Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Flawed by Kate Avelynn

Title: Flawed
Author: Kate Avelynn
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: November 22nd 2012
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
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Sarah O’Brien is only alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago—James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely. Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give.
Sam Donavon has been James’s best friend—and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on—for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realize James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact...
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I'd been waiting for this book forever - I was so pissed when they kept pushing back the release date! So when it came out, of course I had to buy and read it immediately. And luckily, I was not disappointed - Flawed is just as dark and amazing as I'd hoped!

The whole set-up of the story is genius. I've read quite a few books on the topic of abuse and domestic violence, but Kate Avelynn put a whole new spin on it. In regular abuse books (if there is such a thing), you may understand the main character's struggle, but you still always know who the bad guy is, what the right thing to do would be, that the main character should leave behind the abuser no matter their relationship. But in Flawed, it's not as easy. Concerning her dad, yes - that's pretty much the "basic" abuse storyline. But concerning James, it's so much harder to figure out what's wrong and what's right. James isn't simply a bad person, he's just... broken. A lifetime of fucked-up things happening to him over and over again has made him this way, making it very hard for me to judge  him. That's why, even though it doesn't make sense, I understood Sarah's struggle with leaving James behind. Even though it's wrong, I couldn't help but understand their relationship. Flawed does a great job of blurring the lines of what's right and wrong, causing for a great story and also confronting me with my own morals.

But even more so than making me think, this book broke my heart. Even if it's hard to decide who's at fault, the things that happen in Flawed are so, so horrible. The things that Sarah has had to go through are just unimaginable - every aspect of her family life is fucked up to the max. Especially the ending  just broke my heart. But, of course, I loved it, because I love dark and messed-up stories.

The only aspect of the novel that I didn't like as much is the romance. There were parts of the Sarah's and Sam's relationship that I did like - the sexual tension is really well-done, and I could feel their chemistry. But the actual emotions to their relationship didn't work for me. Yes, Sarah had had a crush on Sam for the longest time, but they didn't really know each other until just now. And considering how little they really know each other, I just found it kind of weird how they talk about how much they love each other and all of that. Yes, I get that because of these circumstances, they bonded faster than you normally would, but their relationship still moved too fast for me to find it realistic.

Despite the romance that was just a tad too melodramatic for me, I really loved this book. With a taboo topic that explores the gray areas of good and bad in the best way, Flawed is dark and heartbreaking in the best way possible. I loved it, and I know it'll stay with me for a while.


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