Saturday, June 23, 2012

REVIEW: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park
Flat-Out Love
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.

I just finished reading "Flat-Out Love", and I had to immediately sit down and do my review while my emotions are still fresh.  It's not every day that you come across a novel that so eloquently weaves a story of sadness, loss, love and even betrayal, all while making you crack up laughing.  It's a love story and so much more.  It takes "dysfunctional family" to a whole new level.  It's about falling in love and healing old wounds and learning to live in the real world after horrible devastation.  Reading this book was like riding a roller coaster.  You're riding up the tracks and you know there is a stomach clenching plummet up ahead and while you're scared to death your adrenaline is pumping and the drop to the bottom is both terrifying and exhilarating.  "Flat-Out Love" is unbelievably real and connects with you on so many emotional levels.  Jessica Park has created a world of multi-faceted characters that you can't help but love.  Julie is snarky and feisty and I want her as my best friend!  She doesn't mind telling anyone exactly what she thinks.  Celeste is quirky and odd yet extremely intelligent and lovable.  And I love Matt's t-shirts!  I loved absolutely everything about "Flat-Out Love"!

5 Stars * * * * *  

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