Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park
Series: Flat-Out Love #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Overall Rating: 4 stars
Steam Rating: 2 stars
Witty, Charming, and Emotional
As you can see I labeled this book YA because that is what it is marketed as; however I would like to point out that the main characters are in college. It is very mild in the steam department, although it does have a charming romance at its core.
Julie Seagle is about to start her freshman year of college. Upon arrival to Boston her housing plans fall through and she is forced to stay with her mom’s roommate from college and her family. Matt Watkins is one of the three Watkins children, and the first Julie meets upon arrival at her temporary home. He is a nerd. It is obvious. He is a double major (Physics & Math) at MIT with no social life to speak of. Julie and him strike up a friendship almost immediately, which includes frequents spats with witty banter.
Then there is Celeste. She is an angelic looking thirteen year old with the emotional development of a six year old, and the intellectual development of a college student. She is unhealthily attached to a cardboard cutout of her oldest brother Finn. She misses him dearly, but the only contact she is able to have with Finn is via Facebook because he is currently traveling the world.
Okay this is where it gets weird. No one will tell Julie why Celeste is so attached to this “Flat Finn,” even though she repeatedly asks. The whole family acts so strange and dysfunctional. With the parents barely ever home, and Finn world traveling, Matt is left to take care of Celeste almost single handedly—Until Julie steps in and begins to try to help Celeste overcome some of her idiosyncrasies.
Early on Julie becomes Facebook friends with Matt and Finn. It quickly becomes apparent that Julie and Finn are falling for each other romantically (via the internet). This romance deepens throughout the pages into love. But will it last when she meets Finn in person?
I really enjoyed this book. The witty banter was fun (even though some of it was over my head), and the characters were likable. The storyline was good, and it flowed nicely. My favorite part was the shocking surprise at the end that I did not see coming until briefly before the revelation. I did not think it was an awful revelation (as some other reviewers have); I just thought it was kind of weird—But in somewhat of a good way. A lot more made sense in the end.
I did not give this book 5 stars for a couple reasons. One, I didn't feel overly attached to the characters. Of course I wanted everything to work out for them, but I wasn't on the edge of my seat. And second, it ended just when I thought my interest in the characters was spiking. I would have liked a little more of an ending. However Flat-Out Matt, a novella, was just released a few days ago and I believe it is an extension to the end of this novel (among other things left unsaid because it would spoil this one for you).
Would I recommend this book? Yes, for lovers of YA contemporary romance with a twist.
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