This hip retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is filled with hilariously misguided matchmaking, sweet romance, and a gentle reminder that we should all embrace our flaws.
Sarah Burke is a new high school senior with long blond hair, blue eyes and gets top grades. While that description might make her seem flawless, Sarah sees herself as anything but because of her enormous nose that seems to attract the wrong kind of attention wherever she goes. She has learnt to accept it as part of herself and can't quite bring herself to have a nose job like her mum did to fix the same affliction. When a new boy arrives at her school, it changes everything....
Without a doubt, what I loved most about this book was the characters because I often find that contemporaries set in high school (out of the few I've read) often feature cliched characters such as the popular mean girl or the dumb blond. In Flawless, each of the main characters Sarah, Kristen and Rock were really well developed with believable flaws so I was able to relate to each one of them and I couldn't help but grow to love them. The protagonist Sarah is witty, smart and exceptionally well organised but has many insecurities about herself because of her abnormally large nose that often holds her back. I was able to understand her feelings about this perfectly because every teenage girl feels insecure sometimes and this has been a big topic in the media over the past few years. I loved the close friendship that she shared with her best friend Kristen who she agrees to help get the attention of Rock despite having strong feelings about him herself. This showed what a loyal friend Sarah was because she would do anything for Kristen's happiness and puts their friendship before guys.
Although blind to Sarah's feelings for Rock, it was clear that Kristen was a fantastic friend too who was always there for Sarah. I really liked how she would stick up for Sarah when people made fun of her nose and was protective of her. She was the party girl of the two with model like looks and a fabulous fashion sense but just as lovable in her own way!
Rock was absolutely gorgeous and I'm not surprised that both girls in the book were after him! He was smart, witty, handsome and best of all he loved literature and reading. Some guys in YA books can be quite shallow and there characters are under developed but this wasn't the case with Rock. I loved his banter and some of the things he said- totally cute! Also the dates that he thought of were so romantic. Although I do have to point out that he wasn't an unrealistic perfect character and did have character flaws.
I think that the issues of being learning to be happy and comfortable about yourself and your body, loyalty and boyfriend problems were handled really well because they were a subtle theme throughout the book that left me with a message that acted as food for thought but it was never pushed onto me or became preachy. I like this because it makes the reader realise it and work it out for themselves. A nice little addition to this was the famous quotes to do with how beauty isn't perfection and other topics like that at the beginning of each chapter. I'm going to copy some of them into my new quote book because I like them so much. Here's an example of one of my favourite quotes in the book:
'The absence of flaw in beauty is itself a flaw.' Havecock Ellis
I hadn't heard of the story of Cyrano de Bergerac before I read this retelling and I looked it up after finishing the book and I think it's been adapted really well for the twenty-first century.Lara Chapman's writing was fabulous and there are many hilarious one liners in the book that seem very natural and not forced. This is her debut and she writes like she's already an experienced bestselling author so I can't wait to see what she writes next!
Verdict/Quick read: Flawless lives up to its name with well developed characters, witty one liners and of course a gorgeous guy- the perfect combination for a high school set story! Every contemporary fan should have this debut at the top of their reading list and even if you're not usually a contemporary fan (like me!) then I still recommend it.
Rating: 4.5 stars