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.
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.
Oh my, I ended up loving this book far more than I thought I would. I don’t know about you, but when I think of ‘self-published’ I cringe and I generally tend to avoid reading them as my experience has led to the expectation of them generally being a waste of time (as the writing tends to resemble my youngest child’s book reports). After hearing such lovely, positive, statements regarding ‘Flat Out Love’ I figured it was worth a try to see what all the fuss was about.
So I’ve typed out my typical ‘Storyline’ paragraph quite a few times and every time I write it out I make the book sound ridiculously corny. For those of you who have read it, I’m sure you understand. For those of you who have read it, let me just put it to you this way. This book is one of a kind with a wonderfully original storyline to boot. This was an extremely well-written novel; no choppy 8 year old sentences here.
The characters literally came into existence right before your eyes and were so full of life that I often had to take a short break to absorb and really try and understand what I had read. I’m not saying this was a complex novel that required a lot of thought; however, there is so much feeling behind every word that it can leave you more than a little moved.
As much as the idea of crushing on a penpal or someone you’ve never met before sounds ridiculously silly … well Jessica Park makes this possible. I think I even fell in love with Finn to be honest here. All of the relationships that the characters develop with each other (Julie and Matt, Julie and Finn, Julie and Celeste) made me practically envious.
There was so much about this book that I absolutely loved: the uniqueness of it all, the simplistic yet complex storyline, the so very real characters, the many laughs and smiles that I got, and the Christmas decoration scene? It made my heart melt.
But that’s what love does to you. Gut-wrenching, overpowering, crushing, fulfilling, complex, bring-you-to-your-knees love. Highly recommended for those looking for a sweet, heartwarming book.