Posted on December 4, 2016
Review: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park. I wasn’t prepared for that ending.
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.
I was on hiatus for several months, and I’ve read a lot of backlist books during it. One of them was Flat-Out Love. This book was on my tbr-list for so long that I totally forgot about it.
The strongest aspect of this story is humor. It is Jessica Park’s own brand of humor. I loved it. I enjoyed witty banter, quirky dialogues. I admit that sometimes it was unrealistic and over the top, but I found it charming.
The weakest aspect of this book in my opinion is the romance. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the characters. I can imagine them as good friends, not as a couple. Since I wasn’t invested in romance I wasn’t moved by that particular part of the book where they had to sort things out.
I adored Celeste. She was such a unique character.
This book was released in 2011, but somehow I managed to avoid spoilers. So I was busy trying to figure out the mystery behind Flat Finn. Given the overall light mood of the book I expected something fluffy and funny. A lot of reviewers mentioned that the book was predictable, and they figured the twist early in the book, but nothing prepared me for the very sad truth.
Also I felt like Julie’s relationships with her parents weren’t actually fully addressed. She acknowledged some hard truths about her father, but mostly their relationship was left unresolved. I also wished that her mother was more present in the story. Julie was so immersed in Watsons’ problems, but put a blind eye on her own.
I had a good time reading this book, but I don’t get all these 5 Stars ratings at all.