I finished Jessica Park’s novel Flat-Out Love last night. I rarely get so pulled in by the story that I stay up to finish a book, but this time I did continue to read until the end. It’s a well-put-together story and the pace is just great. It’s also a rather deep book in a light package. It deals with serious psychological drama but manages to stay light and, well, sweet, I guess, as another reviewer put it.
If you’re looking for a heartfelt book about teenagers and teenage love, then this is one great book. I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.
Here’s a bit about the story, without giving away too much. Julie arrives in Boston for college. She ends up staying with the family of one of her mother’s friends. Erin, the mother, is a lawyer; Roger, the father, a university professor; Matt, the younger son, a geek in his first year at MIT; Celeste, the daughter, a preteen that has social adjustment issues and psychological scars that Julie keep trying to learn more about; and then there’s Finn, the older son who is traveling the world. Predictably, Julie falls in love with Finn. Over Facebook. And then there are a few surprises.
The story is mostly straightforward, but never shallow, and then there are some twists at the end, when the pace increases. The author, Jessica Park, is truly in touch with teenage feelings. She does tend to overdo the geeky dialogues between Julie and Matt, however, but don’t let that bother you too much though.
Here’s a quote from this book:
“Finn is our adventurous child. When he was eight years old, I came home from work one day to find him at the top of the telephone pole outside our house. The babysitter was talking on the phone and failed to notice that her charge had scaled up forty feet. I fired her, obviously, and when I asked Finn what had possessed him to do that, he told me that he’d been hoping to see into Ellie Livingston’s bedroom window.” “Trying to peek at a girl in his class?” Julie guessed. Erin laughed. “Her mother, actually. Mrs. Livingston heard about this and was flattered. She sent a tray of cookies over with a thank-you note. Finn was such an interesting child.”
And here’s the book itself: