Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

I saw a barrage of mentions for Flat-Out Love on Twitter, advertising the ebook for some ridiculously low price. I guess the publicity worked, because it got on my radar. It turns out I have a sub-par e-reader, because I couldn’t get it on mine. I think this was the book-God’s way of telling me it was going to be worth the purchase in paperback. Unfortunately, when I added the book to my cart, I noticed I had 3 orders awaiting shipment. This was already on top of the 10 (!) books I just purchased over the weekend. I paused. There was no way my husband could see yet another deliver from either Amazon or Chapters. So I had it delivered to the store!

Lets start with the basics.

I love the cover. I stared at it. I ran my fingers over it. I sighed. It was beautiful - it is beautiful. This gave me great hope for the rest of the book. I only read the first line of the synopsis. I didn’t read any reviews either. I wanted to enjoy this author without any prejudice.

The Watkins family is pretty dysfunctional. Some might think that Celeste is in need of a serious intervention. Even with this family’s significant issues, there is so much humour in this book. I had a couple of embarrassing moments on public transit when I burst out laughing and couldn’t contain it. I got some looks, and just pointed to the books while mouthing “buy this book”.

I love Matt. I’m looking to get a t-shirt that says this, though with the obvious caveat that he’s a character from a book (if you know where I can get one, please let me know)!. Matt’s geekiness is sexy, but you soon realize that there is so much more to him than his IQ. I think if his character were the tough-as-nails, will-beat-anyone-up type, I wouldn’t find him appealing. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I live for Excel spreadsheets.
When I first ‘met’ Finn, I was so torn. It really sucks when there are 2 amazing characters that you are rooting for, all the while having internal conflict with yourself because you feel like you are betraying one of them. I really wanted to be Julie in those moments of candid conversation and silly banter. And the elevator ride!

I think Julie had a lot on her shoulders throughout the story, but in the end, I felt that she had this ‘calm’ about her. I think it takes a lot to write characters that have imperfections, but even more to make them relate-able and believable.I don’t think anything she did in this book was because it as expected of her by the other characters. She had the sincere heart to do what she thought was best, though sometimes having her attempts at ‘fixing’ things fail epically.

I knew something was happening, but I could never be sure. The author had me questioning everything, but ultimately, the delivery was superb. The story became heartbreaking, and my moments of laughter were substituted with sobbing. I really can’t say more about this book without giving too much away. Any misconceptions you might have about this story should be tossed out of an air plane (I’m now a fan of skydiving!).

I ‘rate’ books on the following criteria: 
  1. How likely is it that I’ll reread this?
  2. Do I want this in paperback and therefore on my actual bookshelf?
  3. Would I feel happier / calmer if I owned more than 1 copy and more than 1 format?
So Ms. Jessica Park, author of Flat-Out Love
  1. I will reread this and probably pass it on to my child. I might have to have a daughter in case my son doesn't want it.
  2. yes – and though we are downsizing houses, my books are coming with me.
  3. I have a second copy of the paperback in my Amazon cart. And I have an account with Audible for a reason.

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