Sep 17, 2012

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Book Description:

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.

Christina's BookReview

“You can look back now and see how you should have known, but you were focusing on the facts instead of the feeling.”

“I tell you that I like being this close to you and how you feel against me. But now even I'm hesitant. I'm afraid that when we hit the ground, this will be over. We'll land and this feeling between us will vanish. That you won't feel it any longer. I can't stand that thought.” 

Julie Seagle is a high school graduate, expecting to make a change from her Ohio life. When she has the opportunity to move away and start her college life in Boston everything seems perfect to her. Boston quickly turns out to be a nightmare.

With her great housing turning out to be a dud and nowhere to go Julie must turn to the only people that can help her out. The Watkins, are long time friends of Julies mother and happily open there home to her. Everything seems normal at first for Julie. What family doesn’t consist of a geeky but sweet son, a quirky thirteen year old daughter, a son traveling the world, and a mother and father that are always submerged in work? But something is amiss with the family.

Celeste, the daughter, is not your average thirteen year old. With her impeccable articulation, little girl fashion and closed off personality, Celeste is interesting. But the weirdest thing about her being the cardboard cutout of Finn, the oldest brother that she carries around. One, which surprisingly to Julie, the Watkins seem to accept.

As Julie starts to spend time with the Watkins she can’t help but fall in love with them. Especially with the brother that she spends her time online chatting with. Finn gets her and makes her happy. But will Finn ever come home? Will the Watkins ever be able to be normal again?

All of your questions are answered in this book and if you haven’t read this you need to PICK THIS UP! This by far has been one of the best books I’ve read this year. It is so GREAT that I read it twice in one weekend! It was a wonderful story of love, relinquishing what you hold most dear, and learning to live again.

I loved every character in this book and loved the role they played in making this story work. From Julie’s friends to both her families, her real one and the Watkins. Celeste truly was a great girl and seeing her opening up and becoming a normal thirteen year old girl was a great journey to see develop. Julie was the saving grace for the Watkins and you could really identify with her need to help throughout the whole book.

The messaging with Finn was so great and you instantly adore him. However, the son that I automatically loved was Matt. He was a geek, yes. He was levelheaded and boring at times, yes. But there was so much more to Matt and I instantly knew that. He was cute and adorable but he had a side to him that you detect and can’t wait to see. And OMG when you finally see it! His banter with Julie had me laughing each time, his adoration and protection of his sister was so heartwarming and his shirts just rocked! :D You’ll see what I mean when you pick this up. But let me just give you a little teaser:

“Julie marched over to Matt. She stood in front of him and crossed her arms. “Lift up your sweatshirt.”
Matt rolled his eyes. “God, you really know how to turn a guy on.”
Julie didn’t budge. “If I was trying to turn you on, I could do better than that. Now, lift up your sweatshirt.”
Matt looked up at her and tried to look serious. “Julie, I’m completely offended that you have so little faith in my honesty. I thought at this point in our friendship that you would at least—”
“Get up.” Julie leaned over and shut his laptop. “Get up!” she said again.
“You’re being ridiculous,” Matt said laughing, but he stood up. “I trust you implicitly, and it wouldn’t kill you to show me the same respect.”
“Show me!”
Matt sidestepped the chair and took a few steps backward. “You have quite the attitude today. Suspicious and mean.”
Julie took a step forward, causing Matt to continue backing away. “Lift up your shirt.”
“Look, I appreciate an aggressive woman, but this is really getting weird.”
Julie grabbed his sweatshirt by the waist cuff and lifted it up with one hand, as she pulled down his T-shirt with the other. Matt put his hands over hers, lightly protesting, but she refused to let go. “Aha!” She squinted at his shirt.
“OK, I don’t even know what this is, but it’s definitely geeky.” 

Halfway through the book I kind of figured out what was going on. Didn’t know the whole picture but had my suspicions. And when finally “shit hits the fan” you are, one second in disbelief and the next second your heart is hurting for the people involved in the situation. It’s so touching and such a beautiful story that it makes you sad to finish it. I wanted more of Julie and the Watkins. My only alternative was re-reading, which is exactly what I did.

Trust me! Pick up this book! It is AMAZING! I can’t say it enough! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great review and the recommendation Christina! I will be getting a copy of this soon!