Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park

Rating: ★★★★★ stars
Date published: May 22nd, 2014
Publisher: Flat Finn, Inc.
Synopsis:Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.

For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.

But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.

Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him.
Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.

What I Thought: 

I'm convinced Jessica Park can do magic.  She writes characters and ultimately books you fall in love with.  I sort of cheated.  I've been in love with Celeste from when I first met her in Flat-Out Love. She stole it in our very first meeting and I hadn't gotten it back. It would've taken a lot (her being the anti-Christ) for me not to continue loving her.  My excitement could hardly be contained when Jessica Park first announced she was doing another novel, this time featuring Celeste in the starring role.

I don't think Jessica Park could've written a more perfect book if she tried.  Of course there isn't a book of hers that I've read and not loved, but still.  I laughed with Celeste, agonized with her, and cried when she shed tears; her highs were my highs and lows were my lows.  It's funny, Celeste is getting ready to leave high school and enter college yet she's no more sure of who she really is and what she likes.  I'm much older than Celeste and I still am not 100% sure of who I am or where I fit. I used to wonder when that lightening bolt of assurance hit, but I'm beginning to think it never will and that's okay. That just means there is room to change and grow.  (This is the sort of thing you think about after you read a Jessica Park book.)  

Celeste is still her wonderful self, just older.  I adored Justin.  His dialogues with Celeste literally made me swoon.  Gahh!  Just thinking about them makes my heart race.  He was just perfect for her.  I think the best part of their relationship is not that being with each other makes the other better or completes them, but that they accept each other and are so comfortable with each other.  They can be who they are faults and all be accepted for them.  Isn't that what we're all looking for?  Plus the chemistry between them was great and I loved seeing first love again.  

Of course there were Matt and Julie.  I loved seeing them again.  As well as Matt and Celeste's parents.  They were a hoot!  I loved how even though Celeste was oblivious regarding Justin, her parents and brother knew what was going on.  There were bumps in the road for everyone, some of them that were deeply hurtful.  I can say I ended this book in happy tears and it was worth everything that came before it.  I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for more Flat-Out stories in the future.

Purchase Links:

About the Author:
Jessica Park is the author of LEFT DROWNING, FLAT-OUT LOVE, the FOL companion novella, FLAT-OUT MATT, and RELATIVELY FAMOUS. Jessica grew up in the Boston area and attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. After spending four years in the frigid north, including suffering through one memorable Halloween blizzard, Jessica hightailed it back to the east coast. She now lives in (relatively balmy) New Hampshire with her husband, son, bananas dogs named Fritzy and Finn, and a selfish cat. When not writing, Jessica indulges her healthy obsessions with Facebook and complicated coffee beverages.

 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 and TWITTER where she updates with much greater regularity than she does on her blog.

Jessica is a huge proponent of self-publishing — after all, it worked well for her! — and has put together some thoughts for other authors on the self-publishing process and its pros and cons on this site.. 

*I received an ARC for review.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any matter for them.*  

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