Title: Flat-Out Love
Author: Jessica Park
Series: Flat-Out Love #1
Release date: May 18, 2011
Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.
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.
I don’t know why I waited so long to read this book! Everyone kept telling me how wonderful it was and I was not disappointed. Jessica Park has written a true gem with Flat-Out Love. This book is enthralling from start to finish and absolutely one of a kind! This story kept me on my toes as we joined Julie during her first year of college. When things don’t work out quite how she imagined with her living situation, her carefree college life is suddenly overrun by a family with a secret.
“I can see I’ll get nowhere fast on the subject. Like most subjects with you. God forbid you spontaneously produce informative dialogue on your own.”
Jessica Park has assembled a vibrant collection of characters that all bring unique voices and fun quirks to the story. Our heroine, Julie, is smart, fun, and brilliantly sarcastic. Her interactions and conversations with the very nerdy and socially awkward Matt are perfectly amusing. Their witty banter kept me laughing, while their undeniable chemistry kept their relationship constantly on my mind. Matt’s little sister, Celeste is an odd kid that is far too clever to fit in with other girls her age. Julie decides to help her have a social life, stirring up a whirlwind of emotions. This book radiates humor and intelligence, two of my favorite things. Jessica’s writing pulled me in and refused to let go. I couldn’t read enough of this story.
“I’m terrified that when I undo that buckle and release you, that you’ll get up and walk away from me. I can’t think of anything more excruciating.”
Honestly, I had no idea that things would go the way they did. I knew there was a huge secret lurking around the corner, but I did not anticipate the magnitude or the emotional devastation, that would soon take over this journey. As much as this book was hysterical and daring, it was also honest and raw. Jessica Park isn’t afraid to discuss the tough stuff, tackling mental health issues, loss, betrayal, elusive joy, and hope all at once. Her character development is exquisite and as we felt time move forward, it was evident that Julie and the other characters were maturing and beginning to write their own stories. I can’t wait to hear Matt’s side of this story and I am looking forward to many more books from Jessica Park.
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Check out the rest of the Flat-Out Love series:
Flat-Out Matt (Flat-Out Love #1.5)
Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2)