on January 22nd 2013
Sarah O’Brien is 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’ 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 realizes 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...
There’s a fist-clenching feeling in my stomach, tear pools in my eyes. In the past, select stories have stirred some emotion out of me, mainly mentally with a few shedded tears here and there. This is the first time that a story has moved me to such a degree of physical response. I feel like my emotions are revolting against the floodgate I’ve constructed. It’s hard to describe my feelings towards Flawed without bursting into tears. I sit here wrecked, having had my emotions thrown through the wringer, and now left with a firm belief that Flawed is one of the most remarkable books I’ve ever read. Devastating and dark doesn’t even begin describe this story, but it’s a good place to start.
Sarah O’Brien’s life is abysmal. Her father’s a monster, a once famed boxer who delegates his time between work at the paper mill, chugging beers and beating his children and wife. His presence was like a dark shadow that Sarah couldn’t escape from, a nightmare replayed over and over again. Sarah’s mother, always high off of this or that medication was useless, unable to help anyone let alone herself. Then there’s James. The constant, shining star in Sarah’s life. All their life, Sarah and James have clung to each other for comfort, support and protection. The bond between these two were nigh impenetrable. That is, until Jame’s instability really came to light, and Sarah found a sense of freedom in Sam’s promises.
Flawed is gut-wrenching and heart-breaking. It was an emotional roller-coaster that kept plummeting down into a dark, dreary tunnel. In a way I’m glad that my job prevented me from reading this whole book in one sitting. If I hadn’t read, breaked, than read some more, I don’t know what state I’d be in. I’m already in an emotional-overload as it is. Every cruel, revolting and downright horrific thing Sarah went through had me clutching tissues and sobbing. There were those cute, hope-filled moments here and there, especially when Sam was involved, but they weren’t enough to lift the sorrow-filled haze clouding my mind.
The moment I saw Flawed I knew I needed to read it, a decision I’ll forever be glad I made. It was an experience never before experienced, and never to be forgotten. Avelynn weaves a story so disturbing yet real that had me rapidly flipping the pages. I was so hooked on Sarah’s story. Every physical and emotional obstacle Sarah went through, just made my hope for her brighter future, that much higher.
Flawed is an easy 5 stars. The story although, dark and highly controversial, is raw and beautiful. Strip away the abuse, the drug use and tinged hints of incest, and you have a girl just trying to discover who she is and what she wants out of life, and most importantly, realizing that she does deserve a happy ending.
“I have no idea what he sees in me. Strength he says. Beauty. A big heart. I see none of these things. I see fear, flaws, and a heart so full of blackness I can’t give up on my own selfish wants to set him or my brother free.”
Flawed is being marketed as a Young Adult book, however I’d argue that it definitely belongs in the New Adult domain. There are a lot of mature scenes and concepts that are most definitely not suited for tweens or younger teens. I’d say 17+ for mature language, scenes including yet not limited to violence, sex, and drugs.