Review: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Monday, August 28, 2017

Title: Flat-Out Love
Author: Jessica Park
Series: Flat-Out Love, #1
Genre: Young Adult, MF Romance
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: September 11th 2012

 It's not what you know - or when you see - that matters. It's about a journey.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

Flat-Out Love comes complete with emails, Facebook status updates, and instant messages.



Why did I wait so long to read this book?!  I absolutely loved it, and I'm having trouble articulating why, so this review may be all over the place.  I apologize in advance! lol.  I'd categorize the genre as a  YA/adult college, chick lit.  It was really well written.  It had me laughing out loud at times, and also had my eyes welling up more than once.

Julie thought she had everything figured out when she headed off to college, but she quickly finds out how wrong she was.  When she arrives, she learns that the apartment that she had rented through Craigslist was a scam, and she now has no where to stay.  Fortunately, Julie's mother is able to contact an old college friend who happens to live in the area, and they agree to let Julie stay at their home.  The Watkins seem to be a nice but weird family with many secrets.  The strangest thing of all is Celeste , the youngest member of this family.  She carries around a life-sized cardboard photo of her oldest brother, Finn, because he is always traveling different places around the world and she misses him.  She calls the cardboard cut-out "Flat Finn".  There is also Matt, Celeste's  hot yet nerdy older brother.  He has taken on the role of Celeste's caretaker because his parents aren't very involved.

Julie is staying in Finn's old bedroom, so she decides to add him on Facebook and explain the situation so he doesn't wonder who the girl living in his house with his family is.  They begin chatting pretty regularly and Julie starts to develop and crush on him which later turns into feelings.

While she is staying with the Watkins' family, she starts to care for them all and want to help them.  Celeste is struggling in school because she is socially awkward and it's beginning to effect her educational opportunities.  Julie makes it her mission to help her get rid of "Flat Finn" and start making new friends.  She also wants her to start dressing and acting her age, because she dresses way too young for 13 years old.  I don't want to give too much else away about the plot because I think that would ruin it.

The characters in this book have so much personality and felt so real. I love that you get to experience the story from not only their daily interactions but also through Facebook statuses, emails, and private messages. I'm a big sucker for romances that involve "love letters", whether it be text message, social media, or physical letters.  I love it!  It really helps to immerse you in the story and connect with the characters. You can garner so much from someone's Facebook status about their personality that just doesn't feel the same if you were told it. Most chapters start with each characters' Facebook statuses and I felt like it helped you learn so much about them in a really cute and adorable way.

Matt was my favorite character of the whole book.  I loved his personality. He was funny and really witty.  Matt was also very caring and fiercely protective of his little sister.  He was always looking after everyone in the house. Celeste was very quirky, but sweet, and very perceptive. Finn was the flirty and charismatic one.  I love how understanding Julie was with Celeste's eccentricities.  Julie and Matt’s growing friendship was amusing and I loved the witty banter they shared. The back and forth between them showed such a camaraderie and like mindedness.

Even though I figured out the main twists early on, I still really enjoyed watching it unfold and feeling the emotions as they felt them. It was heartbreaking when the big secrets came out, but the ending felt really hopeful in a lot of ways. I do have to admit that the ending (romance-wise) was a little awkward and rushed but it didn't bother me enough to take off even a half star.  I'm definitely going to need to pick this one up for my physical shelves now, since I only had an ecopy.  I can see myself wanting to read this one again and again.


Find It Here:

12 comments:

  1. I've been meaning to read this book for a long time now, but your review has definitely inspired me to get to it sooner! It sounds fantastic. I love the idea of a "Flat Finn." That's seriously adorable for the little sister to do. Also, I love "love letters" too. They do manage to add a lot to a book. Great review! :)

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    1. I had it on my shelves for so long waiting for me. I don't know why I didn't pick it up sooner. lol! I really enjoyed this one a lot. I hope you get a chance to check this one out soon! Thanks Lauren!

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  2. I have heard nothing but good things about this author's books, so I really need to get it together and try Flat Out Love. I love the sound of the premise, and it just sounds really lovely overall. I'm curious about Celeste's situations. I think I know what's going on but I hope I'm wrong.
    Lovely review, Julie!

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    1. I can't wait to read more by this author. I saw that there are a couple more books in this series now, so I may have to buy those one day too. lol. You should definitely give this one a try. I thought it was really sweet even if you end up guessing what's going on with the family. Thanks Nick!

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  3. This is one of those books I have been meaning to read because I have heard good things but I had no idea what it was about!! I need this now! Great review!

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    1. It took me a really long time to pick this one up too. I'm not sure if it's the cover or what that held me back but I'm glad I finally read it. I hope you end up loving this one if you get a chance to check it out! Thanks, Grace!

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  4. This is a book that I keep seeing but I don't think I have read a review before yours. Now I feel like I need to read it...soon. Great review!

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    1. Thanks Carole! I hope you end up enjoying it as much as I did!

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  5. I have had this on my TBR forever. I can't even remember which blogger spoke about it which made me add it. I actually bought a copy a while back and still haven't read it! You have no reminded me of this fact and this book sounds totally fantastic. Like my kind of book and I regret not reading it sooner. I love the sounds of the characters and the dynamics between them all and even if you predicted things early on it obviously didn't affect your enjoyment at all. Great review.

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    1. Thanks so much! I had this one waiting for me forever and I finally decided to pick it up. I'm so glad I did. I hope you love it when you get a chance to pick it up.

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  6. I haven't read it yet but I picked it up on Kindle last week so one day soon.

    I've heard SO many amazing things about it.

    For What It's Worth

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    1. Oh that's great!! I hope you end up loving it as much as I did! It took me way too long to pick this one up but I am glad I did.

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