Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: Flat-Out Love

Flat-Out Love
by Jessica Park

Published April 11th 2011 by Jessica Park

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.


Rating: 5/5 shining stars
Oh. My God.

   I think. I am in love. Goodness freaking gracious this book was magnificent! I'm sorry, I think I need a moment, lest this entire review turn into incoherent babble and ranting about how much I utterly love this book.....


Okay okay, reasons why I love this book
  • the HUMOUR. Why can't I be funny like the people in the book?! It totally wasn't the trying-too-hard kind of funny but totally natural and sarcastic and just plain hilarious.
  • Perfect Mix of Family Dysfunction and Romance--I adored the entire Watkins family--even Flat Finn! Especially Celeste, though. She was so precocious and quirky and lovable! And I even loved Matt's geeky T-shirts!
  • Slow-Building Romance---I've probably said this before, but I hate insta-love. This book had the perfect slow-building romance and funny playful banter. It was very natural-feeling, albeit a little unconventional. I loved Julie and Finn’s messages. And I will unabashedly admit that I was a little in love with the boy myself. Okay, blatant lie. I was utterly enamored.
  • Julie--she was a great protagonist. Super funny and nice and full of life, which was just what the Watkins family needed. She also had her own family problems involving an absent dad, which made her real. Plus, she's super interested in psychology, which of course scores her some brownie points with me.
  • The Mystery--so, it's not a mystery in the normal sense of the word, involving murders and Sherlockian hats, but you definitely know that something happened to the Watkins family that made them so.... "stuck." The entire book I was wracking my brain trying to figure out the secret! I ended up guessing it right, but only just before the secret was actually revealed. 
  • The General Quirkiness--- This book was just.... different from every other book I've ever read! I mean, there was romance and family and "dealing with stuff," but... I don't know, this book was a mix of silly with quirky and just so... like a teddy bear in book form! 
  • The fact that it was in 3rd person and I still loved it!!! Normally, I really am not a big fan of 3rd person narratives because I find it hard to connect to the characters... but this book did not give me that problem AT ALL!
  • The Facebook Statuses--I really really REALLY enjoyed how the author would incorporate the different status updates with each chapter. Absolutely hilarious!

 Seriously, YOU GUYS, I highly highly highly recommend this book! It's a great book, plus it was only like $2 on my nook! No doubt one of my best nook-finds ever!

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