"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 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." - From Goodreads
In Flawed we are introduced to a Dystopian-esque future where, along with a regular police system, there is a Guild which monitors society's behaviour. Anyone who commits an immoral or unethical act is branded with an "F" and becomes a second-class citizen, forced to live with rules such a dietary restrictions and curfews and diminished work and future prospects. Celestine, the usually perfect girl, has never set a toe over the line, until one day she helps a Flawed man, and her life changes forever.
This was my first read of the year. And I had a lot of fun reading it not because I liked the book, but because it's senselessness kept shocking me, so much so that I was compelled to keep reading.
So we have this big brother institution, right, but only in this one country. Which I guess, both makes it more believable and a little strange. More believable because there are bigger issues that go on in the world which most countries can't/don't interfere with, so something like branding/ostracising people for being morally corrupt isn't something that would cause international uproar. But also strange because of how contained it is, why would anyone who disagrees with how this works continue to live there at all?
The writing is repetitive, everything from the thoughts Celestine has, certain phrases that are used, to descriptions of places and people is said a million times. (I get it, Carrick is a soldier)
The characters, side and otherwise, are unmemorable. I literally forgot who one of the side characters was/her importance after being introduced to her maybe a chapter later. Tina, I think her name was. And then more characters were introduced, all of them seemingly important, all of them with very clear agendas, none of them behaving in ways that make sense. The chemistry between Celestine and Art is nonexistent, her behaviour towards her sister is frustrating. I don't think I formed a single connection with any of the characters.
Also, we're told that the Guild and their Whistleblowers (i.e. the people who make sure the Flawed are kept in check) are not the police, they don't deal with prison or "real" criminals (the Flawed are technically not criminals) but the police are basically useless (when one of them does show up). Also it's unclear as to where the line is in terms of being Flawed versus being a criminal. Aren't all criminals technically Flawed, having done something morally or ethically wrong?
Another thing that bothered and confused me is that there's this video that will help our Celestine (along with all those who oppose the Guild) bring down the crazy person who sees her as the root of all his problems, and it's almost too obvious where it's being kept. Yet our intelligent, logical, straight-A student protagonist just cannot find it. This one thing that can save her and expose the corruption, that is literally hidden in plain sight and she's just oblivious. Now, I could be wrong, it's never explicitly said that the object is wot I'm assuming it is. Buuut I'll bet my TBR pile on my hunch being correct. I'm not even going to go into the fact that I feel like putting that video on the internet might have gotten the "dismantle this flawed (pun intended) institution" job done very quickly and efficiently.
Throughout the whole thing all I could think about was how none of this would work in the real world. Anyone who disagrees with the way the society, the Guild, works could, very easily, simply leave the country and live somewhere else where it is not okay to brand people's tongues for lying. The UN would have had one meeting about it, at least.
I just can't. I mean, clearly I did, finished it in a day and everything. Damn those pretty covers.
If anyone has read Flawed let us know what you think in the comments below! Comments also open to further book/movie/show recommendations, anything you’d like to see reviewed, or general feedback. We’d love to hear what you have to say!