cover image Flawed


Cecelia Ahern. Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-07411-9

In this futuristic series opener, adult author Ahern's first book for teens, the government has appointed a court to judge ethical and moral transgressions, searing an F into the skin of citizens deemed to be Flawed. Celestine North is a carefree teenager living in this rigid world of right and wrong, but after she comes to the aid of an elderly Flawed man, she becomes the unwitting poster child for a rebellion. Ahern's concept is solid, seeking to examine prejudice and abuse of power, but it suffers from a superficial treatment and a less-than-inspiring heroine; even after her ordeal, Celestine still acts helpless around her beloved, Art, and her cellmate, Carrick. Despite the story being told from Celestine's point of view, there's little hint of an internal struggle to understand or abide by the rules, creating an unrealistically rapid swing from self-proclaimed "perfect" girl to defiant martyr. Characters are neatly categorized as good or evil, and society's rules are laid out so bluntly, early on, that it feels like a primer, not a natural component of Celestine's narrative. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (Apr.)