Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park ~ Review

Synopsis from the Author
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.

The Watkins family appears to be the all American family, two successful loving but detached parents with two children at home and one living abroad. You quickly get the sense that all is not right in the Watkins household. Though you have a vague idea why Finn is traveling you hope beyond hope that you are wrong.
Park pulls you in making you fall in love with each character and their developing relationships. Celeste is the socially awkward junior high girl, who by all accounts is extremely bright however has attachment issues to Finn. Matt is the over achiever middle son attending MIT and truly the caregiver for Celeste. In comes Julie from Ohio with her own baggage literally and figuratively. The witty banter between Julie, Matt and Celeste is so nerdy and yet so refreshing. You will laugh, cry and sometimes just out right sigh at perfect storm of emotions going on in this book.

On a personal note we have made it a family tradition to crawl under our Christmas tree and make wishes for the upcoming year. If my review alone does not entice you to read the book maybe this little morsel will do the trick.
**VERY EXCITING NEWS** Jessica Park just released the Cover to Flat-Out Matt, a companion piece to Flat-Out Love which is due to be released the first week of April.

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