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Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Synopsis: 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.

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.


Review: Flat-Out Love is an interesting read and I definitely think it fits the (college age) audience it was written for. I wanted to love this book and for the most part I enjoyed it but I found the overall story to be slow and predictable. Right off the bat you're introduced to this somewhat eccentric family and although they were quirky at times, for the most part they were just confusing. Celeste is a unique character and I have to give Jessica Park credit for that, but at the same time I found her a little irritating. Although Celeste was definitely an emotional child, she came off a little cold a lot of the times. I liked Julie and I found her to be an extremely likeable character. She was funny, stubborn and overall a great character. I also really liked Matt and I loved that he played up the nerdy side with his t-shirts. One thing I didn't like about Matt is he was such a hard ass. I mean yes his character has gone through a lot and he's probably the most 3-D character of the bunch, but I really just wanted him to lighten up. The drama in the story was written well and definitely propelled the story forward.

Side note: I was recommended this story because I wanted to read something like Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, but it didn't really compare as far as story plot or the relationship between Julie and Matt.


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