Before 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 below.
Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:
When beautiful, cool, insightful Julie moves in with Matt’s family, why (oh why!) does he pretend to be his absent brother Finn for her alleged benefit?
It seems harmless enough until her short-term stay becomes permanent. And until it snowballs into heart-squeezing insanity. And until he falls in love with Julie, and Julie falls in love with Finn.
But … Matt is the right one for her. If only he can make Julie see it. Without telling her the truth, without shattering them all. Particularly his fragile sister, Celeste, who may need Julie the most.
You saw Matt through Julie’s eyes in FLAT-OUT LOVE. Now go deeper into Matt’s world in this FLAT-OUT MATT novella. Live his side of the story, break when his heart breaks, and fall for the unlikely hero all over again.
Take an emotional skydive for two prequel chapters and seven FLAT-OUT LOVE chapters retold from his perspective, and then land with a brand-new steamy finale chapter from Julie.
I believe that everything happens for a reason and discovering this novella just proves the statement to be true. Just after posting the review of Flat-Out Love, I started following Jessica Park on Twitter and checking out her updates on Facebook. What sparked my curiosity were her regular mentions of Matt and the people’s comments about him. I did a little more digging and later on found out that Jessica Park will be writing a novella out of Flat-Out Love. I got so excited about her new work and just like any fan, I anticipated its release date which was just a few more weeks away from when I finished reading the book. A part of me was grateful that the gap in between wasn’t so distant, so that the story of Flat-Out Love will still be fresh from my memory and the emotions I felt throughout the book will still be there. It was like I was in the right place and at the right time about this discovery.
At first I thought that Flat-Out Matt will be a sequel to Flat-Out Love (FOL), but when I asked Jessica Park on Twitter if what I thought was true, she was kind enough to reply and clarify that the book will just be a companion novel which includes Matt’s POV in some FOL chapters and two prequel chapters. Since I enjoyed reading FOL, I didn’t give a second thought in ordering the paperback edition of Flat-Out Matt from The Book Depository once it was released.
I have to admit, I was curious about Matt’s thoughts throughout FOL. In FOL, it is evident that Matt is portrayed as a geeky guy, in contrary to “Finn’s” characterization as someone who is outgoing and adventurous. In the end, the conclusion of FOL offers surprising revelations about Matt and who he really is. But then again, it cannot be helped that we readers still want something more from Matt.
At a glance, the creation of Finn is God gives out an impression of making Finn’s memory live on after his death. Celeste’s inability to move on forced Matt to give in to her demands, but is it just merely a projection of Finn’s characterization just so Matt and especially Celeste will not forget him?
The prequel chapters are impressive and are written wonderfully. Through those chapters, not only does Jessica Park give us a glimpse of the real Finn, but she is also able to show the other side of Matt – the real Matt before the incident happens. As the story goes further, readers begin to understand Matt’s change in personality, shutting everything and separating him from those that may remind him of Finn, hence his portrayal as a geek and not his wild, adventurous side.
It is quite fun to read Matt’s POV as it vividly demonstrates his strong attraction towards Julie. Moreover, Jessica Park definitely succeeds in perfectly describing his deepest thoughts and feelings. It’ll surely make one empathize with him. His selfless, thoughtful, and caring personalities also make him become a more mature and responsible person. These alone make me adore Matt more.
Overall, Flat-Out Matt is one heck of a read. Those who enjoy Flat-Out Love will certainly love this book, too. Going into Matt’s mind will give readers different kinds of emotions as with FOL. And these emotions will all be worth it. And the steamy final chapter! Jessica Park did an amazing job writing it in detail. As readers fall in love with Matt in FOL, they will further fall in love with Matt in this book. I have to say, I would undeniably want to have my own Matt. Hihi! As what Julie said, flaws-and-all and everything kind of guy can still be better than the dumb Prince Charming, nauseatingly-perfect-everything guy.