Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) 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.

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.

See my Casting:

4 STARS

Ok, I imagine this is going to be a little difficult to write without spoilers, but let’s see how we go.

I have so many books on my Kindle that I haven’t read, so I’m trying to make my way through some of them, rather than just reading the newest releases all the time.

I really don’t know how to rate this book. Part of me loved it… It was intriguing, original, the characters are fabulous and it’s so well written. I adore the surrounding cast, I love the originality of it all. It’s like nothing I’ve read before.

“Gut-wrenching, overpowering, crushing, fulfilling, complex, bring-you-to-your-knees love.”

But the other part of me has some issues… Firstly, I guessed the big mystery as soon as we met the Watkins family, so then I had to fight with myself throughout the rest of the book not to flick forward and see if I was right. And secondly, I’m so disappointed at the lack of Matt and Julie.

I’m really, really struggling with what to write here, so that I can give you a feel for the book, but I don’t give anything away. Is it a love triangle? No, not really. Are there two love interests? Yes, kind of. Is there a happy ending? Gah… is there? There’s a bittersweet ending, I guess. It’s an ending that I was satisfied with, but that’s because I saw it coming a mile off, so I’d prepared myself and was routing for it… If I hadn’t seen it coming, would I have been happy with it? I don’t think I would. As it was, I cried like a baby, so if it had hit me out of left field I think I’d have been pretty damn angry.

“I think I’m falling for you too. Let’s not pull this chute.”

Julie is great, if a little interfering and delusional. But she’s down to earth and ordinary, and I really enjoyed her character.

Matt is super cute in an awkward, geeky way. He’s the silent but integral type. I really wish we’d actually seen more of Matt, so I’m looking forward to reading Flat-Out Matt to see if we get more of an insight into our unlikely hero.

And Finn. Well, ‘Finn is God’, so obviously Finn is fabulous. Finn can do no wrong. Finn is the golden child and you will fall in love with Finn!!

“I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else. It’s the way I take them OFF that makes me better than you.”

Flat-Out Love is squeaky clean YA/NA. There’s no rumpy-pumpy and the most action we experience is some heavy petting and some brief tonsil tennis. But it is so emotive, that you kind of don’t really miss it. This book has so many other qualities.

Jessica Park is a fantastic writer. In fact, despite my reservations about how this book has left me feeling, I’ve just downloaded three of Ms. Park’s other titles, including the next two books that follow this one. I’m so excited to read Celeste’s story, as her character totally fascinated me.

“Hiding the truth will only cripple your emotional development.”

So, there you have it. Hopefully I haven’t given too much away, but have adequately shared my loves and frustrations with this book. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

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This entry was posted in Emotional Reads, Four Stars, Squeaky Clean, Virginal Heroine, Young Adult Reads. Bookmark the permalink.

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