Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Love has been on my radar for quite some time now. The premise of the book looks promising and it’s categorized under New Adult genre, so it’s nice to read something new once in a while. I’ve been looking for a copy of this from local bookstores, but I couldn’t seem to find one; thus, last Christmas, I’ve decided to include this on my wish list, which happened to come true, thanks to my generous uncle.

Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

Flat-Out Love coverHe was tall, at least six feet, with dirty blond hair that hung over his eyes. His T-shirt read Nietzsche Is My Homeboy.

So, that was Matt.  Who Julie Seagle likes. A lot.  But there is also Finn.  Who she flat out loves.

Complicated? Awkward?  Completely.

But really, how was this freshly-minted Boston transplant and newbie college freshman supposed to know that she would end up living with the family of an old friend of her mother’s? This was all supposed to be temporary.  Julie wasn’t supposed to be important to the Watkins family, or to fall in love with one of the brothers.  Especially the one she’s never quite met. But what does that really matter?  Finn gets her, like no one ever has before. They have connection.

But here’s the thing about love, in all its twisty, bumpy permutations—it always throws you a few curves.  And no one ever escapes unscathed.

At a glance, the story seems like the usual ordinary plot we see from other books, but in actuality, it offers the readers something deeper and more complicated than expected. The Facebook status updates, instant messages, and emails are just the tip of an iceberg, covering what the Watkins family tries to hide within the four corners of their home. And it’s up to Julie to figure it out.

You see, Julie does not intend to be a bother to the Watkins family. She’s been grateful to them since they are kind enough to let her stay at their place temporarily while she looks for an off-campus housing. Because of this, Julie slowly learns about the family and their peculiar, unusual personalities and behaviors.

Celeste catches her attention the most – a thirteen-year-old girl who doesn’t act her age and always brings Flat Finn with her. Then there’s also Matt, a geeky guy constantly wearing geeky T-shirts; Erin and Roger, their parents who don’t seem to be around; and Finn, who’s always traveling around the world. Honestly speaking, even I find it weird and like Julie, I’m also very eager to find out what they’re trying to hide. Evidently, the way the Watkins family live their lives have become so isolated, shutting everyone out as they are afraid that someone might trigger something they couldn’t control in the future.

As I am reading through the book, I notice that Jessica Park narrates her story uniquely in terms of her choice of words and characters. Flat-Out Love deals with a much more complicated conflict which leads to the struggle of the whole family. Jessica Park surely portrays the situation perfectly, elaborating on how each member reacts to the problem and how they pretend to feel okay. Someone from the outside couldn’t have guessed the reason behind all these pretentions. One might think that the problem involves a person, when truthfully, it’s more than that. The book will definitely keep you guessing until the end, especially with the existence of Flat Finn.

I love the fact that Jessica Park makes use of social networking as one of the keys to develop her story. Julie’s exchange messages with Finn give the readers the opportunity to know more about Finn despite his non-physical present state in the house. One can also feel those two’s connection with each other. But then again, it’s more than just the messages. Who would’ve thought that Julie’s life spent in the Watkins house would be intertwined with the whole family and therefore, greatly affecting each of their lives unexpectedly. All characters prove to be dynamic and mature as they significantly contribute to the depth of the story.

Flat-Out Love is more than just a love story. I’m amazed that Jessica Park is also able to craft a story that addresses family issues without forcing it into the characters and making it shallow enough to read. The plot just flows naturally and is still able to convey a strong emotional effect to the readers. However, I find the dialogues and conversations a bit unrealistic, with all those complex words used and how they are structured, and at times, how the characters respond to certain circumstances. Those occurrences just strike me as somewhat weird and out of ordinary. Aside from that, the book had me glued to the seat and its suspense kept me interested up until the end.

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About Rhin

Expression through words. Finding contentment in the simple things in life. Embracing opportunities. Daring to live her dream. View all posts by Rhin

8 responses to “Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

  • Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    Wonderful review, Rhin! I am glad you enjoyed this book overall. Now I am so curious to find out what the Watkins family is hiding! I’ve read mentions of this book, but I was never sure if it was a “me” book. Even after reading your very positive review, I am not sure if I’d truly like it. I haven’t read any of these recent “New Adult” books, but I suppose I’d like to try! Those characters are closer to my age, so it makes sense. I just need to find one that really piques my interest.

    • Rhin

      Thanks, Amanda! I get your point. That happens to me all the time, too. I’ve seen books people have been raving about, but the hype still doesn’t convince me to buy a copy. It usually takes time for me to decide on reading a book. And as you mentioned, my decision largely depends if a certain book is a “me” book.

      New Adult seems to be a new genre emerging nowadays. Aside from this, I think I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak is the only other book I read under New Adult. I hope you get a chance to read Flat-Out Love and enjoy it as much as I did ^_^

  • Quinn

    I picked this one up a few months ago when the ebook was on sale for Kindle. I still haven’t read it, but it’s definitely something I hope to get to soon.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for the review 🙂

  • Tin (Rabbitin)

    Flat-Out Love was a nice read. I wasn’t over the moon about it but like you said, it does grab your interest till the very end. And I agree, there is more to it than the romance. If anything else, it’s a pretty good dysfunctional family story.

    And I hear Jessica Park is going to release Flat-Out Matt soon. They say it tells the story from Matt’s POV this time. 😀

    • Rhin

      I agree, this is a nice read.

      Oh yes! I’m pretty much excited about Flat-Out Matt. When reading Flat-Out Love, I was actually a bit curious on the things going around Matt’s head. I wonder what will be in store for us.

  • Flat-Out Matt by Jessica Park | Perfect Nostalgia

    […] anything else, let me warn you that this may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t read Flat-Out Love yet, do not proceed reading the premise of the story as well as the review […]

  • Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park | Perfect Nostalgia

    […] have genuinely enjoyed Flat-Out Love as well as its companion novel, Flat-Out Matt. Ever since then, Jessica Park has been on my auto-buy […]

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