Cecelia Ahern’s latest novel, Flawed, is her Young Adult début. Set in a chilling dystopian world, with realistic characters and emotional drama, it’s unlike any dystopian I’ve read in a long time.
In this dystopian world, no one is allowed to make mistakes. Those who do are brought before a court and the Guild, and when they are found to be morally “Flawed”, they are branded with the letter F somewhere on their body, treated as lower class citizens for the rest of their lives.
Celestine North has grown up in this society and accepts it as the way life is. She sees her life as perfect; she has a caring family, she does well in school, and her boyfriend is the son of Judge Crevan, one of the members of the Guild. Logical and unquestioning, she doesn’t understand why her Grandad or her sister Juniper dislike Judge Crevan, or argue about the Guild or the system for finding people Flawed. However, Celestine is not without compassion, so when one day she helps an old Flawed man who’s struggling to breathe to a seat on a bus, she doesn’t realise that this action will change everything in her life.
Celestine is an interesting character. She’s brave, independent, and logical, but she can also be very weak, easily led and emotions can cloud her black and white vision of the world. Despite her intelligence, she takes a while to understand the implications of her actions and the ways they affect not only her but those around her. All of the characters in Flawed are very well written, as is the way they change as they deal with the changes in Celestine. The way her family, and in particular her mother, find ways to rebel and show their support for Celestine was encouraging, especially in a society that punishes any deviation from the norm. On the other hand, the way the majority of the other characters treated those who had been found Flawed was chilling. Flawed people had curfews, special diets, and an appointed Whistleblower to punish them if they broke these or any of the other many rules.
Flawed is a novel that people will either love or hate. Although it doesn’t have the action or apocalyptic drama of many other dystopian YA novels, the setting is still chilling at times. It was also far better than I expected, and left me wanting to know more.
Flawed is the first book in Ahern’s Flawed series, and I’ll definitely be looking to pick up the next in the series on its release next summer.