Although sponsored by Harper Collins, this is a genuine review. It was an absolute honour to have the chance to review Cecelia Ahern’s new YA novel, Perfect. And that was even before I read this wonderful book!
Perfect is the sequel to Flawed, the best-selling YA debut of 2016, and continues the story of Celestine North. Celestine is on the run from Judge Crevan having been branded Flawed by a mortality court. But Celestine has a plan, one that could bring the entire Flawed system to its knees.
Let me start by saying two things. One is that you do not have had to read the first story in this series to enjoy Perfect (but I will go back and read it now after enjoying this so much). This works well as a standalone book and there is just enough background thrown in to give readers an explanation as to Celestine’s current situation. Secondly, you do not have to be a “young adult” to enjoy this book as there are many levels of depth to its story, which I will go onto to discuss now.
First and foremost, the main theme of this book is whether it is better to be Perfect or Flawed. We see each status through the story’s inhabitants: the level of disgust in people’s eyes for those branded Flawed, and the Flawed people who see that there is no such thing as perfect. It is a conundrum which leaves you thinking, wondering which you would prefer, wondering if you are Perfect, Flawed or a mixture of both. If, like me, you actually want an answer to this question, play this game. I was judged Flawed with a mortality score of 40%, btw. I actually wish that I was more Flawed. I agree very much with the theme of the book that it is best to be happy and live life as ones true self rather than a perceived version of Perfect.
The story is well-written and easy to follow. While I feared the story would be predictable, I was pleased to encounter many occurrences which I didn’t see coming. Everything slotted in perfectly by the end of the book and I had the feeling of putting a jigsaw puzzle together. I was also a big fan of each character, whether I liked them or not, as they each brought something special to the book. Nevertheless, it was Celestine who truly stole my heart. Celestine is a strong female character who reminded me somewhat of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. I absolutely love how female protagonists are being written these days.
I also admired Ahern’s sense of imagination, how she built up this unique dystopian world. But there was something niggling at me throughout that I didn’t put my finger on until this end, which leads me to the more adult part of this book. Although Humming is a fictional place, it reflected our society, past and present, quite a lot. Of course, it depicted how change is often presented as bad, how “different” people are a danger to the sheep, but I felt it went to a deeper level than that. For me, there were reflections of Irish history and the acts of certain institutions that shamed people and took children from parents deemed unfit. Perfect showed us that these things can be overcome if we stand together, but it was also a reminder that such horrifying acts still happen. I believe Ahern was sending a message to keep your eyes open and not be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.
Phew! Heavy analysis there but I was dying to share my thoughts with you about this book for a while now. Overall, you just have to read this. It is so much more than a YA novel and you won’t be disappointed.