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Flat-Out Love

Flat-Out Love

Written by Jessica Park

Narrated by Julia Whelan


Flat-Out Love

Written by Jessica Park

Narrated by Julia Whelan

ratings:
4/5 (24 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Released:
Nov 20, 2012
ISBN:
9781469253084
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Chosen as a 2014 YALSA Amazing Audiobook for Young Adults

He was tall, at least six feet, with dirty blond hair that hung over his eyes. His T-shirt read Nietzsche Is My Homeboy.

So, that was Matt. Who Julie Seagle likes. A lot. But there is also Finn. Who she flat out loves.

Complicated? Awkward? Completely.

But really, how was this freshly-minted Boston transplant and newbie college freshman supposed to know that she would end up living with the family of an old friend of her mother's? This was all supposed to be temporary. Julie wasn't supposed to be important to the Watkins family, or to fall in love with one of the brothers. Especially the one she's never quite met. But what does that really matter? Finn gets her, like no one ever has before. They have connection.

But here's the thing about love, in all its twisty, bumpy permutations-it always throws you a few curves. And no one ever escapes unscathed.

Released:
Nov 20, 2012
ISBN:
9781469253084
Format:
Audiobook


About the author


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Reviews

What people think about Flat-Out Love

4.2
24 ratings / 30 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I'm not sure if I would categorize this as a young adult novel or not. The main character is an 18 year old female embarking on her first year of college and there is a heavy emphasis on her discovering herself and falling in love. However she is also dealing with the dysfunction of a family she is living with and the story line is unique and incredibly intriguing. This was a true page turner for me. I may not have been blown away with the outcome and it may at times have been a bit predictable but it was an overall entertaining read. I really enjoyed this book and I've already recommended it to a couple of friends.
  • (4/5)
    Flat-Out Love was a great book for me to have picked up. It was hard to put down and very easy to get back into a steady reading pace the few times I had to put it down.

    This story really stood out to me as an original and enjoyable read the whole way through. While I was able to make strong assumptions of the outcome, early in the novel, it was the journey to the actual reveal and confirming/disproving my assumptions that might have been the best part. It was less of "wow, I figured this book out. I don't want to read it now" and much more "Could this really be the situation? I NEED to know. It'd be great if this was what's going on." I was impressed by just how much thought had to go into making this story work with the complicated back-story, the unique and dysfunctional Watkins family, and coming-of-age growth that Julie's character went through.

    The characters definitely made for an enjoyable read. My favorite of the book is probably Celeste. She has her issues and definitely adds some awkwardness to situations, but her intelligence and dialogue are what really make her a favorite of mine. Like the rest of the family, she's smart, but she's also funny in her own way. Also, even though she's only in her early teens, she shows maturity well beyond her age. Definitely wouldn't have been as great of a book without her. There wouldn't have been a reason to read about Flat Finn without Celeste either. And he's a very unique character as well. Despite his "flat" name, Flat Finn is very dynamic...but I'll let the readers fin the pun in that themselves.

    Bottom-line: Flat-Out Love is a great book to pick up. I can see what so many people have enjoyed about it, and I am looking forward to experiencing more of Park's writing.
  • (4/5)
    Sorry good!!!

    Jessica Park is a new author to me. I was thoroughly engrossed in the book. Dynamite dialog and a great story line. While I would prefer clean language, I hope her other books are just as well written.
  • (4/5)
    Unexpected

    So Flat Finn was a lot creepy, but I really liked the characters. I was not expecting the secret to be what it was, but it made sense in a twisted way. I'm not sure I could have forgiven so easily. Enjoyed this for a quick, easy read.
  • (4/5)
    This was a good read not an exciting read but a good read.
  • (5/5)
    The book started a little rough for me, but I ended up loving the story. The devastation of a family where everyone is hurting, but no one knows how to help. It was heart wrenching to see everything play out, but gratifying to see the healing process. I was initially put off by the brothers deception, but I decided it was his way with dealing with everyone and everything else going on in his life. What ultimately messed with my understanding, was the father's attempt to bring Julie back into the mix at the end without explaining anything...a little creepy (in an axe murdering kind of way.)
  • (4/5)
    I thik this is a book that should be read by everyone.
  • (4/5)
    This was great! I guessed the twist pretty early on then kept talking my self out of it. I felt like the ending was rushed a little to much but other then that it was a really unique story!
  • (5/5)
    Upon finishing this, I bought the next two books in the series and had to talk myself out of reading all of them this weekend. Such a good book. It wasn't what I was expecting but that's what I loved about it.
  • (5/5)
    I'm not even going to lie, this book had me at Boston. I'll read just about anything set in Boston and if I don't like it, I will likely pretend I do because...it's Boston. That might make me book-shallow, but the good news is that the book itself blew me away and so I get to say nice things about it for other reasons than just its setting! However, I have to say that Jessica Park managed to turn my favorite city into a character of its own and I love her for that. Thank you, Jessica Park!

    I'm not even sure I want to be writing this review because I don't think I can do it justice.

    Let me start off by saying that the prose was beautiful. It keeps you engaged and I read it in one sitting (and zero sleep! I made the "one more chapter" mistake over and over again). It's not too long, so it can actually be read in one sitting.
    I loved the 3rd person POV, it's my favorite type of perspective and it's so rare in YA (and I guess NA, too) fiction. The dialogue was witty and fast and just all around perfect. The pace of the book is...it's not too fast, nor is it too slow, it's just right. Jessica Park is direct in her writing, and never deflects from what she is trying to say. I didn't feel a single thing was too much, or too little.

    Now I get to talk about my favorite thing. The characters. And I have to start out with FF. When an author makes a piece of cardboard a character more colorful than some authors do real people, that's when you know you've struck gold. Email/facebook banter with Finn plus the whole family and Julie's treating Flat Finn like a real person, he really did feel like a real person to me.

    Julie is so ~normal. When reading these types of books I usually expect a guarded, broken heroine, with tons of issues. I can't help it, it's just an instinct. So this surprised me, she is just your regular 18 year-old girl. I mean, sure, she had issues, but they weren't really that huge and I loved that! She wasn't broken, she didn't have major traumas, she was just normal. I loved her personality, a bit gullible, starry eyed, sharp wit and always optimistic. I think if I was in a bad mood this would be an instant upper for me.
    Oh, and I absolutely loved her thoughts on Twitter. I'm twitter illiterate so I completely agreed with her.

    I'm not sure what to say about Matt. The reader figures out right away what is going on, and I kind of resented him while absolutely loving him. Smart, good sense of humor, and such a strong character, carrying so much burden on his shoulders. I can actually relate to him taking care of his sister like that and I know how hard and exhausting it is to just put your life aside for someone else, which made him so real to me. It's just too much. I loved that we got to see a playful side to him, even if it was in the way we did.

    I loved the rest of the family too, Celeste's behavior seemed spot on in such circumstances, and I loved her quirkiness. You could tell that Roger and Erin were dealing with something in a very subdued way. And imagine living with that guilt, poor Erin. It broke my heart.

    Like I said, I did figure the Finn situation somewhere in the beginning. I mean, everything was way too weird and I figured it had to be something major, so either he's dead, or he's an imaginary friend (ditched that idea right away), or maybe he was in an institution somewhere or jail or something. I was fighting my own curiosity not to read the ending before I got to it. And it was written in a way that makes it easy for the reader to figure it out, while Julie not figuring it out was still believable.

    I felt so bad for Matt because he kept getting himself deeper and deeper into this mess and the longer and deeper he went into it, the worse I thought Julie would react. And I was sad for Julie because, even not really knowing Finn, Matt sort of did pull her into his family's grief and it was the saddest thing. It's great that in the end she did realize that it wasn't really Finn she fell in love with all along, but it doesn't change the fact that she thought she did only to have it all taken away from her. It almost seemed cruel. I actually thought she was very mature about it all, considering the circumstances. And I loved that she didn't get over it in a matter of days, because it wouldn't be realistic. These things do take time.

    I also need to talk about the elevator scene. A friend of mine on LJ said to me - "Read this book if only for the elevator scene" and can I just say that it did not disappoint? As a matter of fact, if the whole book was about the elevator scene, I would have been happy, that's how awesome it was. Classic. Re-read worthy. He almost convinced me to go skydiving, that's how good it was.

    I wish it didn't take me so long to give it a try, it's been a while since I liked a book so much. Laced with humor (I really did laugh out loud reading it!), wonderful, well rounded characters, it's a heartfelt, realistic story. There are things that will break your heart, but it's worth it in the end. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Jessica Park!
  • (5/5)
    I loved Flat-Out Love, though half-way through I figured out what was going on.. my heart was still broken. I <3 Will!! The status updates and messages were my favourite part. I highly recommend this book!
  • (3/5)
    Due to copy and paste, formatting has been lost.(ACTUALLY 3.5 STARS)Flat Out Love was a good read for me, but I didn't like it nearly as much as I thought I would. I just couldn't get over the fact that Julie could be so...I don't know, judging I guess would be the word? That's not really right, but I'm sure you get the idea. She put me off just a little bit. Now, honestly, I read both this and the novella from Matt's POV, and I actually liked Matt more than I liked Julie. But when you read both, well, you realize how little Julie actually thinks about Matt. Whereas Matt thinks about her constantly. She's a really big part of his story, but he is almost nothing in hers. I think that may have been what put me off her, to tell the truth.I mean, she was hilarious and she seemed like she'd be a lot of fun to hang out with, but she wasn't much more than that to me. She was constantly trying to fix the Watkins (especially Celeste) and she seems to have such a clear idea of what's "normal" and what's "not normal". Coming from a weird family myself, I really don't think that there is normal and not normal. Celeste was such a unique, bright kid. I really liked her, and I did want her to have more friends and everything, but she really wasn't that bad. Granted, yes, the "Flat Finn" thing really freaked me out, but I got over it.But let's move on-- even though Matt really isn't a big part of Julie's story, I thought that they were adorable together whenever she gave him a chance. Matt was a funny, weird guy, but his nerdiness really was endearing. But...there was also another side of him, that, well, not gonna lie or anything-- kind of freaked me out. Daddy always said you don't bring crazy to the house, and he did a bunch of screwed up things. In his novella, though, you really get to see that what he was doing was for his family, not just to be weird. o.OAll in all, Flat Out Love was a good read, with awesome plotting and an interesting story, but the romance didn't grab me like I'd hoped it would. It didn't even really show up til the last bit of the book, honestly.
  • (5/5)
    This book snuck up on me. I started off thinking what a cute little story. And then it got serious. Suddenly, I just had to finish the book. I was concerned for the characters. What was going to happen? Would Celeste be OK? What was her problem anyhow? What was the big Watkins family secret? Will Julie find love? Who will she fall in love with? The title is Flat-Out Love anyhow so there has to be love there. Then when I got to the end, my heart was breaking but it was a satisfied break. I'm obviously moving on the the companion novel very soon.
  • (5/5)
    This book literally single-handedly seems like the most clichéd book I've read, but it's not. I swear to you, it's not. This is not one of those books that I read on a whim and only liked because there's a hot guy (well, there is, but that's beside the point). At first I only bought this book because it was a Kindle Daily Deal, but then I decided to actually read it, and honestly, it's one of the best contemporary books that I've read since John Green. The characters are so real throughout the entire novel, and I love them so much. Their anger and their sadness--I can relate to it. Especially the protagonist, Julie. She's so real. At first, I thought she was shallow for judging Finn and Matt so quickly, but then I came to realize that I would've done the same thing too. The same for Celeste. Julie judged that little girl so quickly, but I probably wouldn't have made it as far as Julie. Then there's Matt and Finn. The brothers. The two amigos. Okay, not really, but both of them were so real, and I loved it so much. The plot in this book was great. It wasn't too slow and it wasn't too fast. Everything about this book just awed me to pieces (is that possible?). I can't decide who my favorite character was because they're all my favorites. I never would've guessed the ending of this book, and I really don't know how to review it without giving away the ending. The third person writing, I admit, is a bit detached and awkward at first, but I quickly got used to it. The conversations between the characters--their interactions--are so goddamn real. I keep saying that over and over, but it's so true. Everything about this book screams real life, and I love it. This is easily my new favorite book, and I can tell that it's just one of those books that I'll read over and over like Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars. I honestly have no idea what to say about this book anymore without being any more repetitive than I already am. I just...this book...I'm speechless... Heartwarming isn't even the right word to describe this book. I can't find anything better, and I don't know what word to make up. I just...so good. Go read it. Now. I swear. Oh my god.
  • (4/5)
    This is really a delightful book that stands out from the usual love story by its focus on family and its wit. There are hilarious Facebook updates that start off many of the chapters, and very likable characters who are not, however, perfect.Eighteen-year-old Julie Seagle has just come from Ohio to Boston to start college. The apartment she thought she got turned out to be a scam however, and she has no other place to go. Julie’s mother arranges for her to stay with her old college roommate Erin and her family. The Watkins have an empty room because their son Finn is away. They seem like a great family - affluent, smart, generous, and friendly, but more than a bit quirky. Twenty-one year old Matt goes to MIT and is what Julie calls nerdy, but it is 13-year-old Celeste who behaves the most oddly. She still dresses like a child, speaks robotically, and what’s more, carries around a life-sized replica of Finn, called Flat Finn, without which (whom?) she will go nowhere. Everyone else interacts with Flat Finn as if he were real. (Julie allows, “Finn was decidedly adorable. Even in pancake form.”)Julie emails Finn to introduce herself and explain she is staying in his room, and asks him what is going on with Celeste because no one in the family will tell her. But neither will Finn. Meanwhile, Julie tries to be an older sister to Celeste, mentoring her to fit in better with her age group. She also has a great sibling-like rapport with Matt. She starts dating a nice guy, but the relationship stalls as her online attachment to Finn intensifies.What is really going on in this weird family, and can an online romance turn into something real?Evaluation: Fans of Rainbow Rowell should enjoy this book as much as I did. This was an unexpectedly entertaining read.
  • (5/5)
    Flat-out Love is a cute, fun story with a bit of emotional stuff in there too! All the characters were great and very interesting. I have to say that I kinda guessed where things were going, but it was still fun getting there. I read a lot of good reviews on this and it did not disappoint.I listened to this on my Audible and the narrator was great, she really captured each character and their personalities. I found myself looking forward till when I could listen to it again each time I had to stop. Great read or should I say great listening..lol!”
  • (5/5)
    “You can look back now and see how you should have known, but you were focusing on the facts instead of the feeling.”

    Isn't that quote the truth , man oh man this story totally through me for a major loop at about 80% . I don't know if it was because I was not fully into the whole story and I think Matt and all his math talk was boring me totally .. but I surely was not expecting what was thrown at me at 80% into this book .

    book Blurb :

    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



    I felt for Celeste and thought man this girl really loves and miss' her brother, I knew something was not right but I never thought it was all going to turn out the way that it did ... did I ever put two and two together ?? Nope I did not.

    I liked Julie , her being a "fixer" ... she sure did fix things in the end .

    I kinda like the whole facebook status' going on and once you get further into the book you have a better understanding as to why it was all in the story .

    Definitely an emotional, dysfunctional Family , but over all it was a great book ..

    I'm still a little numb after finding out what was going on and can't seem to get all my words out at the moment for a better review .

  • (4/5)
    Read this in an afternoon. Once I started, I couldn't stop, even with the Summer Olympics happening at the same time. I had assumed the plot by the mid point of the book at the latest, but I still loved the characters so much that I had to keep reading.

    The story starts with Julie heading off to college to find out that the apartment that her mom had rented for her online was not real and she has no place to live. Enter Mom's college roommate who takes her in and she spends a year living with the family. The family consists of a very absent mom and dad who bike to and from work and are beyond the scope of really bright academic types, a son (Matt) who wears geeky t-shirts and loves math and physics, and the youngest - a daughter Celeste who carries around a life size cardboard photo of her oldest brother, Finn, who is traveling the world. Quirky doesn't begin to describe them.

    Characters? Love them, because you can completely and totally imagine them. My hands-down favorite was Celeste, the 13 year old, who cannot let go of "Flat Finn" and who cannot speak with contractions. She has limited social skills, and you can't help but want to be her friend.

    This book is definitely one for young adult or adult readers - not sure I'd introduce it to 5th or 6th graders unless they could handle the more tweenagery themes.
  • (2/5)
    2.5/5

    The Flat Finn situation was unique (I haven't read anything like it before).

    But it seems that some of the jokes were forcefully contrived that they sound corny. And usually these kind of stories make me laugh and gush and cry, but not this book.
  • (2/5)
    Julie is just starting at Boston College when she realizes the room she rented on Craig's List does not exist. Panicing, she calls her mom, who calls her own college roommate, who lets Julie move in until she can find a place to live. As Julie gets to know them, she realizes that the Watkinses are a very interesting family: mom and dad work all the time, Matt (the brother) is a huge dork she suprisingly gets along with, Celeste (the sister) is neurotic about carrying around a life sized cut out of her oldest brother, and Finn (the brother who is travelling) seems to be the only one who is sensible...and handsome...and adventurous...and perfect. Pretty soon, Julie has fallen in love with Finn over the web and through the family's stories. But something about it doesn't feel right, and not just because she's fallen for a cardboard cut out. This book wanted to be good. But it just wasn't. It felt like the author tried really hard to make the characters relatable and the story realistic...so much so that it felt contrived.
  • (5/5)
    This book moved me. One of the most beautifully written stories I have read this year. I did NOT expect the twist in the plot and because of that I was pleasantly surprised the way it played out.
  • (5/5)
    Simply Amazing. - If I could end this review with just those 2 words, I would. There is honestly no other way to describe this book. Wait! Yes, there is. Breathtaking, Astonishing, Beautiful, Charming, Wonderful, Enchanting... I could go on and on.Here you have Julie, who, stranded without a place to go, finds herself staying with a roommate her mom had in college. She notices that there is just something not right with this family. The parents are never there, Finn is "away", Matt is like a parent to his sister - and the center piece of the family-, Celeste, who is for some reason carrying around a life size cardboard copy of her brother that she calls "Flatt Finn". Issues much?Between juggling school, helping out with Celeste and trying to live her life, Julie soon finds herself having late night Facebook chats with Finn, the brother who is away being this grand adventurer. Within the months that follow, Julie becomes closer to Celeste and begins to find herself falling for Finn. So why does she find herself asleep in not Finn's, but Matt's arms one night?Not soon after that, everything comes to a head. Celeste has a breakdown and everything that was suppose to stay hidden comes out.What do you do when you find out the person you "love" isn't really who you thought?How do you handle your entire world crashing around you and not knowing a single thing to do to stop it?Watching this story unfold was shocking. I must say, I did not see the ending coming at all!This story was written with so much feeling that I literally spent the last 10 minutes crying. - GOOD CRY! - okay, well some bad cry!The sparks that fly, the relationships that make it and those that don't, along with the trials and heartbreak and the never ending secrets, all tied in with love, lust, family and friendship, made this book one of the best reads that I have had in a long time!
  • (1/5)
    Just couldn't get into it. Too boring.
  • (5/5)
    LOVE.LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. Jellicoe Road was my favorite book so far this year but Flat Out Love comes in a very close second. I wish I would have read this book so much sooner. I'm head over heels. This is one of those books that is so fantastic that it ruins all other books that come after for a long time.

    This is such a character-driven story and the characters are just... I can't even come up with one word for them. Hilarious, quirky, adorable. I found myself laughing out loud so much at these characters and their interactions with each other. Flat Finn <3 omgosh best character EVER! And can I please be best friends with Julie. And can I please have Matt for myself. And can Celeste please be my little sister! This was such a awesome love story, beautifully written with fantastic dialogue. A story that will mess with your heart so much but in such a wonderful way.

    No seriously, I already want to read this book again! This is such an addicting story but it's such an awesome addiction. If college-aged contemporaries are your thing: read Flat Out Love now. Skip everything else you had planned and read this one. This book was so much more than I was expecting and I'm totally charmed. These characters and their story will be in my heart for a very, very long time. It's been too long since I've really connected with a book like this and I'm so happy to have a new addition to my all-time favorites.
  • (4/5)
    This was a cute book about a dysfunctional family that, by a stroke of luck, had the right person come into their lives and change their family dynamic forever. There was love, sadness, deceit, anger and hope all wrapped up here. At times I thought it was a little predictable but I still liked it. Good read and I do recommend.
  • (5/5)
    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: 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. 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. 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.
  • (5/5)
    I flat-out loved this book! Seriously, I would totally marry this book if I could. It starts off with our young star in a sticky situation from which she must be rescued. She got screwed out of an apartment in a faraway college town and is left sitting on the side of the road (literally). Her mom phones an old college friend who lives nearby and said college friend sends her son Matt to pick up Julie.'“He’ll be driving a blue Volvo and should be there any minute.”“OK. Matt. Dangerous town. Blue Volvo. If I get into the wrong car and get myself murdered and dumped in an alley, I want you to know how much I love you. And don’t look in the third drawer of my desk.”'Matt lives with his mom, Julie’s mom’s college friend, Erin, his dad Roger and his sister Celeste. Erin tells Julie she can stay as long as she wants. In exchange for the free room and board, she would like Julie to spend her afternoons with their 13-year-old Celeste, who has a few… quirks.'But what struck Julie the most about Celeste had to do with what—or who?—was in the chair next to her. “Oh, Julie! I didn’t introduce you properly, did I?” Celeste chirped happily and then turned to the seat next to her. “Flat Finn, this is Julie. Julie, this is Flat Finn.” Erin poured herself some sparkling water, and Roger continued daydreaming about brine, but Julie was sure she heard Matt catch his breath. She eyed the seat again. Frankly, she’d been hoping to get through dinner without addressing this issue. No one else had mentioned anything so far, but this must be what Matt had started to tell her about: A life-size cardboard cutout of their brother Finn leaned stiffly angled against the chair, his gaze fixed rigidly on the ceiling’s light fixture.'Along with Celeste’s cardboard stand-in for her older brother Finn, who is traveling the world on adventures and volunteer missions, Julie must deal with Erin and Roger who spend more time at work than they do at home with their family and Matt, who wears dorky geek t-shirts and spends his time either at school or at home working on his computer.Julie finds herself drawn to Celeste and her odd companion and wants to help her become less shy around other people, and to act more “normal” around her classmates and teachers. But nobody will tell Julie anything about the life-size Flat Finn. Matt just keeps telling her to leave the whole subject alone. Even Finn, who Julie flirts with via email, won’t tell her about his cardboard counterpart.'If everyone wanted to act as though it was perfectly ordinary to hang out with a flat, replicated family member, it was fine by her. After all, he was polite, not at all bad to look at, and didn’t hog more than his fair share of the Thai dumplings. Granted, his conversational skills were lacking, but he was probably just shy around new people…'The characters are real people who I would totally hang out with after school. They are well-rounded and believable people in an odd situation. Though I’ve never met someone who had a stand-in family member, I can imagine that this would be how they would act. I really came to care about these people and wanted to genuinely know what happened to them.The dialogue was funny and witty and I loved the verbal sparring between Julie and Matt.There was definitely an element of mystery here, as in WTH is up with Flat Finn? At one point, I thought I had it figured out, then I was wrong, then I knew what was going on, then I didn’t. It was fun to try to understand everything without having all of the clues.There was romance in spades here, but I can’t really tell you about it without giving some secrets away, so just trust me on this one.The Sum Up: Flat-Out Love has become my favorite book. Ever. It has everything I’m looking for in a book: unique plot, interesting and relatable characters, fun dialogue and lots of romance. This needs to be on your must-read list pronto.
  • (5/5)
    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!
  • (5/5)
    Flat-Out Love knocked me out. The story is witty and surprising and I loved the characters with their quirks and lovable traits. The book also has a surprising heart fluttering romance that takes your breath away. All of the details put into the story and the characters make this a very special book.The premise is eighteen-year-old Julie has just left home in Ohio for college in Boston. Due to a fraudulent apartment listing she has no place to stay. Her mom’s college roommate comes to the rescue and invites her to stay with their family where she meets the parents Erin and Roger Watkins, and their children Matt and Celeste. The parents are workaholics and order take-out every night for dinner. Matt attends MIT, wears nerdy t-shirts, and looks after thirteen-year-old Celeste. Celeste is lovable and precocious but lacking in social skills. It doesn’t help her fit in with her peers when she carries around a life-sized cardboard cutout of oldest brother Finn.Finn is smart, gorgeous and outgoing and is away traveling the world doing volunteer work. The family calls the cardboard cutout “Flat Finn” and he gets his own seat at the dinner table and watches over Celeste. Julie doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into, but makes herself at home in Finn’s empty bedroom. She introduces herself to him on Facebook and they begin a flirty correspondence. Julie quickly becomes a role model to Celeste and has a playful sibling-type relationship with Matt.Julie is a fixer and wants to help the dysfunctional family with their issues. She knows there’s a secret they are hiding. But is the truth too much to bear?I love quirky characters and witty dialogue in books and this book excels in that area. I felt invested with all the characters, starting with the protagonist Julie. Julie is unique in that she is a little older than typical YA main characters and has a witty, relaxed and quiet confident way about her that is charming. She has had her own family struggles but is capable and handles her problems in a take-charge manner. The fact that she is living away from home and in college is very refreshing and I wished we saw more of this in YA books. Julie has a good relationship with all the Watkins children, and I especially liked her scenes with Matt. My Friday Night Lights loving heart enjoyed that two of the main characters are named Matt and Julie.There is a good well-rounded mix of drama, romance and humor in the story. There is also a mystery that Julie is trying to solve about the unspoken family drama in the Watkins household. Sprinkled throughout the story are humorous Facebook status updates, emails and chat messages written by Julie and the Watkins brothers that are funny, charming, romantic and help tell their story. The book takes some surprising turns to keep you on your toes. I was hurrying to read it to see how it would work out, but at the same time didn’t want it to end.Recommended for fans of contemporary romance, quirky characters, and witty dialogue. Flat-Out Love is a satisfying and sharply written book that I’m glad I took a chance on.
  • (5/5)
    Flat-Out Love is a heart stopping love story that took my breath away. This young girl that finds herself about to begin college, and homeless after being scammed through the internet. Luckily, a family that happens to be her mother college buddy takes her in. Julie seems to make a sudden acclimation into this family. I was impressed by the author’s ability to keep this from seeming unrealistic. It was entertaining to see the seeming sibling banter between Julie and Matt, and the older sister role that Julie embraces with Celeste. As the story begins to unravel the courage is evident in Julie to embrace the situation; rather than move on. She becomes determined to find a way to help Celeste and the rest of her family. She is aware that everything happening with Celeste is not only a danger to her, but Matt as well in that he no longer has a life of his own. Knowing full well that this was a romance novel; the author was creative in establishing relations with various characters. Readers will question “Is this it?” throughout the story. Although, I must say that once you have begun the romance it clear and concise. With a twist it this relationship it will transform, but it still breath taking throughout. This is by far one of the best romances I have read in my book blogging journey. This will definitely be a story that I will read many times over. I found myself up way into the morning hours just to finish this truly lovable story. The wit and charm of the novel with carry readers way. With just the right mixture of love, loss, and tragedy Flat-Out Love promises for a memorable spectacular read.