Flat-Out Matt by Jessica Park

FLAT OUT MATT

flat out matt

One can actually proceed to Flat Out Celeste without reading this one but being my curious aka nosy self, I just have to dive into Matt’s head. This novella should be read RIGHT AFTER reading Flat Out Love, when you’re still reeling from that ending and when you’re still feeling all those butterflies. Although I wished there were new scenes, I still enjoyed reading this and it’s nice to get inside Matt’s head for a change. Like the first book, Flat Out Matt is also witty and humorous. It’s a welcome invitation to know Matt more but be warned that it is not a continuous narration like how a regular story would be. It’s parts and chapters of significant scenes and events in Flat Out Love that’s why I mentioned that it’s best to read this after FOL when everything is still clear and fresh.

Stars - 3


Review Headings -  Blurb

You saw geeky, damaged, loveable Matt Watkins through Julie’s eyes in FLAT-OUT LOVE. Now go deeper into Matt’s world in this FLAT-OUT MATT novella. Live his side of the story, break when his heart breaks, and fall for the unlikely hero all over again.

 

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

FLAT OUT LOVE

“It was always you. I thought it was someone else, but it was you. You were the person that I felt.”

flat out love

I guess I spoke too soon when I admired Jessica Park’s ability to create deep and interesting characters after reading 180 seconds because Flat Out Love is AMAZING! I was planning to continue exploring new to me authors but after 180 seconds, I knew I have to read more from her.

This book is really interesting. I felt invested to everyone in the story. I felt the heart poured out in creating the characters and in turn, they seemed very real to me. I love how quirky and unique the characters are. They are all different from one another and each one carrying a burden. They are flawed but their imperfections radiate realness. The characters came alive from the author’s colorful, witty and fun narration. We saw depth, we saw hurt, we saw humanity.

I actually thought that it was going to be a fluffy read but I was surprised by how deep and emotional the story turned. I appreciated how the author felt comfortable shifting between emotions and playing with just the right amount of drama and fun.

Nerds/geeks do not usually get to be the lead in the story but this one has a lot of brain power and intellectual tension which I truly, truly enjoyed. It’s refreshing how this story revolved around problematic personalities and their day to day lives. And though I saw the twist a mile away, it was still enjoyable getting from Point A to Point B. It was an immensely engaging read and I found bits and pieces of myself in the flaws of the characters – from Julie, Matt, Finn, Celeste and even Erin. They are dysfunctional that they become relatable. But they are so well written that families like them can actually exist.

I could go on and on about how good this book is but you just have to experience the characters to know what I’m talking about. Beyond the plot, beyond the twist, it’s the characters that won me.

Also, watch out for the drunken phone call!

Oh and my favorite character in this story: Celeste.

Stars - 4


Review Headings -  Blurb

Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

It’s not what you know—or when you see—that matters. It’s about a journey.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie’s off-campus housing falls through, her mother’s old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side… and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there’s that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That’s because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie’s suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that … well… doesn’t quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

180 Seconds by Jessica Park

180 SECONDS

“We are engaged in a form of intimacy that scares the absolute hell out of me. It’s as if there is a weight on my chest that I want to shove off, and I’ve never been this terrified before.
Or this whole and hopeful and connected.
My body starts to tremble. I want more of what I’m feeling, and I also want none of it.”

18 0 seconds.jpg

It’s imperative to say that this is my first ever read from Jessica Park and in just one book, she was able to make me rethink about some of my opinions about some very important things.

Not really a fan of insta-love and insta-connection, 180 seconds made me reconsider my stand on this and the possibility of this happening in real life. I can tolerate instant connections so long as it is cleverly written but with this book – I not only tolerated it, I embraced it.

I love how this story just flows and grows. Initially, I was a bit hesitant to continue because our main character, Allison, sounds a lot like a main character in one of the books I recently read and did not fully support. Broken, flawed, difficult past – I felt that she will be predictable. However, I was surprised by how different she is. Her character was not stagnant. She knew she has issues, she acknowledged them and worked on them. Then there’s Esben. I cannot begin to explain how special he is and I feel like he will be one of those main characters who will stay with me for a long, long time.

I appreciate the idea of performing social experiments and using social media to promote kindness and hope. I enjoyed how relatable this story is and I am grateful for the kind of hope it gave me. At the same time, I admired the author for being realistic enough to also show the negative side of social media and the monsters that lurk in the background.

This book is spectacularly written. The pacing is perfect, I felt that it was neither slow nor being rushed making it all the more believable for me.

180 seconds may have been the push Allison needed to evaluate her beliefs and her life. But for me, this book is a catalyst of hope and making me believe that though a lot of days may be bleak, there’s still so much goodness and positivity to look forward to. There may be parts in the story where my heart broke (Damn 70%) but I understand and can accept it as well.  I know how pivotal certain events play in our MC’s life and I like how the author was very delicate and sensitive in writing those scenes.

This book is for those readers who would like to feel good, escape harsh reality for a short while, doesn’t mind a few tears and just need more positivity to boost their day. I didn’t really read the blurb but after finishing, I realized that I needed this kind of read now. So thank you Jessica for giving me Allison, Esben, Steffi, Kerry and Simon.

And though this is just my first read from this author, I am quite positive that this won’t be the last.

5 #THISKISSTHISKISS STARS!

Stars - 5


Review Headings -  Blurb

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.