Series: Stand alone
Genre: Contemporary YA
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: 12/11/12
Source: Received from publisher for review.
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.Flawed is a brutal, unflinchingly painful, yet beautifully told story of broken psyches and broken hearts.
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 . . .
This is a really, really difficult review to write. Maybe that's fitting because Flawed was a difficult story to read. I can only imagine how painful it must have been to bring to life. I want to start by commending author Kate Avelynn for her talent and courage in writing such a unique book.
I think, by reading the synopsis, the basics of the story are clear. Sarah O'Brien is the victim of a horrific home life. Her brother James is her savior, taking her pain at one price, her love. All of her love. When James' friend Sam makes a long-awaited connection with Sarah, a chain of horrific events is set off that will leave lives destroyed. Amid the insanity, there is a beautiful love story. The moments of peace, acceptance and love between Sam and Sarah were my favorites in Flawed.
Almost every other moment, though beautifully written, was painful to read. And you know, that's okay. I absolutely believe that Flawed is a story that is meant to make you uncomfortable...how could it not? I wanted to put the book away in the times of extreme brutality. It was almost too much to take. There were so many wrong decisions made by the characters. But who can judge two children who have lived such a brutal existence? As hard as it is to believe, there are people in the world, far too many, who actually live the life of Sarah, and James. So to say that I can't stand to bear witness to a story like this is a cop out. If someone can endure it, at the very least, I can read it. And I think it says I lot that I've just sat here and written an entire paragraph, treating Flawed as a work of non-fiction and the characters as real beings. This goes to shows what a remarkable job Avelynn did in pulling me so deeply into her story.
At the end, I'm still at a loss with this review. Did I enjoy Flawed? Yes, I enjoyed the writing, and definitely the lovely moments between Sam and Sarah. But no, I didn't enjoy much of the story. I wasn't meant to. I felt deeply, thought hard, and ended with a broken heart. But I promise one thing. I won't forget Flawed.
"The more I'm around you, the more I realize just how much James didn't tell me," he says. "How much I don't know."
He closes his eyes. When he opens them, they're the dark, thunderstorm gray I love best. "If I had any idea, I never would've waited this long." (34%)
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