4.5/5 stars. I received an eARC from NetGalley.
Cecelia Ahern, I love you and I love your book.
I had some serious doubts. There was a lot that left me wanting from the first book, and a lot of it had to do with Celestine--though relatable, she wasn't all that likable to me. I am still not a fan of hers, but I respect her. She went through hell, and she admitted to struggling to know herself once she realized the world was not black and white but a mess of gray. She proved that she was strong and that she did in fact have some brains. I won't forgive her (or Cecelia) for the love triangle, because I think they are nasty and unnecessary plot devices to escalate tension and interest, but I can get over it BECAUSE I LOVE THIS BOOK.
Where I found so many faults in Celestine in Flawed, they proved to be moments of learning and overcoming faults in Perfect. Celestine grew so much; she became this beacon of hope and change, and she refused to back down when things became tough. In those characteristics, she reminded me so much of Veronica Roth's Tris (Divergent series) and Katniss Everdeen from Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy. She knew what was right, she knew where she stood, she knew what she wanted--and she DID. NOT. BACK. DOWN. She stood her ground every step of this anxiety-induced, tension-filled, action-packed story. Strong young women fighting for what is right even though the society in place is trying to silence and erase them. GET AT THIS BOOK WHEN YOU CAN.
Now, I did not find the writing itself perfect. Same as with Flawed, Perfect does fall into the habit of telling rather than showing. The difference, however, is that the telling in Perfect is a bunch of recapping Flawed throughout the entire book, happening at least every other chapter. It is almost like Cecelia felt the need to remind us of information, as if we would have already forgotten. Not to mention recapping is annoying--I read the first book, so please get on with the story. Like with the love triangle, I got over this because the important message(s) Cecelia Ahern expresses are THAT IMPERATIVE.
Those messages are:
-Prejudice is inhumane
-Refusing to help another when you know it is the right thing to do is inhumane
-Imposing regulations on people that makes helping those who are prejudiced against is inhumane
-Being a dick (*excuse me*) like Crevan is one of the worst offenses against humanity and is most definitely inhumane
-It doesn't take a lot to be a decent person--it is as simple as helping them to a seat
-There are some who are not strong enough to be the change needed in a corrupt society, and those who do prove to be strong enough will surprise you
...I would give you more of the messages that I picked out, but I would rather you read the book yourself.
Enjoy once you get it in your hands--this is a fantastic duology! Easy to read, frustrating as hell, and ends with a fantastic and sobering resolution. Give it a go and be swept along!