Jessica Park will hook readers in immediately with her quick humor and spunky heroine. Julie is a very fun, upbeat, and witty protagonist and her descriptions of her misadventures and experiences living with a family she's only just met are very entertaining. For the most part, she's a very realistic character; she's happy to finally be free of her hometown, she loves learning, she's self-deprecating as she stumbles through her first year in college, and she has a big heart. However, sometimes Park does give Julie an attitude when it comes to appearing smart; Julie claims it isn't cool, and avoids it at times while reveling in her nerdiness at others. This imbalance is a little frustrating (seeming to be embarrassed at your own intelligence is so passé) but it does temper as you get further into the book. The Watkins household is quirky to say the least; their antics and peculiar habits are charmingly eccentric at first, and with Celeste and Matt as new friends and Finn as a cyber-friend, Julie is able to overlook the obvious underlying problems the family has with a bit of humor. But as she begins to fall for Finn, it becomes apparent to the reader what exactly has happened—even if Julie doesn't figure it out for herself until the end.
Despite its copious amounts of witty repartee and tongue-in-cheek Facebook status updates, at its core Flat-Out Love is a serious book about growing up, learning to deal with responsibility, facing painful truths, and finding a way to keep living life. The romance in this book builds slowly, but it is powerful. Despite the small dialogue inconsistencies and the slight stretch of imagination required to get into the story, this is a very enjoyable book full of a lot of humor and heart.
Cover Comments: UPDATE--I replaced the image with the new cover, which is a VAST improvement over the old one. I love the font, the colors, and the depth of each letter. Awesome move to change it!
I purchased this one from Amazon, where it's available for $2.99! Don't have a Kindle? You can download the free app to almost any device--computer, phone, iPod, whatever!