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.
Flat-Out Love, what a weird name right? You have to read the book to understand. And when you do read it, it'll all make sense. I don't know where Ms. Park gets her ideas from. But I hope they never stop coming to her. This is the second book I've read from Jessica Park. From what I've seen in her books, they were both easy to read and you can easily relate to her characters in some way. This story was so well paced and well put together. I was never bored once even when nothing big was happening, I still was flipping through the pages.
Julie finds herself stranded after trusting a Craigslist ad for an apartment. Right away my heart went out to her. How scary that would be to get stranded in a new city. But no worries her mom's college friend comes to the rescue. This is where the story gets interesting. Julie is now living with a family who has more secrets than a mystery thriller. As she adapts to this new family, her heart has found a new love. And while she's going through these emotions, she wants to help the youngest family member. Like Julie, I'm a fix it girl. So I quickly understood her when she wanted to help Celeste become a bit more independent.
My favorite parts of this book is the Facebook statuses and emails back and forth. I really enjoyed reading their statuses. They were really funny. I loved to read the interaction she has with Finn. The sexy older brother who is off exploring the world. Then you have Matt, a nerd, (luckily, not a font nerd...gotta read the book to understand this joke) who is just the most responsible young adult I have ever met in any YA book. Matt is my favorite character in this book, because I wanted to love him and hug him the minute he came on the page.
I absolutely LOVED Flat-Out Love. Ms. Park invested well into her characters. Each character was written perfectly. The characters grew and the story was a little richer because of that. The story line was unique. Flat-Out Love is a 5 stars read and a definite Good Choice for Reading!