Book Review & Giveaway: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Today I’m honored to be a stop on the Flat-Out Love blog tour, hosted by Ashley at Book Labyrinth. Ashley introduced me to this wonderful book and I’m happy to have the opportunity to tell you a little about it.

Be sure also to read Jessica’s fabulous guest post with valuable writing tips, and find out how you can win a copy of Flat-Out Love!

Book: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park, self published, April 11, 2011

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Format/pages: ebook approx. 87k words

Format read: e-ARC provided by the author

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars


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.

Flat-Out Love is available as an eBook from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can also read more about it on Goodreads.


Throughout the tour we’re giving away three eBooks of Flat-Out Love from Smashwords, so you can read the book in whichever format you’d like. Enter at each tour stop to increase your chances of winning.

The giveaway is open internationally. To enter:

  • Comment on this post
  • Fill out the form

Bonus entries: promote the blog tour (tweet, sidebar link, blog entry, etc.)

Giveaway ends midnight EST on July 12

Be sure to check out the other blogs on the tour for more chances to win, interviews, guest posts and reviews. Thanks to Ashley from Book Labyrinth for hosting the tour.





19 thoughts on “Book Review & Giveaway: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

  1. […] The Reading Date A Young Adult and Fantasy Book Blog HomeAboutChallenges20102011It’s A DateReading List20102011ReviewsBy AuthorBy Title Flickr Twitter RSS Feed ← Book Review & Giveaway: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park […]

  2. Ashley says:

    I’m so glad you loved it!! Thanks for taking part in the tour, Lucy. =)

  3. Flannery says:

    You make this book sound just wonderful, Lucy. I added it right after I saw your 5-stars on Goodreads, even before I read your review. Now that you explained it, I want it even more.

    I totally agree with you that more YA should be set in the college phase. It’s kind of a weird void that not many books fill. (and I wish they would!) I also love the epistolary format in books and it sounds like this one is right up my alley. Great review!

    1. Thanks Flannery! I agree there is a void there – definitely think there is a market for books set in the college years. Hope you like the book when you get a chance to read it!

  4. dixie says:

    Great review, Lucy! I have actually read a few of Jessica Park’s gourmet girl mysteries written with her mother, and I loved them!

    1. Thanks Dixie! That’s great that you read Jessica’s other series. I will have to catch up on her other books sometime. Thanks for the rec!

  5. Jessica Park says:

    Thank you SO much for the amazing review, Lucy! It means so much when someone gives such a thorough and thoughtful review for a book that I just slaved over. And a big thank you to Ashley for organizing this book tour!

    Flannery, what’s so strange is that when I was toying with publishing this through a NY publisher, they categorically told me that 18 was absolutely too old for YA, and that’s why they wouldn’t publish Flat-Out Love. That seems so strange to me. I mean, it’s a really intense age and ripe for storytelling….

  6. BabyBird says:

    Like I mentioned on your Goodreads, you’ve completely sold me with the story synopsis & your review. I’m definitely hoping to read this as soon as I can! *crossing fingers for contest* 🙂

    And really, who doesn’t love a heart-fluttering romance?? 😉

    1. Crossing fingers for you! The romantic storyline is good and I can’t wait for you to read it. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  7. anna says:

    wow this book seems gr8!!! i would really want to win!!! hopefull y luck will be on my side!

  8. […] first heard about this book from Lucy of The Reading Date with her glowing review. I then entered a contest for a copy of the e-book which I was ecstatic to […]

  9. […] Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park (7/9) […]

  10. […] reviews: The Reading Date Book Labyrinth A Book and a Latte 0.000000 0.000000 Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike […]

  11. […] (paperback): Amazon | B&N   Other reviews: Chachic’s Book Nook – positive The Reading Date – positive   Interesting Links: Flat-Out Love website   […]

  12. […] Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park – Smart, witty, surprising, romantic and charming. Read […]

  13. […] By Michele | Just a Lil Lost · 4 Comments I first heard about this book from Lucy of The Reading Date with her glowing review. I then entered a contest for a copy of the e-book which I was ecstatic to […]

  14. […] away. All of the details put into the story and the characters make this a very special book.~ The Reading DateSo here’s the rundown: there’s romance, flirting, geekiness, absent parents, some mystery, […]

  15. […] Jessica Park – Book: Flat-Out Love. (Review) One of my first New Adult (and self-pubbed) reads and a trendsetter in the genre. Great […]

  16. […] Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park […]

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