Publication date: 22nd November 2012
My rating: 4.5 stars
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 . . .
After finishing Flawed I felt like an empty shell, numb and raw. Sometimes I enjoy books which leave you feeling crushed, like your heart has been taken and thoroughly stomped on. It takes a lot for me to be left so affected by a book and only a few this year have been able to leave me feeling so overwrought with emotions.
I’d heard endless things about Flawed before picking it up, yes I was worried about its taboo subject, and it’s dark and gritty vibe. I even had Kate stop by on the blog and share a playlist for the book, but there was this incredible invisible string tugging me towards it. Despite everything I’d heard and knowing this book would be going down a dark path I knew I had to read this book.
James and Sarah have a really close relationship; they’ve been through so much crap through their life, so each is like a constant pillar of support for the other. They both know without one another they never would have made it this far. But their close sibling bond is often mistaken for something else. James does go overboard a bit sometimes in Sarah’s eye’s playing the over protective brother role a bit too much, he doesn’t really want anyone to get to know her, he tends to escort her really everywhere. It’s no wonder Sarah’s fully dependent on James, he’s her only real friend. Plus he knows about everything she’s been through so she doesn’t feel the need to hide away from him. But Sarah’s always secretly liked James best friend Sam, not that he’s ever paid her any attention, she can’t even get two minutes to talk with the guy with James around. But James reluctantly agrees to take Sarah to a party one night, and just her luck Sam’s there too. Before you know it Sarah’s realised her interpretation of Sam’s feelings were all wrong, that maybe there is a chance of her finally being with someone that loves her other than her brother. But she knows James isn’t going to be too happy about it, her only chance is to sneak around behind James back, she doesn’t like lying to James but she really has no other choice. It’s the only way she can keep the two men she loves most in the world close to her.
If by reading the blurb to Flawed, you’re thinking of not picking it up because of its taboo sounding subject, please don’t do this. Because Flawed seriously provided so much more. It was a masterfully woven story combining several gritty aspects and producing a powerful heart wrenching read.
The Bittersweet relationship between Sam and Sarah left me with a gaping hole in my heart, they were so perfect for each other without realising it, with everything Sarah had been through and with an overbearing brother who escorted her everywhere Sam was so sweet. Which guy decides to put his neck constantly on the line knowing his girlfriend’s brother would go ballistic if he saw them together? Which guy would sneak around at all hours just to spend even just a few minutes with his girlfriend? Act indifferent when James was around, and always want the best for Sarah? Sam seriously turned me into a pile of mush with his sweetness, his and Sarah’s scenes were chillingly beautiful. I was constantly at the edge of my seat, biting my nails down to the core, worried they would get caught by James.
The day and a half I read this in I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to work, I didn’t want to eat or sleep, I just wanted to lock myself away with this beautiful bittersweet book. Despite me having early inklings about which way this book could go, Avelynn managed to grab my heart and smash it some more, never in my life have I wanted a book to end a certain way than I wanted it with Flawed.
There have been some incredible debut authors this year, but everyone Avelynn is definitely one to watch. She shook me to the core with this book and a week after finishing it I’m still a trembling mess. Flawed in my mind is an unputdownable brilliant read, one that I will never forget.
I hugely recommend checking out this playlist for Flawed made by Kate Avelynn, whilst reading this book; honestly the songs resonated with me.
A huge thank you to Heather Riccio and Entangled Publishing for this review copy.