Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blog Tour & Review: Flat Out Love by Jessica Park

Title: Flat Out Love
Author: Jessica Park
Publisher: Createspace (July 28, 2011)
Source: Received from Crazy Book Tours

Buy here: Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble
Summary from Goodreads:
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. 

Review:

I flat-out LOVED this book. It has been a long time since I've finished a book in one day (having a baby will do that to your reading life), but I could not put it down once I started it. It grabbed me from the first page and it was a great story from beginning to end.

The stars were very much aligned for me to like this book because:
  1. I love Boston and it is the one city on the East Coast that I would consider living in. Park does a great job of making the city come alive to you in this story by describing all the little nooks and crannies - and even the people.
  2. I am always tethered to social media, much to the dislike of my hubby. In college, it was posting AIM away messages and now I'm on facebook/twitter at least once or twice a day. I loved the little facebook updates and emails throughout the story. It made it a very modern story and I really enjoyed that part of the story. It really added another element to the book in a good way.
  3. It's got a little love-triangle in it and who doesn't like that?
The main character, Julie, is starting college and ends up moving into her mom's old college roommate's home because her housing situation doesn't pan out.  She becomes a part of the family and with it comes challenges, but also love and support. Even though the idea of the youngest daughter in the family, Celeste, carrying around a cardboard cut-out of her older brother seems very odd and peculiar initially, Park writes the story in a way that you become accepting of it very quickly and the mystery behind the cut-out is what drives the rest of the story. You, just like Julie, want to know what's the deal behind the cardboard cut-out.

The story is very well-written and Park does a superb job of moving the story along. You don't ever feel like she lingers too long in one moment and it moves in a pace that keeps you turning the page to find out what happens next. The dialogue is extremely witty and the banter between Julie and Matt, Finn and Celeste are so clever and intelligent. I especially loved reading the emails and chat messages. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to shout from the rooftops about how great this book is once you're done. Once I finished, I wanted to re-read it again. Not many books can do that.

Overall: 

Park is a masterful storyteller and develops her characters in ways that you can't help but be invested in them, flaws and all. They feel very real to you and I felt like I was right there in the mix of the it all. (I love when books do that!) You root for Julie to figure out the mystery. You fall in love when she falls in love and feels her pain as she digs deeper into the family secrets. All the twists are turns were completely unexpected for me. I did not expect the ending at all! I highly recommend this book to young women like myself. I think women who are into social media will especially find this book enjoyable to read. This was definitely one of my favorite books of 2011.

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Author & Book Information:

Jessica Park is the author of FLAT-OUT LOVE, the young adult novel RELATIVELY FAMOUS, five Gourmet Girl mysteries (written as Jessica Conant-Park) and the e-shorts FACEBOOKING RICK SPRINGFIELD and WHAT THE KID SAYS (Parts 1 & 2). She grew up in the Boston area and then went to Macalester College in frigid St. Paul, Minnesota. During her freshman year, there was a blizzard on Halloween, and she decided that she was not cut out for such torture. So she moved back to the east coast where, she'd forgotten, it still snows. Oops. She now lives in New Hampshire with her husband, son, bananas dog named Fritzy, and two selfish cats. When not writing, she is probably on Facebook , pining over 80s rock stars, or engaging in "Glee" activities. Or some combination of the three. Probably with a coffee in hand.


Jessica loves to hear from readers and does her best to get back to everyone who writes her! You can e-mail her HERE. Tell her about your ex-boyfriend who was a font nerd. Or send pictures of awesome Flat People on adventures. (You get bonus points for this. Possibly some sort of award, too.) Stories of online romance. Apartment rental disasters. Skydiving experiences... Whatever you want.


And like any normal person, she has an online addiction, so you can find her on FACEBOOK, GOODREADS, TWITTER, and blogging at What the Kid Says about her kooky conversations with her son. Her young adult book, RELATIVELY FAMOUS, has its own website (greedy book!), so stop by for more info!

Please check out other stops on this blog tour: 

10/3/2011 - Practical Frugality
10/4/2011 - Colloquium
10/5/2011 - Reader Girls        
10/6/2011 - Kritter's Ramblings
10/7/2011 - Reviews by Molly                         
10/8/2011 - Laurie Here Reading and Writing Reviews   
10/9/2011 - WV Stitcher                      
10/10/2011 - A Bookish Affair                   
10/11/2011 - the bookish mama                          
10/12/2011 - Books in the Burbs                         
10/13/2011 - The Many Thoughts of a Reader                   
10/14/2011 - Proud Book Nerd               
10/15/2011 - Hippes Beauty and Books OH MY
10/16/2011 - StephTheBookworm                       
10/17/2011 - A Cozy Reader's Corner                
10/18/2011 - Authors Book Corner                
10/19/2011 - Amusing Reviews  

Special thanks to Crazy Book Tours for including me on this blog tour!

4 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you for this great review! And for hosting a spot on the Flat-Out Love tour. *smooch*

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, your enthusiasm for this book is contagious :)

    I don't think I ever finished a book in one day when my daughter was little -- this must be a real page turner!

    Wonderful review Jasmine.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @TheBookGirl,

    I forgot to mention that my in-laws were in town so I had some time to read. It would be nearly impossible otherwise. :)

    Thanks for dropping by!

    ReplyDelete

  4. I absolutely LOVED Flat-Out Love. Ms. Park invested well into her characters. Each character was written perfectly. The characters grew and the story was a little richer because of that. The story line was unique. Flat-Out Love is a 5 stars read and a definite Good Choice for Reading!

    Mariz
    website

    ReplyDelete

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