Thursday, October 3, 2013

THROW BACK THURSDAY: "Flat-Out Matt" by Jessica Park

Feeling nostalgic today and thought I'd do a Throw Back Thursday post. I selected "Flat-Out Matt" by Jessica Park because it's one of my favorite books ever and I absolutely love/adore/stalk Jessica Park! So check out my take on FOM and then enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of the following: a $10 Amazon Gift Card, eBook copy of Flat-Out Love or eBook copy of Flat-Out Matt. 

Title: Flat-Out Matt
Author: Jessica Park
Release: March 25, 2013

Rating: 5 Star *****


Matt is a junior at MIT. He’s geeky, he's witty, he's brilliant.

And he’s also very, very stupid.

When beautiful, cool, insightful Julie moves in with Matt’s family, why (oh why!) does he pretend to be his absent brother Finn for her alleged benefit? 

It seems harmless enough until her short-term stay becomes permanent. And until it snowballs into heart-squeezing insanity. And until he falls in love with Julie, and Julie falls in love with Finn. 

But … Matt is the right one for her. If only he can make Julie see it. Without telling her the truth, without shattering them all. Particularly his fragile sister Celeste, who may need Julie the most.

You saw Matt 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.

Take an emotional skydive for two prequel chapters and seven Flat-Out Love chapters retold from his perspective, and then land with a brand-new steamy finale chapter from Julie.

My Review:

Every once in a while a book comes along that touches you on a deeper level and that you carry with you long after you have read the last words, it is no secret how much I adored Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park. It was that book for me. It had it all, heartbreak, deceit, love, loyalty, devotion, jealousy, despair… every emotion. I like for a book to take me on a journey and FOL did that… so needless to say I was very excited when Jessica announced she was writing a novella from Matt’s POV… I knew how the story unfolded for Julie and I wanted to see how it unfolded for Matt.


The book starts out with a bonus chapter where we get to meet Finn, Matt and Celeste’s older brother. I loved this because I realized something that I missed in FOL, just how much Matt loved and adored Finn. I assumed he loved his brother but I didn’t really focus on Matt’s pain and loss because I was so consumed by Celeste’s pain and reaction. Matt was hurt, he lost the person who he looked up too, who he counted on to manage his mom and Celeste, the person who made it possible for him to have a life outside his family and his friend. Matt didn’t get to grieve. He had to step in and take care of everything while his parents shut down and Celeste checked out. He knew it was wrong to let Celeste have Flat Finn, but he was at a loss for how to help her, he would do anything to bring her out of the depression she had slipped into and he was desperate. He wasn’t Finn, he didn’t have the connection with Celeste that Finn did and he had no idea how to reach her, so he gave in, and so began the odd, alternate reality for his family… 

Julie was a complication Matt didn’t need. He had a delicate balance at home managing his mom and Celeste and the last thing he needed was a stranger to come in and call them out on their crazy. He was panicked and ashamed. He didn’t want to lie to her, he wanted to tell her the truth from the beginning… I didn’t realize that before. I knew his mother asked him play along, but I didn’t realize the extent to which she really manipulated him. Poor Matt, he wanted time and again to come clean with Julie especially when he started to fall in love with her and knew how badly all the lies were going to hurt her but after it had gone on so long how could he tell her? He didn’t want to lose her and he didn’t want Celeste to lose her. She had done more to help Celeste in a few months than he had been able to do in over a year. He loved her and he/they needed her. It just broke my heart. 

Matt became angry at himself for the lies, angry and a little jealous at Julie for falling for Finn even though it was not her fault, and scared to death as he started to see Celeste come out of herself. He knew his mother loved Finn more, he knew his sister loved Finn more and now Julie loved Finn more. It was all a little too much for him and he let it out in one of the most telling and heartbreaking scenes:

“Matt took her hand in both of his for a moment as he struggled to find the right words to tell her that he loved her, and that he would do anything to trade places with Finn so that she could have the brother she really loved back with her.”

OMG I was a puddle… A puddle… my poor Matty!

In FOL I kind of thought that Matt’s emails to Julie as Finn were him playing a part… being who he thought Finn was… acting… but he wasn’t. He was himself and he was letting Julie get to know him, the real him. Behind his geeky persona, his massive responsibility, his edgy demeanor… he was a witty, adventurous and passionate man. The two parts of him were reconciled for me in this book. Then there is Celeste, oh our quirky, smart, matter-of-fact and surprisingly observant Celeste. I LOVED her in this book. She made me cry but oh how she made me laugh! She is just an all around amazing and fascinating character. 

The bonus chapters at the end from Julies POV rocked. I love how we got to see a little of the sexy. Matt oh Matt you are quite a hottie! So in case you missed it I highly recommend this book… you freaking have to read this book… JUST READ IT! 

Favorite Quotes:

“You'll skydive, and hang into ravines by thin ropes, and go rafting in the rapids, but you won't... what? Get crazy and reckless with an amazing girl? You won't fall madly out-of-your-brains in love? Let your world as you know it be blown into bits because you fall heart-crushingly head-over-heels for someone?” 

“How you find love means nothing. It’s what you do with it when you see it that does.” 

About the Author:

Jessica Park is the author of the young adult novels FLAT-OUT LOVE and RELATIVELY FAMOUS; five Gourmet Girl mysteries (written as Jessica Conant-Park with her mother, mystery author Susan Conant); and the e-shorts FACEBOOKING RICK SPRINGFIELD and WHAT THE KID SAYS (Parts 1 & 2).

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 dog named Fritzy, and two selfish cats. When not writing, Jessica indulges her healthy addictions to Facebook, Rick Springfield, and super-sweet coffee beverages.

Twitter: @JessicaPark24       

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