A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place – Cecelia Ahern.
It has been a full year since I first got my hands on the first YA duology Cecelia Ahern created. Flawed was almost everything I want in a young adult book: defiance, power, love and heroism. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on its second, final, instalment. It only took me twelve months.
The Flawed are a group of people repelled by their society, for doing things that breach the moral perfection of the human race. There are seven types – similar to the seven deadly sins – ranging from greed and self-indulgence to aiding a flawed, which is what Celestine was found guilty of in the first place. An act of human nature: helping a person who needed somebody’s help. And then her evasion from the Guild began, and that is where we meet Celestine in Perfect.
When I first began reading it, the pace and the writing style was slow, simple, straight-to-the-point. Both could be an indicator of how the perfect society view the world, how they act within it. If this were true, however, we wouldn’t be seeing it through the eyes of the most flawed person in existence: Celestine North… unless she didn’t view herself as Flawed during the first few chapters. I doubt that, as seen as she was on the run from the Guild from the very beginning.
Despite the slow pace at the beginning, things certainly quickened once Celestine hid in a pit that her granddad was forced to set fire on and ran deep into the forest, only to be captured. By who? I’m not saying. It’s a surprise for those who want to read the duology that hints at the conditioning of Jews in Hitler’s reign. People live in fear; they hide from soldiers called Whistleblowers who are at the beck and call of Crevan, a man with so much greed for power that he too could be distinguished as the very thing he despises. Celestine is the girl to change the world she lives in. She and her fellow Flawed do not want to live in fear for making a singular mistake and being branded, by hot iron, for the rest of their lives. Imagine a world where you do something wrong and get sneered at it for the rest of your entire life. Yes, it is a terrible thing to do something morally wrong such as have an affair, or feed off somebody else’s fears, or tell a lie, but should you be judged for it in the eyes of everybody you meet for your entire life? They don’t know the circumstances, or the constant guilt and regret you would have over it.
It is difficult, which is why I think Cecelia Ahern wrote about this topic. It causes debate and discussion. The Flawed are separate from the criminals. They have not committed a crime, but have made moral – in no way evil, unlawful, inhumane – mistakes which are still wrong, but should we throw all of those people into a group and make them pay over and over, like branded second-class citizens?
Celestine fights against the system to make it fair for everyone once more. She does not want people like her to have their families ripped apart, or former friends turn their noses up in disgust, or people to fall in love with each other only to have the entire world against them. She is the voice who stands up for what she believes in, and I think she is the best kind of character. She has her perfect life at the beginning of this story: she is a straight A student, has the perfect family and the perfect boyfriend, but once she crosses the line, there is no turning back. She learns a lot about herself, the people around her and even strangers who suddenly give up their freedom for her because they know she is special. However, it begs the question, is she so different to Crevan? Sure, she is not driven by greed or power by any means, but would she have carried on living her life had she never become Flawed in the first place? Would she have ever seen the dangers that the Flawed are in if it never impacted her personally? Would she have gone through life with blinkers on instead? A part of me thinks not, because she would have never stood up for the Flawed man she aided, but I do wonder how far it would have gone if not for that fateful day.
From about a quarter of the book in, it is a heightened rollercoaster of emotions. Celestine is on the run; she is falling for fellow Flawed Carrick; she is confused about her ex, Art; she is the face of the Flawed, their hero, but she is only a young girl herself. She falls into a trap plotted by Crevan; she puts herself under fire to protect others. So much happens in such a short amount of time that you finish the book and have to take a breath to take it all in. It will make you smile and cry, because we all make mistakes. We all have flaws. We are all human.
Have you read Flawed and Perfect? What did you think? Do you think the Flawed society is a good thing, or a bad thing?
Love, Faye xo