Perfect or flawed? Cecelia Ahern’s dystopian sequel

Ever since she was tiny, Miss Missy has loved books and reading. She never had a security blanket—instead she had to have Peepo by Janet and Alan Ahlberg in her cot to go to sleep. Our best "look what my baby can do" party trick was getting her to bring us alphabet letters from the fridge. She could find the "S for Sausage" or the "G for Genevieve" or the "H for Helena" (her BFF) long before she could say any of those words. When she got bigger, she went through chapter books so fast that on trips to the library, she'd have finished a book before we even pulled up the drive.

I shared all my best-loved books with Miss Missy—the Chronicles of Narnia , Milly Molly Mandy stories, the Little House books, and (of course!) Harry Potter. As she got older, she started sharing her favourites with me, like Michael Morpurgo and Lauren Child two authors that I thoroughly enjoy reading. Now that she's reading teen fiction, Dystopian novels feature heavily. A while back she brought home Flawed by Cecelia Ahern. I was intrigued by this world where perfection is everything, where the smallest mistake can see you branded, literally, as a flawed member of society, and by Celestine, the girl who decides to make a stand for the shunned.

It was a fast paced and exiting story, which ended with Celestine on the run, so Miss Missy and I were both eagerly awaiting Perfect, the next book in the series!

Much as I wanted to enjoy it, I couldn't help thinking that Perfect was, well, less than perfect. I expected it to pick up just were Flawed left off, with Celestine on the run, and determined to take down the evil Guild that controls the world she lives in. But Perfect doesn't take off at a run. Instead of running, Celestine decides to hang out on her Granddad's farm for a couple of weeks, going no-where, doing nothing. And of course, she almost gets caught. Once she finally starts running, I expected her to go get the vital evidence she needed to bring down the evil Judge and his Guild, but it took her an absolute age to figure out what I already twigged onto--that she'd been given the evidence secreted in an unexpected gift. She'd had it since the first book, and it took her half the second one to figure it out! I got a bit annoyed with her naivety (stupidity?). She was just too trusting, and it kept getting her into trouble.

But maybe I'm being to harsh! Miss Missy loved it, and once it got off the ground, I did enjoy reading it.  I think Perfect just suffers a little from Sequel Syndrome (I thought I was being clever coming up with that, but a quick Google search will show you its not a new thing!) Is it cynical of me to think that Ms Ahern's publisher just wanted her to spin the story out into two books instead of one? All in all it was a pretty good book, and if you enjoyed Flawed, it's definitely worth reading this to find out what happens, so don't let me put you off!

And maybe you'd like to tell me about a sequel that you thought fell a short?

Perfect

Perfect
by Cecelia Ahern
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN:  9780008125141

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