Goodreads Summary: 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.Goodreads / Barnes and Noble
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 . . .
Genre: Young Adult, contemporary
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
First line: "My first memory of James is what keeps me here, smoothing hair out of a boy's blood-spattered face."
Favorite Quote: "James is why I never left. I should have left"
I was a bit unsure about whether or not I wanted to read this at first because it's about such a taboo subject. After starting Forbidden, which is kind of similar, and deciding it was not for me, I steered clear of Flawed for a long time. This wasn't exactly difficult to do, since my library didn't have a copy for the longest time. When it finally showed up in the catalog, I gave it a try anyway because I've kind of been into darker contemporary lately. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews, so I went into it fully aware that my opinion could really go either way. After finishing it, I neither loved nor hated Flawed. It was just one of those "meh" stories that entertained me thoroughly but overall could have been so much more. I think the flower/weed on the cover does a good job symbolizing the sadness within the story, and the tagline is actually rather chilling.
This isn't exactly a small book, but it's definitely not hard to breeze through the whole thing rather quickly. Avelynn's writing is compelling and easy to read. The scenes that she creates a raw and saddening, but not to the point where it feels unrealistic or tacky. It was difficult to get through certain parts, though, simply because Sarah's family life and home was so sickening most of the time. I don't understand how a mother or father could treat their children so horribly, and it's a miracle Sarah was not as mentally as unstable as her brother was. I really wasn't sure how I felt about the romance at first. Sam seemed like a perfectly awesome guy, but I did think their relationship moved along a little too quickly. It was one of those I-barely-know-you-and-yet-I-love-you cases. I could understand why Sarah would latch onto him so quickly after having been loved so little throughout her entire life, and I even got why she didn't care about waiting for sex, but I think that Sam declared his undying love too fast. I did think that they would pretty cute together, but overall I didn't have very strong feelings about them as a couple.
Sarah was without a doubt a very damaged character, and with good reason. Her father is abusive, her mother is on drugs and basically ignores everything that goes on in the house, and now her brother - the guy that has been protecting her for so long - starts making romantic advances towards her. I was very interested in her inner conflict between wanting to help and comfort James because of all they'd been through together, and at the same time knowing that he needs professional help (she notices more and more and more as the story progresses that he starts acting more and more like their father). She remains pretty timid pretty much the whole time, but I do think she grew as a character somewhat towards the end. But I think I would have appreciated a more verbal explanation in the last chapter about what she learned.
I think what really killed the book for me was the end. It felt very rushed, like the author had spent so much time setting up the story only to take the easy way out, which was quite annoying. It also lacked the sense of hope that usually is present in this type of story. The story was all told, yes, but it was just that. A story with no real moral or purpose, and for that reason I doubt it will leave any lasting impression on me. However, it is fairly engrossing. I encourage you to pick up Flawed if it's something you think you'd like, but I also advise you not to get your hopes up.
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