FLAWED (Flawed #1) - by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed - Cecelia Ahern
Year Published: 2016 - by HarperCollins Children's Books.
Genre: Young adult / dystopia / fantasy / contemporary / romance
Pages: 402.
Source: Bought.

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.

Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors, and for a long time I have wanted to read Flawed: her YA debut that has received glowing review after glowing review.
I was so ready to fall in love with this book and its STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL COVER. But while I didn't exactly love this book, I really, really liked it.

"I am a girl of definitions, of logic, of black and white.  

Remember this." 

(Flawed - page 1)

I absolutely adore Ahern's writing. But in this book it was taken to a whole new level; perhaps because of the subject matter. Her writing was poignant, incredibly precise, and superbly heartfelt. You could tell she meant every word; that she was pouring out her soul to her readers, urging them to open their eyes along with Celestine. But it definitely wasn't preachy. The subject was gut-wrenching and emotional and thought-provoking, but Ahern never preached; which is something that could be an obstacle when you're writing a novel with a strong political backbone.
But no. She let her characters tell the story.

I was completely immersed in Celestine's story. I could see every scene in my mind, the settings and characters were extremely vivid, and as soon as I started reading, I was one with the story. I felt like I was on Celestine's journey too, so brilliantly did Ahern get inside her character's head and yank me in too. I felt like I was experiencing what Celestine experienced, and that was both beautifully tragic and horrifying.  

It was fast-paced, chilling, gripping, and the foreshadowing was terrifying. The story was terrifying and traumatising, and I cried more than once.  The branding scene was the hardest of all; my stomach was in knots, my heart was in my throat....heck, I felt like I was in the room watching those brutes torture that poor girl. The experience was traumatising, but the writing was excellent. 

I really liked Celestine and I admired her so much. I wish I could believe that I would act like she did when faced with those obstacles, but I doubt I could be that strong. She was such a brilliant, unique, vivid, courageous heroine, and I loved her.
I liked Art at first, but only until his true colours were shown. I did feel a bit sorry for him, but I just couldn't respect or love him after seeing how he abandoned Celestine.
I loved Carrick. He was definitely a swoony hero, and I hope there'll be more romance between him and Celestine in the second book.
I loved Celestine's Granddad and her Mom, and I especially enjoyed watching her mother's arc develop and grow throughout the course of the story. She was one of the most three-dimensional characters in the book. And Granddad was simply lovable.

There were only two things in this book that I found disappointing:
I wish there had been more romance. Since Art turned out to be scum, I would've liked to have seen more scenes between Carrick and Celestine. I really missed that romantic potential, though I'm sure the sequel will focus more on that.

Considering Celestine's character, I wish there had been more "background" before Ahern got her to stand up for Flawed and thus get the story rolling. To fully understand Celestine and realise how paramount these Flawed actions were for her character, I needed to see more of  her "pre-Flawed" life. That would have let me better grasp the emphasis on her being a "girl of definitions, of logic, of black and white."  
I needed to see how perfect she was to realise how shocking her "flaws" were.  

With a taut plot, vivid characters, and a gut-wrenching and thought-provoking subject matter, Flawed gives a terrifying, chilling view of a future where mistakes are inexcusable and perfection is imperative.