Flawed is a dark but moving book. It doesn't shy away from the scary reality of abuse and possessiveness under the guise of protection. It's gritty and for every moment of hope, there's a moment of despair that keeps you going to the end.
Sarah O'Brien has always depended on her brother James to save her from her abusive father. He would always step in and protect her with the promise that he'd keep her safe as long as she'd never leave him. She's always been able to keep that secret, but things are starting to change in her world. The summer before senior year, she finally has a chance with her long-time crush, Sam, who just happens to be James's best friend. She thought that since they were friends, James would approve, but his possessiveness pushes forward as he forbids her to see Sam. She struggles with what to do because she knows that if James finds out she's with Sam, he'll kill him, but she can't deny how safe and wonderful she feels when she's with Sam. He gives her hope for a future and an escape from this horrible world she's lived most of her life. Any hope for the future, however, means hurting James and breaking her promise. Her choice gets even more difficult as James starts to spiral out of control and nothing seems safe anymore.
This is a powerful book that reminds people that bad things happen and there isn't always a happy ending. No matter what Sarah chooses to do, someone is going to get hurt, a fact that constantly pulls her in different directions. You can't help but want to see Sarah come out on top, but you understand the struggles that keep weighing her down. You feel for James who is facing his own demons. He understands his role as Sarah's protector, but since that has been his whole life, his role as her brother starts to blur. On top of that, there's the reality that maybe people aren't as different as their enemy as they would hope. Either way, you want to see these characters overcome their struggles, but the reality is that it's not as easy as one would hope.
I really enjoyed this novel. It draws you in emotionally and then shocks you at the end. This book is real and doesn't sugar coat anything. It was a great read.