Everyone knows who Cecelia Ahern is, right? I mean even if you haven’t read P.S I Love You (which I haven’t as it happens) then you’ve seen the film (I totes have, hello Gerard Butler you attractive man, you) and more than likely been a little teary-eyed.
It was that, really, that made me want to read Flawed, not so much my being a massive fan of Ahern’s work because well, let’s be honest here I’m kind of not: I’ve only read a couple of her books and a quick look back at my Goodreads account shows a 2 star review, but that I’m always kind of fascinated when somebody steps outside of their comfort zone and Flawed seemed to be as far away from PS I Love You as it can possibly get. It’s YA and it’s dystopia and I know what you’re probably thinking (not another one. That’s what you were thinking, right? Which, fine, because I kind of thought it myself a little bit except I do so love a good dystopia and will probably never say ‘oh I’m so bored of that now’ because MY INTEREST IS ALWAYS SO PIQUED) and it’s absolutely not a hearts and flowers sexy Gerard Butler-esque love story.
What it is, actually (and a little bit surprisingly, sorry) is thoughtful and clever and also a new twist on an old trope which I like because well, why would I not and holy run-on sentence batman, it’s definitely worth a read. It’s a book that doesn’t shy away from a pretty grim message (HURRAH) and it’s a book that makes you think - which I liked and my poor little over-worked brain cells perhaps did not but who asked them anyways- and it’s full of characters that I didn’t hate. & so often I read books where I actively dislike the characters and you know what? That’s not fun.
I did not hate these characters.
Apart from the one I was supposed to hate – and that’s another thing: Ahern has created an awesome villain here; I’m talking President Snow levels of awesome, I’m talking almost-but-not-quite Umbridge. (& by awesome I obviously mean complete bastard. You got that, right?) This is not love-to-hate, this is out and out ‘you are bastard and I hate you, pure and simple.’
I won’t lie to you - this is a YA dystopia and so to a degree it kind of sticks to that tried and tested formula wherein a good girl notices a problem with the ‘rules’ of society and decides to make a stand much to the horror of most everybody she knows, there’s backlash from that but there’s also a handful of people who seem to have been hanging around in the background waiting for someone to be the poster child for the resistance; there’s your love triangle – one good boy, one bad boy etcerera etcetera and there were parts of it that made me sigh a teeny bit and think oh but THG/Divergent much which is kind of annoying and I really would have liked a little more world building because I am all about the background, and (again), when you really give it some thought there were some aspects that seemed kind of illogical - although perhaps that was the point, the book is called Flawed after all – but, all that said I still feel like this book has enough about it for that not to matter too much, you get caught up in what’s happening even though you kind of already know what’s happening. S’that make sense?
Anyway, you remember last year when I got all excited about The Fire Sermon? (and if you don’t then please to go and read my post about that because I’m reading book 2 now so you need to be all caught up) That’s how I feel about this book now, (and the similarities of the whole issue regarding branding do not escape me) because this is one of those keep-on-reading-when-you-should-be-sleeping kind of books with just the right level of uncomfortablness to make you feel a bit cringey but still unable to not turn the page and enough about it to stir up all these emotions because it’s heavy and it’s full of heart-wrenching heart-wrenchyness.
Totally a word.
It kind of fills you with a sense of self-righteousness and it makes you think about society as it is right now which let’s be real here is what I both love and hate about dystopian novels. I love that whole twisty stomach feeling that comes from the realisation that all this seemingly insane story is, is a slight exaggeration of what is happening right now, that in a heartbeat what really is could easily become that. A good social commentary. I love it.
So, what do you need to know? Well, this book is going to make you mad, okay? You’re going to be foot stampingly throw your book against a wall mad and not just because it ends on a cliffhanger so frustrating you want to tear out your hair. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT CECILIA AND WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME WAIT. There’s a torture scene that’s very hard to read so you know – be aware of that: like I said, it’s pretty heavy. Kudos actually to Ahern for that, for realising she doesn’t need to gloss over the nitty gritty because actually her target market can totally hack it, and, whilst there is a hint of the old romance, it’s by no means the focal point of the story and I liked that – I didn’t want this to be a love story and I’m glad that the love story there was was slow burn and not that frustrating insta-love. (Although, that said, Celestine’s attachment to Carrick did baffle me a little bit…)
In a nutshell I liked it, and I’ll be reading book 2 and I have no qualms whatsoever about saying go forth and read it. Read it and come back and tell me what you thought.