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Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

BOTTOM LINE: I am SO glad I kept with the series.

Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction
Publication Date: 4 April 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Synopsis from the Publisher:

“Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick–the only person she can trust.

But Celestine has a secret–one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or to risk her life to save all Flawed people.

And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?”

My Thoughts: A year ago, I read Cecelia Ahern‘s first young adult novel, Flawed, and was not as impressed as I wanted to be. I had some issues with the main character and some of the plot points but did say that it had promise as a series. So, I tried again with the sequel, and I am SO glad that I did.

Perfect rectifies every single one of the issues I had with Celestine and the story. She finds her voice and as a result understands what it means to be the leader everyone wants her to be. She uses that intelligence about which she had so much pride and starts making wise decisions. In essence, she finally matures enough to be worthy of the support she receives.

Ms. Ahern’s prose is, as always, stunning. Her words are so simple and yet so profound. I found myself pausing to savor them and writing down various passages to remember later. Celestine may not be the wisest character but some of her observations are so astute that they are worth the effort to be able to recall them at a later date.

In addition, whether this is Ms. Ahern’s intention or not, Judge Craven bears more than a passing resemblance to Cheeto Hitler in his attitude and behavior, as does his single-minded focus on revenge and protecting his power structure. The fact that most of the novel is about a burgeoning resistance to that power is uplifting in ways that would not have been possible two years ago. Through Celestine, Ms. Ahern says much about resistance in general, providing cautionary tales and advice to those who may be experiencing their own resistance movement to a corrupt political power. It is an unexpected plus to the story and again one worth remembering over the next four years.

Perfect is an intense story, one for which you end up foregoing sleep in an effort to finish it. Granted, life on the run should be chaotic and full of threats. Part of the thrill of the story is watching Celestine maneuver around the chaos and learn to recognize the threats before they have a chance to cause harm. She is not very good at this in the beginning, so the story takes on the feel of The Fugitive. Eventually, it shifts to a chess match, but both are fascinating to watch and make it impossible to stop reading.

The best part about Perfect is that my concerns about the first novel in the series now have a context, and I can see not only why I had those concerns but why they were necessary for the overarching story. Celestine goes through a major crisis in her life and must reevaluate everything she has ever learned about the society in which she lives. We need to see that growth from naive ingenue to powerful leader and we need to believe it. Ms. Ahern has made me a believer.

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