Monday, April 4, 2016

Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

First, thanks to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Netgalley for allowing me to read an egalley of this title.  For awhile I feel like all I was reading was dystopian stories.  However there seem to be less lately.  For me, this book was a huge push for me back to that type of story, as I really enjoyed it!  I'm also glad it is going to have at least one sequel, as there are definitely more things that need to happen.

The main character is a girl named Celestine.  Up until the point where the book really gets going, she has always been the perfect girl, following the rules, and thinking that the laws are there for a reason.  Until one day on a bus on the way to school when there is a flawed man.  In this future world, people who are flawed, meaning they have done something that is not acceptable in society, crimes in a way, get branded.  The brand will be put in a place that connects to what they've done.  Like on their forehead, their back, their leg, their hand, or even their tongue.  Something that may sound familiar, they are only allowed to be in public where there are no more than 2 of them.  On buses, like where Celestine is in this scene, there are two seats designated for them, and if those are full, then they have to stand.  On this day, there is a woman who is on crutches sitting in one of the Flawed seats.  Then another woman comes and sits in the other one.  This older man is sick, barely standing, and Celestine wonders why the women, or at least the one not injured, don't get up and let him have the only seat he can sit on.  But by speaking out for the man, Celestine now is accused of aiding a Flawed person. Which means that she must go to court to have them decide if she is Flawed.  Now Celestine's boyfriend Art, is the son of one of the main judges in the Flawed court.  At first he tries to help her, gives her a bit of a lie to tell to get herself out of it.  But while she is in the prison awaiting trial, she sees this other boy in the cell next to her, Carrick, and at first he seems disgusted by her and all the people who come in to help her.  And when Celestine gets to court, she realizes that she can't lie, she was trying to help the man.  By doing this, she has betrayed her boyfriend's father, and so she ends up with one of the worst punishments of anyone ever charged.  The scene when she is getting her branding done, let me just say I was squirming and cringing myself as I read about it, and in tears by the end of it. 

At that point she is sent home and they keep an eye on her.  But some people out there want to use her as a face for a revolution, to revise the Flawed system and the branding.  Celestine will soon learn that she can't necessarily trust those who she thought she could. And while she is supposed to be able to attend school like any other student, the teachers and students in her school resent her and push to have her home-schooled.  She begins to find out what the world is really like out there, people who won't believe her, and then those who will see what has happened and wonder just why certain people get branded as Flawed for just having compassion for another human being, when those who do horrible things like have affairs when they are married get off, maybe because they are the star player on a sporting team owned by one of the judges?  Celestine will also be drawn into an underground part of the movement to fight the way things are.  She will be betrayed by someone she thinks actually wasn't going to treat her any different than before she was branded, and she will find new friends in unexpected places. 

I loved the story.  So much in it I could see as issues we may have today, or issues that we've had in the past, that have just been started up in more "acceptable" ways, something that I could see happening again if people don't pay attention to history.  I'm now very excited to read on and see what will happen in this future world, and can't wait till next year when the next book will come out.