The Scarlet Letter meets Divergent in this thoughtful and thrilling novel by bestselling author 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.
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Quick Reasons: heavy, hard-hitting story; (mostly) redeemable, engaging characters…except that one villain guy, who’s another President Snow in the making; realistic, terrifying dystopian; well-written, heart-wrenching prose; this entire story is FEELS from start to finish
Huge thanks to Cecelia Ahern, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, and Netgalley for a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my opinions or review of this read.
OH MY good golly gee willickers, I can’t even with the feels right now.
No, really. You guys think I’m joking. I can hear you all now, sitting there in your chairs, faces drawn in mild amusement (and perhaps a bit of exasperation, because HELLO, I freak out about books all. the. time, so this is nothing new) But trust me—this book? You’re going to want to read it. You’re going to want to drop everything the day it’s published and pick it up.
I’d go so far as to say this is The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne) meets The Scarred Letter (Val Muller) meets The Fire Sermon (Francesca Haig)–but don’t let this scare you, or talk you out of reading! Seriously, you do NOT want to miss this book!
Ignorance is bliss. Knowledge is often a responsibility nobody wants.
I think I sputtered and spewed incoherently for a good five minutes after finishing this, so forgive me if my thoughts are just a bit scattered. From the very start of this read, Cecelia Ahern thrusts readers into the midst of the world she’s created, immediately introducing our main protagonist…and the biggest topic of the book.
That topic is heavy. And heart breaking. And gut-roiling, churning, fiery passion-inducing acidic OUCH. This book is intense, and filled with feels, and you will not be able to set it aside once you pick it up, so you might want to make sure you have plenty of time to spare on reading it. I’d recommend, therefore, not starting it just before you go to bed, or in the morning before a huge meeting, or on your daily commute to work. Trust me, this would be a huge mistake.
It’s the branding that does that, and I know it. It dehumanizes me in a way to others. I’m to be stared at and talked about as if I’m not here.
While I admit the prose is, at times, a bit awkward and stilted, you’ll be so wrapped up in the plot you probably won’t even notice it. Because the plot? It’s intense. From the get-go, this read is fast-paced, action-packed, and disgustingly REAL. And I say that meaning it in the best way possible—although also in the, “I was so angry at this book!” way. This book will make you mad. That’s its biggest triumph: it will make you mad, and you will come out of this read a different person for it.
The characters are engaging, mostly redeemable (save a very President Snow -esque villain), and entertaining. You’ll be rooting for our main character before you even really get to know her. Cecelia Ahern put her heart and soul into crafting this debut novel…and she came out a winner in my book. The plot, the characters, the gut-roiling frustration… it all comes together so brilliantly, you’ll find yourself needing the second book ASAP—not because of the cliff-hanger (yes, unfortunately, there is one, but I’m overlooking it because my gosh this book!) but because you care about what happens next.
Crevan’s red robe is the same color as the scar on my hand, and I’m guessing as my foot, chest, and temple. My blood is on his robe. He did this to me. Him. I feel nothing but disgust for him. I used to think that I couldn’t be afraid of someone so human, now I realize it is his humanity that scares me most, because despite having all those traits, having shared the moments we’ve shared, he could still do this to me.
This is not your fluffy, romantic, every day read. There are some heavy subjects happening in these pages, and there are some pretty tough moments to read, so if you’re triggered by torture be warned: one scene in particular is difficult to stomach. But if you’re willing, this book will change you—as a person AND a reader. I’d definitely recommend to lovers of dystopian, human nature, and societal struggles. And now…I’m off to cry in my corner, and wait impatiently for more people to hop on this emotional roller coaster…and for the release of book two (which, you know, is going to be a while.)