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Monday, April 30, 2012

REVIEW: Flat-Out Love by Jessice Park

5 + Stars!

WOW. I FLAT-OUT LOVE this book by self-published author Jessica Park!!!

I’ve been struggling with my reading lately and I wanted a story that would really captivate me and this is just what I asked for. Thank you to my dear Goodreads friend, Karla, for recommending this to me!

I haven’t written any reviews in a few months but I seriously just HAD TO write one to share my LOVE for this book! Please, give this book a go!

This quote sums up how this book made me feel, how it inspired me through my journey with it, and even after I reluctantly closed its pages...

The story begins with this quote:
“It's not what you know - or when you see - that matters. It's about the journey.”
This quote had me thinking from the get-go.

In Flat-Out Love, Jessica Park takes readers on an amazing journey with some incredibly crafted, quirky and lovable characters. This story is truly special because of the engaging, entertaining, sweet, heartbreaking and emotional journey it took me on. I was laughing, smiling, sighing, my heart aching, crying, and feeling positively giddy when I finished this. I hope it touches other readers as much as it did me. This was such a beautiful and wonderful story, with characters who will remain in my heart for a long, long time! Thank you, Jessica Park!

I loved it so much I'm going to buy the paperback.

Whether you’re a reader, like me, who feels you know what’s going on from the first few chapters yet keep hoping it’s not true, or a reader who is taken by surprise, at the end, one thing is for sure, even if you think you know what’s going on, I believe you will be captivated by this story, its characters, and staying up late to finish it.

Yes, there’s a mystery in this story, but this isn’t a Mystery book, and even if you figure out the secret early on, I don’t think it will detract from your enjoyment of the story. In fact, for me, having strong beliefs about what was going on with this dysfunctional family - even though I wasn't 100% sure - added a layer and subtext to my reading, that had me feeling things I might not have felt, about certain communications, were it not for my beliefs surrounding the big secret of the Watkins family. If that makes sense…

Flat-Out Love is an intelligent, unique, humorous, witty, quirky, warm, and heartbreaking story of love, family, and coping mechanisms, but most of all, it is about a journey – several characters’ journeys – towards healing and living.

This is not a YA Romance per se, but there was certainly a beautiful romance in it. It is a slow-building romance, so please bear with it, because it had me in tears and smiling, at the end.

Flat-Out Love is the story of Julie Seagle who moves from Ohio to Boston to attend college. I loved that this was a YA book set in the first year of college rather than the mostly high school fare out there. When Julie’s housing plans fall through, she is kindly welcomed into the Watkins home, the home of Julie’s mother’s college friend. But Julie discovers there is something “off” about this family, where their thirteen year old daughter, Celeste, has “Flat Finn”, a cardboard cut-out with her, for everything other than school, of her adventurous eldest brother, Finn, who is off travelling the world on various volunteer projects, and enjoys skydiving and bungee jumping.

I adored Julie and her clever wit, her ability to be so understanding of Celeste’s eccentricities, and her courage and strength to want to help the Watkins family. I also adored sweet, intelligent and nerdy Maths and Physics major, Matt, and how protective and so “there” he was for his family. I enjoyed Julie’s, Matt’s, and Finn’s Facebook status updates, Julie and Finn’s Facebook messages and chats, and Julie and Matt’s banter.And Celeste was just so precious.

It was humour like in this scene at the beginning, where Matt is picking Julie up, for the first time, which had me laughing out loud:
' "Mom. I have to go. I think this Matt character is here.
"Are you sure it's him?"
Julie peered into the car as the window lowered. “I see a maniacal-looking guy with brightly-colored candy in one hand, and he’s waving a sickle with the other. Oh! He’s beckoning me to the car. This must be my ride.”’
And to share something of a scene that made me sigh and gave me tingles:
‘His hand was still on her back, his fingertips starting to trace the curve of her shoulder blade, moving up to brush the nape of her neck, then traveling up and down her arm. She took his free hand in hers, intertwining their fingers, and squeezed.
He squeezed back.’

‘His mouth was soft and unhurried. Teasing, even. His tongue brushing hers and making her tremble. She kissed back, tasting him, breathing him in. Julie was dizzy, and shaky, and inundated with his heat. He made her temporarily lost, not able to see beyond the way this kiss felt.’

My images of the characters… 

Julie Seagle (Carly Rae Jepsen)

 Matthew Watkins (Benjamin Stone)

Finn Watkins (Alex Pettyfer)

Celeste Watkins (Chloe Grace Moretz)


  1. Wonderful review, Jayne! You already had me wanting to read this book, but now, with that quote added, I'm even more excited about it!

  2. Thank you, Nissie! This is such a wonderful book and that quote really suits it.

  3. Reading this book now....almost done and I don't want it to end! One of the best I've read in a while. Hope to see much more from this author.

  4. I hope to see much more from this author, too! I was really captivated by this story. Loved the witty humour in it and just loved the journey I went on with Julie and co.

  5. I did the same thing as you. I read it on my Kindle and then HAD to buy the paperback of Flat-Out Love AND Flat-Out Matt. I have read and re-read my favorite parts in both. Flat-Out Love is one of my favorite books, ever, and I love your casting for Matt and Finn. Great choices!