Review: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park


Title: Flat-Out Love
Author: Jessica Park
Format: Kindle Edition
Publication: April 11, 2011
Source: Own Copy, Bought from 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.
It's not what you know--or when you see--that matters. It's about a journey.

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.

My Review

Why this book?
I asked bookish and author friends for book recommendations for the Love Month and of one of my favorite authors, Mina V. Esguerra, suggested this book. I remember I purchased it off Amazon during the #BuqoSteamyReads period because she also included Flat-Out Love in the list of books we can read to get us started. I read it amidst the other 6 books I'm currently reading because books like this is my brand. I'm originally a Chick Lit Monster before Philippine Lit lured me into her cave. And also because, I need something light and does not involved analysis or blood.

The Plot
Told in third person narrative, this is a story of the fun and witty Julie Seagle and her one year saga with the Watkins Family. Julie just got off from high school and can't wait to be a college girl, but life isn't that easy especially in College (cranky teachers, annoying classmates, braggart officers - no, you won't see them here haha), so when she learns that she got scammed and have no where to go in Boston, she turns to Erin, her mother's College buddy for help, Erin lets her stay in their house in Cambridge and you will find out about the rest when you read this book.

Who were the main characters?
There's the headstrong Julie, the hot guy Finn, his sister, the adorable-yet-crazy girl, Celeste, the other brother also known as the swoon-worthy Matt and the almost too typical Watkins couple.

Favorite character?
Seth would be my favorite character. He is not a main character as you can see above but you know, who wouldn't love a cute and crazy-over-you barista?

What did you like most about the book?
Definitely the witty banter! It's as if the characters in this book studied the language of sarcasm and word play all their life. Their Facebook statuses (yes, this book is so advanced it has Social Media!) inspired me to think before I click, to not just blurt out anything that came to mind right away when I can mull things over so I can pretend I am very smart. Ha! Not that I'm saying that Julie isn't smart or pretending to be one, she sure is very brilliant, I on the other hand is the pretender. Get it? Haha. Okay, let's cut the pretenses.

What did you like least?
I hate that this book proved to me that I'm completely dysfunctional that I already know all the twists and turns (spoiler much?) without it unravelling before me.

What did you think of the writing style?
Oh, I'll definitely read more of Jessica Park!

If you could change something, what would it be?
The cardboard characters and I'm not pertaining to the cut-out. I just feel they all talk alike and that lead me to all the spoilers! But if I changed that, we won't have a story, would we?

What did you think of the ending?
I like it so much. Not too over the top and definitely something believable.

Some thoughts
Flat-Out Love is more than your typical crazy in the head romance. It speaks of insecurities, responsibilities and family ties. It not only tells you how to fall in love but of how some homes deal with everyday life as well. It tells us, life isn't perfect but guess what, someone will come along and will make it less painful, less stressful, and more 'livable' because yes, you are finally enjoying it.

Favorite Quotes

“Then she did what any girl would do: she Googled him.” 

“I 'Facebook like' you, but I'm not IN 'Facebook like' with you.” 

“He just wasn’t the guy, you know? I want the guy. The everything guy. Not the dumb Prince Charming, nauseatingly-perfect everything guy. That’s pathetic. I want the flaws-and-all everything guy.” 

“It's a calm like you've never known before, and you don't want it to end.” 

“You were focusing on the facts instead of the feeling.” 

“Christ, now was not the time to turn into a thesaurus.”

“Maybe you're missing something obvious. Don't overanalyze.”

“I'd just have to meet the right guy. Someone who isn't ordinary. Someone who get someone I fit perfectly with. I want heat, chemistry, an undeniable connection. You know what I mean? I want it all. I'm done with ordinary and mediocre.” 

“Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise.” 

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