Review & Virtual Blog Tour with Crazy Book Tours: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Book Details

    • Author:  Jessica Park
    • Genre:      Young Adult, Adult, Contemporary Romance
    • Print Length: 400 pages
    • ISBN:  1461085977
    • Publisher:  CreateSpace (July 27, 2011)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
    • Cost:  $3.99 (e-reader), $13.99 (print copy)
    • Author’s WebsiteFlat-Out Love
    • Book Provided for Review by: Crazy Book Tours

A Quick Reference:

  • Target Audience:  Mature Teenagers and Adults (of all ages)
  • Pace of Book:  Steady pace throughout
  • Writing:  Easy to read
  • Profanity:  None ( if any, it’s very minimal)
  • Sexual Content:  Heavy petting, nothing too risque’
  • Violence:  None
  • Christian Element:  None
  • My Rating:  An excellent cupcake with sprinkles AND a cherry on top, 5/5


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.

My Review:

In some ways, this was a modern tale of Mary Poppins, only this family is a bit more tragic.  While Julie is seeking independence from home and moves away to attend college, she moves in with a family friend.  Witnessing firsthand how far independence can push away people, how pain and time do stand still when not dealt with, and that people only see what they want, Julie faces some hard truths and realizes that nothing is ever at it seems.  

I FLAT-OUT LOVE this book, love the characters, and thought the book dealt with issues everyone can resonate with. I cried, I laughed, and overall enjoyed this book! 

I remember when my son had to read Flat Stanley, he had to make a cut-out of himself and his great-grandma took pictures of Flat N doing activities around town.  It was rather cute!  While I don’t have a picture of Flat N nearby (it’s in a photo album), I do have a picture of my son being a walking Flat-Abe Lincoln!

I could actually picture Celeste carrying her Flat Finn, when I looked at my son’s picture.  The family is rather accepting of Flat Finn’s place in the family, giving him a place setting at the table and having him lie around the house (literally!).  While everyone is obliging to Celeste and Flat Finn, Julie realizes that he is preventing Celeste from being independent and moving on from whatever it is that is keeping Celeste too attached to Flat Finn.  Helping Celeste with her anxiety and teaching Celeste that it is okay if Flat Finn isn’t always around, after all boys are not allowed to go shopping, Celeste learns that it’s okay to try new things and that not all change is bad.  Julie does this by slowly changing Flat Finn when she addes hinges to him to help him bend and sit better.  However, as the hinges go on, the family also becomes slowly unhinged.  In the end, the family learns to rely on each on other and help each other move past their grief and pain.

Without singing and flying, Mary Poppins (a.k.a. Julie) brings happiness to the family, has them confront the inevitable, and finds a little love along the way, too.   Julie deals with the absence of her father by making excuses, as does the Watkins’ family with Finn’s absence.  Traveling to different areas of the world, Finn stays connected with his family and Julie through Facebook.  The Facebook statuses of Matt (Finn’s brother), Julie, and Finn are quite funny and set the tone for each chapter.  

Jessica Park has written a beautiful storyline about love, loss, forgiveness, and letting go.  Some may think Julie saved this family, but I think they saved each other and gave Julie also a sense of family and belonging.  In the end, don’t we all want love despite our own quirkiness and nuisances?  I love that Jessica Park addresses heavy topics without the storyline being too heavy and bogged down, as well as letting Julie experience love without the hot and steamy sex that is found in YA books.  I appreciate that and appreciate that smart girls and smart boys can also find love amidst fractions and formulas, too! 

I highly recommend this book!!  I also want to give a special thanks to Lori for not giving up on me reading this book in a format my reader could handle and for making sure I got this book in my  hands!!!  She also helped proofread this book!! 

Quotes I loved:

“Normal people can become very annoying if put in annoying situations.” (p. 36)

” There wasn’t anything she could do to fix this- she could put hinges on Flat Finn, but there no hinges for grief and deception.”  (360)

*This book was provided by Crazy Book Tours as part of a virtual blog tour for Flat-Out Love.  No monetary or other forms of compensation were given.

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, GOODREADSTWITTER, 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 inf

Virtual Blog Tour with Crazy Book Tours Information:

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 –

4 thoughts on “Review & Virtual Blog Tour with Crazy Book Tours: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

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