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 in which 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 this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.
Just because I found it on Goodreads, this is the little review I wrote at the end of 2016 after I finished reading Flawed.
“It certainly is a heart stopping story. One that will make you intrigued, confused, eager to learn and invested almost instantly.
Celestine North is a relatively normal girl living her life the way she should, being the best average teenager she can be. She never questions the culture, government, morals or values of her country and home until they question her. Realising that the system put in place to make everything perfect, is incredibly flawed.”
I read the first of this duology, Flawed, while on holiday in Cuba last November. I read this book in our Airbnb in Havana, on buses travelling through the country and while laying on the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been too. That is one reason this book will always be special to me, I knew that any Cecelia Ahern book would be a good holiday read. It was a guarantee that I’d enjoy it.
I have read a few of Cecelia Ahern’s other books, but Flawed was her first YA novel. Reading it felt a little different to some of her other novels, but none of her books read the same. One of the reasons I love her as an author, all her books feel different. The concept of Flawed seems familiar to the dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels that have been so popular. But I think there’s a reason Flawed came towards the end of that phase, because while it might look familiar, it’s very different.
In Celestine North’s world, all those who commit moral crimes are punished for having flawed character. Ruled by the Highland Court, various moral crimes fall under different categories of character flaws. There are five areas of the body that are branded flawed to represent your moral crimes; the temple, hand, below the foot, under the tongue and on your chest. The flawed live as outcasts, constantly monitored by the Whistleblowers.
As Flawed begins, Celestine is the ideal daughter, sister, girlfriend, student and citizen. Aged 17 with a slightly clouded view of the world, she has always had everything go her way. Her boyfriend, Art, is the son of one of the judges of the Highland Court. Even after Celestine’s life dramatically changes and she is being tried for committing a moral crime, she’s sure that Judge Crevan will protect her. After all, she was part of his family.
Celestine’s life changes so quickly that, as a reader, you barely have time to contemplate what is right and what is wrong. As we met or heard about flawed characters, I found myself passing my own judgement. This person deserved their brand, but that person definitely didn’t.
The way that Celestine’s interactions with people changed during her trial, after her branding and as she began to live as a flawed person was very interesting. All of her relationships change, because she does. She’s not sure who to trust anymore. For most of Flawed, I wasn’t sure about Art or Juniper. As characters they were hard to read, I didn’t trust them and I urged Celestine not too.
Similarly, I was unsure about Carrick. They were in adjacent cells in the Highland Castle, so I assumed that he actually did commit a moral crime. I didn’t know what was going to happen if Celestine ever found him, because we didn’t know why she met him in the first place. Why was he in the cell next to hers?
Once I started reading Perfect, my opinion of him completely changed. In terms of Celestine being our Rachel, Carrick went from a Joey to a Ross in a heartbeat. (Bonus points for every time I can get a Friends reference into a review) As Perfect opens, Celestine is in hiding at her grandfather’s farm. Carrick came back into the story as a knight of shining armor and rescued Celestine from the Whistleblowers.
I am so glad this story continued over the two books, they both need to be made into movies! The way all of Celestine’s relationships evolve during the sequel is amazing. As the story gets a bit crazy, her mother and sister become total badasses! Trust is a theme through the second book as well, not knowing who is on your side.
The question of right or wrong really hangs over this entire series. Both Flawed and Perfect really made me think about what’s right in different ways. Really, this series is just fantastic! I’ll read anything with Cecelia Ahern’s name on the cover, but if you read any of her novels – pick up Flawed and Perfect.