Series: Flawed #1
Source: eARC via the Publisher
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Rating: 2/5 stars
The Scarlet Letter meets Divergent in this thoughtful and thrilling novel by bestselling author Cecelia Ahern.
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 obedience is paramount and rebellion is punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her-everything.
I thought this one would be ah-mazing. I loved The Scarlet Letter and Divergent so I was all over getting a copy of this when it was offered to me in advance, but to be honest I'm kind of glad that I read it now and didn't spend the money on it. I had so many issues with how this world was set up and the actual plot line. I did like that there wasn't heavy romance but there was the foundation for it with two people and neither of them were really IN the story? Like we got minimal Art at the beginning and then he dropped off the face of the Earth and don't even get me started on Carrick. You can just read my status updates on all that hot mess business.
Celestine is a girl who always follows the rules, sees things in black and white, and doesn't question the Guild until the plot needs to actually happen. Then she starts to question everything! And really, she just wanted to help the guy sit down so she was just being compassionate! And literally everyone who encounters her and talks to her feels sorry for her and wants to help her so that they also help themselves. Because don't you know after talking to a 17 year old girl, you would change your entire world view? I had so many issues with her character, it's not even funny.
It also felt like every so often, the author wanted to throw in some ~feminism~ so she included these random bits about how during the trial for some soccer star who cheated on his wife, they were more focused on what she wore and how she actual and how she was the horrible one so of course the guy would want to cheat, which was basically a PSA for TRIGGER WARNING UNDER THE SPOILER <spoiler>rape trials</spoiler>. And I am OK with this, I am OK with educating people but it felt so forced and unnatural and added in there to try and MAKE a point. And I wasn't okay with that.
Then at 35% (I checked my status updates), Bosco Crevan makes a statement that makes it seem as though the whole world is doing this branding thing andmaking people feel guilty for being "flawed" and I was like, okay phew that makes sense, but then we find out at 78% that NOPE the other countries are NOT doing this, it is just the USA being fucked up again when the world goes to shit. Like ??? First of all, Canada would be semi-affected by this because hi our economy semi-relies on the US economy. Second, sorry but there are too many plot holes for it to make sense. There are no "laws" governing what the Flawed people do or how they determine what a Flaw is and yet they just let people sear a big fucking F into people? I highly doubt that they would be able to get away with it in this day and age.
And that was another thing too, when was this supposed to be? I thought maybe it was "in the distant future" but it seems like it was supposed to be an Alternate Universe after the housing collapse in the US where instead of slapping the bankers on the wrist, they literally branded them as "Flawed" and set up a tribunal for this exact thing. So okay, that's fine but that would also put the time period around ... 20 years from now, maybe 25. Which only sort of makes sense for some of the language being used but doesn't really make sense for some of the references being made. And I can't imagine seeing a society as Flawed and not policing what they read, watch, and listen to. Because the Mary Poppins reference and the Chicago reference in there was a little strange. If it were closer to our time period, that would be one thing but I think it was supposed to be in the future and IDK man I just don't know.
I think it's because I'm such a politics nerd that this bothered me. It always bothers me in dystopian novels when there isn't an explanation for what the rest of the world is doing. Like the citizens in this were allowed to roam free but wouldn't they talk to someone and be like "oh you shouldn't do at you will be branded as Flawed" and people in Europe will be like "what?" and then the US people will exaplain and the Europeans will say "dude that's right fucked up" because I WOULD.
And I was going to just leave it at the barely there mention of Carrick in this review but I am on a roll. I just do NOT understand the appeal that Celestine had for him. He walks into the cells, says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to her the entire time she is there until the VERY END, and she is like "he knows exactly what I am going through" and acts as though they are soul mates. WHAT. And he was in like three scenes and spoke 11 words and he took up so much focus for this story and I just couldn't handle it. It was not cool man.
I really wanted to like this one and it seemed like it had the potential to be one that I was all about, but it just let me down. There were missing pieces and too many plot lines that overlapped but also bogged down the story and I just couldn't get into it the way I wanted to. Which sucks because I was super excited about a POC protagonist in a dystopian world that was chill with gay people but alas the world does not always work out the way you want it to.