Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Seeing as this blog is supposed to be about reading, writing and reviewing, I thought I had better review an actual book!

The last book I finished that wasn’t in the middle of a series was Flawed by Cecelia Ahern, so I thought I’d start there.



3.5 stars

Having read several of Ahern’s adult contemporary books, and really enjoyed most of them, I knew I wanted to check this out as soon as I heard she had written a YA novel.

I loved PS. I Love You and Where Rainbows End (Love, Rosie), and enjoyed The Time of My Life and If You Could See Me Now. Some of Ahern’s books are pretty straight contemporary, and others have fantasy/supernatural elements.

I would describe Flawed as YA dystopian. It’s not quite fantasy, there were no magical or fantastical elements to speak of, but it’s set in a not-too-distant future where a devastating mistake by high-powered officials has caused a separate court system to be set up in addition to the legal/judicial system, whereby non-criminals who commit legal but ill-advised mistakes and errors of judgement are tried and punished accordingly.

Our MC is Celestine North, a self-confessed perfectionist who completely agrees with and abides by the system for punishing the Flawed.

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

Coincidentally, her boyfriend’s dad is the head judge. He joins them for Earth day dinner every year. And sits at the head of the table.

As Celestine’s granddad says,

“Never trust a man who sits, uninvited, at the head of the table in another man’s home.” 

Her granddad was one of my favourite characters, partly due to this comment at the beginning of the book. It foreshadows the action later perfectly. Everyone else is terrified of Judge Crevan. Not Granddad.

As you are probably already imagining, Celestine soon falls foul of this system and faces the ultimate punishment: being branded (physically branded, with a hot iron) Flawed, and having to live the rest of her life under a different set of rules to the rest of society.

A set curfew, specific seats on public transport, no alcohol, bland food only, and even their own section of the supermarket.

Worst of all, the rest of society is at risk of being punished if they so much as help a Flawed person, even if they’re injured or sick (except doctors), causing a pervading sense of fear that further alienates the Flawed from their peers.

Overall, I enjoyed Flawed and found the premise fascinating.

At times I felt tense and frustrated, because I could imagine it really happening, and the way that most characters treated the Flawed made me angry. It felt like a comment on other, real-world prejudices, such as race and sexual orientation, and that comparison made it all the more difficult to read some of the scenes where the fear, contempt and hatred of the Flawed was exposed.

I liked Celestine as a character, she wasn’t perfect, but that’s what made her feel real and relatable. She starts off convinced that the system is right and just, and gradually she starts to question it, and eventually sees the injustice and corruption at its heart.

“Everyone who goes through the Flawed court is found guilty; otherwise they wouldn’t be taken in the first place.”

It takes for her to be accused herself before she truly questions the fairness of making someone who made an error of judgement live an almost completely separate life to the rest of their family. But, wouldn’t most of us be the same?

At seventeen years old, would I have thought twice about the justice of a system I had been raised with and (up to a point) worked in my favour? Almost definitely not.

That’s the great thing about Flawed, it really makes you question your own principles, and think about how far you would be willing to go to defend them.

I give Flawed 3.5 stars – for a first foray into YA it’s definitely enjoyable and thought-provoking, but there were times when Celestine bothered me, she seemed to be swept along by the action rather than effecting it. I would have liked to have seen some of the other characters fleshed out a little further. For example, Art, her boyfriend, and Juniper, her sister. Both were a bit like cardboard cut outs.

One of my favourite parts was when Celestine became a reader, after always preferring fact to fiction:

“Sometimes I’ll read a sentence and it will make me sit up, jolt me, because it is something that I have recently felt but never said out loud.I want to reach into the page and tell the characters that I understand them, that they’re not alone, that I’m not alone, that it’s OK to feel like this. And then the lunch bell rings, the book closes and I’m plunged back into reality.”

Relatable, no?

I would liken Flawed to The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and 1984 by George Orwell. It’s almost set in Scotland, at least that’s the impression I got from Highland Castle – it was very similar to Edinburgh castle, and the summit Celestine and Art meet on reminded me of Arthur’s Seat.

If you’ve read Flawed, what did you think? Did you enjoy it? Are you looking forward to the sequel, Perfect?

See you next time!




I am a member of the Book Depository affiliate program, so if you click through and buy any of the books mentioned in this blog I might make a little commission, but I am not paid to review books and all reviews are my own opinions!

Review- Flawed by Cecelia Ahern Lyndsey's Book Blog

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  1. Elisabeth says:

    I actually have not heard of Ms. Ahern! I do like the idea of someone who embraces the system running afoul of it. Shoe goes on the other foot! A lot of people forget that the most oppressive systems are the ones their own people have been brainwashed to support (North Korea, 1940’s Germany, Soviet Russia, etc.). Very in-depth review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lyndleloo says:

      Oh wow, have you never read PS. I Love You, or seen the film with Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler? The book is great, definitely stick it on your TBR! (Heartbreaking though, keep tissues nearby.)
      That was exactly the kind of vibe in this book, everyone believed the system was for their own good, until it wasn’t. I really believed it could happen in the current climate, which made it all the more gripping and disturbing x


  2. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    I haven’t read Flawed yet! I did want to but I always get distracted by aaaall the hundreds of other books out there.😱 I want to read everything!😂 I’ll definitely have to add this one on Goodreads though because it sounds very intriguing, even if Celestine was frustrating at times. Loved the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lyndleloo says:

      Thanks Cait, it’s definitely worth a read 🙂 x


  3. Jared says:

    Good review! Thanks!


    1. lyndleloo says:

      Thanks Jared! Love your blog, looks like we have very similar taste in books 😀 x


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