Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

[My interview with Jessica Park]
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: April 11, 2011
Format: PDF
Source: Author
Age Level: Young Adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Buy: Amazon

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. (Goodreads)

I absolutely LOVED this book. It is easily one of my favorite reads of 2011. Immediately after I finished, I wanted to re-read it all over again… but instead I went back and re-read my favorite parts. Afterwards, I stalked the book’s website which didn’t really help me move on from the book because Jessica Park has posted chapter tidbits there! They just made me want to re-read it even more! I’ve been struggling with writing this review for quite a while, mainly because I’m afraid I will not do this book justice.

The characterization is outstanding. The characters quickly drew me into the story, and once I was hooked, I couldn’t put this book down. Park has created some unforgettable characters. I just loved Julie, nerdy lovable Matt, quirky and endearing Celeste, and of course adventurous and gorgeous Finn. I’m a little sad this is a stand-alone novel because I MISS these characters.

Flat-Out Love takes place in Boston, and this story made me fall in love with the city all over again! I really enjoyed seeing Boston through Julie’s eyes as she traveled around the city looking for an apartment. Also, I have to say this book left me with a serious craving for Dunkin’ Donuts (sadly there isn’t one near me). I also really liked how Park incorporated Facebook statuses and messaging into Flat-Out Love, they made the story current, relatable, and entertaining!

I know this will sound cheesy, but Flat-Out Love is the first book in a long, long time that has touched me this deeply. I could relate to so many aspects of this book. I felt that Park did an excellent job of delicately capturing the aspects of dysfunctional families while tackling some difficult issues. This is a story about love and loss, family and tragedy.

Flat-Out love is a memorable and fantastically romantic story that I know I’ll be reading again and again. I highly recommend this book!

Stay tuned for my author interview with Jessica Park and giveaway of Flat-Out Love! Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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