system.) From what I could gather I'm thinking this book is based in Ireland, as that is where Ms Ahern comes from, but it isn't specific in that regard.
The Guild are only based in this country although we do learn that other countries are looking at adopting this system of branding and penalising wrong-doers.
Things all start going bad for Celestine when 'Miss Perfect - she dubbed herself that' sticks up for a sick man on a bus. The man had a coughing fit and everyone ignored him. Celestine decides to step in and at least try and get him a seat on the bus. Unfortunately what she should have done in this society system is ignore him like everyone else. So, this is a society based on perfect people or trying to bring up people who do no wrong yet they lack compassion to help someone in need of medical assistance.
This is where the book loses me. I mean, we live in a world where everything is recorded on media. If a man was suffering in the street and everyone ignored him there would be a public outcry. Getting my head around this type of dystopian society took me a while but once I ignored the real world version of life I did get why the author chose this topic, even one as far-fetched as Flawed.
There is a touch of romance. Beginning with Art the boyfriend who for the most part disappears from the story once his perfect girlfriend is deemed flawed and branded. The character that has me intrigued is the infamous Carrick who, again, barely features in the story except for the part when she's held in the cells before her trial. However there is still clearly more story to write with this new relationship.
For the most part there is just enough story to keep me wondering what is going to happen next. This isn't original by any means, there are tropes thrown in and really long scenes that take up pages and pages however you do really want Celestine to get a break. Now, at the end, she's on the run from The Guild, who really have treated her badly, so much so that I think revolution is on the horizon.
I'm quietly confident that book two will heal all my gripes from Flawed.
You will be punished...
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 ... (more)
Cecelia Ahern (born 1981) is an Irish novelist whose work was first published in 2004. Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. She is now published in nearly fifty countries, and has sold over 25 million copies of her novels worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.
She and her books have won numerous awards, including the Irish Book Award for Popular Fiction for The Year I Met You. She has published several novels and contributed a number of short stories to various anthologies. Ahern also created and produced the ABC comedy Samantha Who? starring Christina Applegate.
She is a face of Littlewoods Ireland.