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.
My thoughts: After reading Easy by Tammara Webber I developed a new addiction. I’ll call it masterpiece addiction because that’s exactly what it is. Try reading a masterpiece and then see if you can get into a normal book like you did before. No way! You’re changed forever.
Flat-Out-Love is one of those masterpieces that stay on your mind forever, a book that changes your way of thinking, makes you question your own perception of the world you live in, and the people around you.
I won’t tell you anything more about the plot, because the Goodreads description says it all, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will try to describe the characters a bit.
Julie comes from a loving, modest family and can’t understand the coldness of the Watkins home, even if they are rich and can have everything they want. Also, she’s very intrigued by Celeste, the youngest child, who carries everywhere she goes a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother, Finn. As she gets to know everyone, she realizes that Finn is everywhere, weather if it’s in his flat form or the normal one.
“Julie swallowed. "Flat Finn is on Facebook?" She'd love to see those status updates. 'Got strapped to the roof of the car today for a trip to Starbucks. Would have loved to taste caramel mocha, but can't move arms and so was forced to stare longingly at delicious hot beverage. Will the taunting never end?”
She feels lonely and somehow disoriented, that’s why she finds the best refuge in the self confident, perfect Finn. It’s not like she could see his flaws, even if he had some. But while she dreams about a wonderful guy who travels around the world, she practically stops living in the present and she misses some important details of the everyday life. Or maybe she just molds reality to fit in her dream.
“You can look back now and see how you should have known, but you were focusing on the facts instead of the feeling.”
Finn is the perfect son for his parents, the role-model for his little sister, and everything Matt’s not, everything Matt could be if he wasn’t so focused on math, his little sister and on trying to keep the appearance of a normal family. Everyone appreciates him for what he is, for his joy of living, his courage of being different, for giving them hope and the possibility of another kind of life.
“I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else. It's the way I take them OFF that makes me better than you.”
Incredibly funny and totally heart-melting at the same time, full of mystery and young adult romance, Flat-Out-Love is the journey that will teach you how to live and how to cherish every little thing you have. Jessica Park has done an incredible job, creating a truly unique story and characters that will find their way straight to your heart.
“It was always you. I thought it was someone else, but it was you. You were the person that I felt.”