Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park is a great little book I randomly found on Amazon one day. I simply adore this book! In fact, I’ve already read it twice and I felt the same feelings the second time around as I felt upon the first.
Julie heads to college in Boston and arrives to find that the apartment she rented is a bogus deal. Her mother puts her in contact with Erin, an old college roommate, and Julie moves in with Erin and her family. Julie immediately hits if off with Matt, the smart, caring and geeky college student son, as well as Celeste, the young quirky teenaged daughter. Erin’s other son, Finn, is a traveling adventurer so Julie it set up in his old room. Saddened by the absence of Finn, Celeste carries a life-sized cardboard cutout of Finn (aptly named Flat Finn) with her wherever she goes. While Julie thinks this is extremely odd, Matt encourages her to just go with it.
As Julie gets to know the family and particularly Celeste, she begins to realize that something is not quite right in this household. It’s more than just Celeste’s attachment to Flat Finn, it’s the way the parents are detached and Matt is acting like Celeste’s parent. Celeste is extremely sheltered and protected. She has no friends at school and dresses too young for her age. Julie begins to encourage Celeste to try new things and break out of her shell. Much to Matt’s dismay.
While all this is going on, Julie and the real Finn become friends on Facebook and Julie begins to have feelings for him. Although Julie and Matt have become great friends, there’s something going on that Matt just won’t tell her. Finn gives her a little insight, but she knows there’s more.
Julie and Matt have some really cute banter going on between the two of them that feels real and not cliche. Matt, Julie and the real Finn give amusing status updates on Facebook. Celeste is not only quirky, but freakishly smart too and her very precise speech pattern is a kick. When Julie finally realizes the truth of the events around her, it’s heartbreaking. I may have even said, “Oh, no” out loud. I like a little bit of anguish and I got it. Even the second time around, when I knew what was coming, I felt a little pain in my heart for this family. This book is definitely on the top of my favorite’s list!
Overall Enjoyment: 5 – I loved it!
Language: 3 – swearing
Explicit: No, but a couple of suggestive comments
Age Appropriate: 17+