It's almost the weekend! Are you thinking of curling up with a great book? If the answer is yes, I have an exciting read for you that I think is a dystopian version of the classic Scarlet Letter. Imagine living in a society where you can be branded with a mark for making an error in judgment, and then having to live the rest of your life as a second class citizen with no hope of redemption? Sounds scary, right? That is the type of world that Ms. Ahern has envisioned in her new book Flawed. I thought this was a fascinating book. I am pleased to have Ms. Ahern here today for a short guest post, and I also have a giveaway. So let's get started. First, I want to introduce you to Cecelia Ahern:
Cecelia Ahern was born on September 30, 1981 in Dublin, Ireland. She is the daughter of the former Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. On 14th December 2009 it was announced that Cecelia had given birth to her first child with partner David Keoghan, a girl named Robin. She was secretly married on 11 June 2010 in County Kildare, Ireland. Her older sister, Georgina Ahern is married to Nicky Byrne of Irish pop group Westlife. Cecelia was a member of the Irish pop group Shimma who finished third in the Irish national for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000. She attended Griffith College Dublin and obtained a degree in Journalism and Media Communications.
Cecelia Ahern wrote her first novel, PS. I Love You when she was twenty-one. It was published in 2004, the number 1 bestseller in Ireland for 19 weeks and sold in over forty countries. The book was adapted as a motion picture directed by Richard LaGravenese and starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler and released in 2007 in the United States.
Her second book, Where Rainbows End (US title: Love, Rosie or Rosie Dunne) won the German CORINE Award in 2005. She contributed with short stories to charity books and is also the co-creator and producer of the ABC comedy Samantha Who?.
Her other works include If You Could See Me Now (US title: A Silver Lining), A Place Called Here (US title: There's No Place Like Here) Thanks for the Memories (US title: Desire Lines) The Gift The Book of Tomorrow. You can learn more about Cecilia and her books on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Instagram.
Cecelia is here today to share a playlist that best fits the heroine, Celestine. Here is Celestine's Playlist:
Artist: Alanis Morissette
Sample Lyrics: “If you're flawless then you'll win my love. Don't forget to win first place. Don't forget to keep that smile on your face...we’ll love you just the way you are (if you’re perfect)”
Artist: The National
Song: Start A War
Sample Lyrics: “We expected something, something better than before. We expected something more…walk away now, and you’re gonna start a war.”
Song: Help, I’m Alive
Sample Lyrics: “I tremble…they're gonna eat me alive…if I stumble…they're gonna eat me alive…can you hear my heart beating like a hammer?”
Artist: Hillary Duff
Song: Coming Clean
Sample Lyric: “’Cause perfect didn’t feel so perfect…and trying to fit a square into a circle was a lie. I defy!”
Artist: Mariah Carey
Sample Lyric: “And then a hero comes along, with the strength to carry on, and you cast your fears aside and you know you can survive. So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong. And you’ll finally see the truth…that a hero lies in you.”
Here is my review:
Flawed(Flawed #1) by 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.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published: April 5th 2016 by Feiwel and Friends
Three and a half stars: A new take on the Scarlet Letter, with many new ideas to consider. Lots of exciting twists, but beware of the cliffhanger.
Celestine is the perfect girl. She excels at school, she has many friends, and she is dating Art Crevan, the son of the country's founding Guild members. Celestine lives in a society where those who make mistakes or bad decisions are either branded or imprisoned. Once a citizen is deemed Flawed, life becomes stringent and harsh. A Flawed citizen must adhere to a set of rules, and they are considered second class citizens. When perfect Celestine decides do the right thing by aiding an ailing man on the bus, she is arrested and put on trial. Will Celestine be branded and marked as Flawed?
What I Liked:
- I am always a fan of dystopian novels that feature a society with stringent government control. There is something so terrifying about a government that monitors and controls their citizens. One never knows when one slight error in behavior or judgement could get you in trouble. Flawed is one of those books. Imagine living in a world where you could be branded as Flawed and forced to live as a secondary citizen for a minor lapse in judgement? That is just what happens in this book. I enjoyed exploring the ideas put forth in this book. It certainly gave me plenty to ponder on.
- Celestine, the main character, is one who took a bit of time for me to warm up to. At first meeting, Celestine is the perfect girl. She gets good grades, she behaves and she never questions the authority of the Guild. Then things change for Celestine when she watches her neighbor hauled away to be marked as Flawed. The next day while riding the bus, Celestine makes a decision to help an ailing Flawed man. By aiding a Flawed citizen, Celestine is breaking the rules. At this point, I started to admire Celestine because she begins to question the strict rules of the society, and she begins to transform and change. She shows courage and tenacity as she accepts her new life, and questions the ills of the society she lives in. Her biggest flaw is that she speaks out too quickly without thinking, but other than that, she is a character who I liked by the end.
- Even though I had questions regarding the Guild and the rules of society, I was still fascinated by the ideas put forth. The book is set in a country that adheres to a set of strict rules. If a citizen speaks out against the government, or makes bad decisions, such as lying or stealing, they are marked with brands on their skin so everyone will know they are Flawed. As a Flawed person, one must adhere to different rules such as curfews, bland diets and separate facilities.To keep everyone in line, there are whistle blowers, citizens whose job it is to observe and report Flawed behavior. I enjoyed exploring this world, and it was easy for me to draw parallels from this world to ours.
- I liked that there was a strong focus on family. Celestine comes from a good family. Her mother is the picture of perfection. When Celestine lands into trouble, her parents are their to support her through everything. They never criticize or chastise her for her decision. Instead, they stand by her side and help her every step of the way. I didn't like Celestine's mother in the beginning, but at the end, I was thrilled to see her changing her ways and doing what she could to make a difference.
- Once the story gets going, it gets good. There are some exciting twists and developments that notch up the action and danger. I was hooked during those final chapters. It builds up to an thrilling climax, that ends with a cliffhanger. I hated the cliffhanger, but I admit, I am curious to see where the story will go.
And The Not So Much:
- The world building was good, but I found that I struggled a bit with the whole Guild and government. I wanted to know much more about how the Guild came to power, and how the whole society decided to adopt the rules of the Flawed. I also wanted a better understanding of the infractions. There were several instances in the book where people behaved in a manner that I thought would have gotten them in trouble. I wish there was a better run down of the rules. The Guild is a mystery as well. I also wanted clarification on the Whistle Blowers, there is so little detail on them.
- For all of you romance lovers, there really isn't a romance in this one. When the story opens, Celestine has a boyfriend, but things dramatically change, and it seemed like she and her boyfriend are done. Then Celestine meets someone who is awaiting his Flawed trial. A friendship is formed even though the two never speak. There was definitely some chemistry. By the end, there is no definitive romance, and I worry that a love triangle might be forthcoming. I hope not. My other issue was that I felt like there was almost an insta love vibe. I will reserve judgement until the next book.
- For those of you who are faint of heart, the scenes in the branding chamber are a bit graphic.
- Even though I was pleased that there was a strong focus on family, I was disappointed that the relationship between Celestine and her twin sister, Juniper, was not better developed. I wanted more depth and detail on the sisters, why didn't they get along?
- The ending is fast and furious with many big developments, and then it ends with a cliffhanger, leaving a whole bunch of unanswered questions. Frustrating indeed.
Flawed was an interesting book. I enjoyed exploring this world where citizens must adhere to strict standards or run the risk of being branded as Flawed. I also appreciated the strong focus on family. There is plenty of action and danger along with some big twists. I was frustrated though that just when the story picked up and got interesting, it ended with a cliffhanger, leaving me with a whole slew of questions. Still, I liked the concepts and ideas, and I am eager to see how this one will play out.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for more terrific prizes and posts: