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Perfect (PG-13)

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Author: Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: Feiwell & Friends

Publishing Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-07412-6

5 stars

“A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place.”

In this final installment of the Flawed Duology, Cecelia was able to execute a flawless dystopian tale that holds a heavy mirror up to society as we know it. It was thought-provoking, emotional, suspenseful, and a great read for a Dystopian lover. Perfect did not need to draw me in with its title, cover, or synopsis because its predecessor did all the heavy lifting in making me a devoted fan of Celestine North.

Synopsis:

Following Flawed, Celestine North has been declared public enemy number one. On the run from Judge Crevan and the Whistleblowers, she finds Carrick is the only one she can trust. Celestine holds a secret that could open the public’s eyes to the happenings behind the “Flawed” system, and make them question everything. While the government seems to be gaining an upper hand, Judge Crevan seems to be untouchable, and Celestine is losing her grip on the advantage she has she is also faced with an alarming question: Save herself or risk her life to save all Flawed people?

Pros and Cons:

Considering that this finale came out a year after the first installment was published, I was a little rusty on the details and happenings of book one going in. I was so thankful that Ahern created a strong recap that jogged my memory of who I was with, and what was going on. This allowed me to seamlessly follow the story without having to find a spoiler riddled review of Flawed to pull me back into the world Celestine is in.

One of the smaller things that Ahern included in this story was a small reference to genuine African culture on page 61. It is a reference to the way a specific tribe handles their society and citizens when they make a mistake. I found this reference beautiful and touching and was also glad to know that this information was genuine, rather than an embellishment in the story.

In this novel, there is also a moment where a fade-to-black sex scene takes place. I was happy to see that Ahern handled this scene in a very classy, beautiful and appropriate way. One thing I feel many YA authors forget is that the suggested age range for the YA genre starts at 13-years-old. They often times include scenes that are more appropriate for older YA readers, neglecting the fact that they’ve just introduced children to semi, or even fully, pornographic scenes. (*cough* ACOTAR I’m looking at you.) The way this scene was handled in Ahern’s novel is respectable and is actually less than what most teenagers see on everyday television. It was truly refreshing.

I honestly don’t feel that there were any “cons” to this novel. There were no plot holes, I didn’t find myself believing there should have been a third book, and I didn’t feel like I was swarming with questions at the end. Ahern followed Flawed with a beautifully written sequel and executed a wonderful finale. She wraps the story up in a bow and really ensures the reader has closure.

Characters:

In this novel the characters are well-written, to say the least. Celestine continues on the path of her nature in book one. She is a balance of strength and weakness, bravery, and cowardice, independence, and dependence. As the novel furthers, however, we begin to see her take more risks. She begins to step more into her role as leader, but she never fully detaches from the young girl that remains inside. The back-and-forth that may irritate some readers was quite relatable to me. I’ve never been one to rush into a decision without doubting myself, and it is far from uncommon for me to weep about my circumstances before I pick up the pieces and brave moving forward like the fierce queen that I am! I feel the same can be said for Celestine, which is why she is my favorite character.

I think my second favorite character was her Grandfather. In book one he’s painted to be a conspiracy theorist, and possibly a loon, but by book two we know that isn’t the case. He’s a man of second chances in a society that reluctantly gives one chance. A dedicated family man and an encourager, he is constantly lifting Celestine up and reminding her who she is. He made me reminiscent of my own father.

There’s also Carrick, who to put bluntly is our wounded bad-boy with a giant heart. Flawed At Birth (F.A.B) Carrick was stripped of his parents at an early age and institutionalized. He was taught to hate his parents, and that they were practically the devil himself. After the system finds him Flawed, he continues to seek out his parents. For most of the book, he continues singing the wounded bad-boy anthem, but we see more of his soft side. He becomes a well-rounded character who is compassionate and determined to save Celestine – whatever the cost.

These were the three characters who stuck out most to me, though there were plenty of others. We have our Antagonist Judge Crevan, and his son Art Crevan. I think Judge Crevan was my favorite character to watch the progression of, because the more you poked and prodded at him, the quicker he fell apart. We have Dahy, Grandad’s farmhand, Juniper, and Celestine’s Mom. There’s also Rogan, Kelly, Adam, Kate, Mr. Angelo, and Judge Sanchez. Ahern was able to include a good variety of characters that created a very realistic world.

Conclusion:

This novel explores a reality that is not far from the one we live in today. Though we are not branded with an iron, the tiniest of mistakes can completely shatter lives – and equally as discussed in this novel, it is inhumane to expect perfection. A page-turner, at the very least, this novel is a Coming of Age Dystopian focused on an individual versus society, loyalty to family, and overcoming the odds. I rated this novel PG-13, for the one fade-to-black sex scene, and the thought-provoking content. I easily gave this novel, and series 5 stars as I enjoyed both immensely and was able to tear through their fast-paced story quickly. If you’ve read this novel or would like to, I’d love to hear from you!

Favorite Quotes:

“A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place.” – Grandad

“It can take a lifetime to build up a friendship – it can take a second to make an enemy.” – Celestine

“When it’s yourself, you can take it; when it’s happening to the people you love, it can break you.” – Celestine

“If you can’t solve a problem, then there is an easier problem you can solve: You just have to find it…” – Polya

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