Friday, June 29, 2012

Flat Out Love 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.

Initial Thoughts:
  • This book was rated very highly on Goodreads and Amazon, and it appears on many peoples' "must read" lists. I thought the premise sounded intersting and the cover was cute, so I gave it a go.
The Pros:
  • I loved the character of Celeste. She is beyond quirky, into the realm of needing professional help, but she was adorable. The way Julie came into her life and put Celeste under her wing was heartwarming.
  • Like in my review of Beautiful Disaster, I liked how the characters were actually participating in college. Studying occurs often in this book, like it occurs often in real life.
  • I thought the beginning of the book was hilarious. I'm sure it wasn't hilarious to Julie at the time, but it's one of those moments that you'll look back on one day and laugh.
The Cons:
  • I know this book was trying to be on trend with including Facebook status updates, but hardly any of them made any sense. They surely didn't add anything to the book.
  • When Julie goes home to see her family for Thanksgiving, it was super awkward. Like cringe inducing. 
  • I knew from the beginning what the "big secret" was. It really didn't take a lot to figure it out.
  • I know we were supposed to be rooting for Finn and Julie, but I liked the real life boyfriend much better. It felt like she didn't even give him a chance.
  • This whole family needs psychiatric care.
The Wrap Up: 3/5
  • I wasn't a big fan of this one. While it did have a story line that was different to those I have been reading, I just couldn't connect. I kept putting the book down and forgetting about it, which is very unlike me. It was cute, but it lacked the ability to keep me guessing and turning pages.
Favorite Quote:
  • "Then she did what any girl would do: she Googled him."
Want to give Flat Out Love a chance? Click here.

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