Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Spotlight & Review: "Flat-Out Celeste" by Jessica Park

Title: Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #3)
Author: Jessica Park
Release: May 22, 2014


Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.

For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.

But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.

Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him.

Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.

My Review
5 Stars *****

Let me start off by saying I loved Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park. It was one of those books that so profoundly impacted me. I have shouted it from the rooftops and suggested it to anyone who would listen. Some books just need to be read by EVERYONE. Flat-Out Celeste has been added to that list for me.

Celeste Watkins is still the quirky, damaged girl we met in FOL. Although she has made strides in opening up her world, and Flat Finn is securely tucked away in the attic, she is still that socially awkward, matter-of-fact, and brutally honest person that we know and love. High school has not been easy for her. She tries very hard to keep a facade up for her family, but her life is anything but that of a typical teen. The other students think she is strange and they avoid her, so in turn she focuses solely on her academics and keeps to herself. Completely alienated. It is a lonely life. Matt tries so hard to bring her out of her shell but he is dealing with his own heartache and his own studies. Celeste believes that she just needs to hold on until college. College will be the place where she will finally feel at home. Where academics will be the common denominator and she will excel without any social pressures (obviously she has a very skewed idea of college life). Excited at this prospect she very aptly applies to all the Ivy League schools and receives early acceptance letters. Now she only has to decide which one to attend and her plans will fall into place. Enter Justin... he is a student recruiter for Barton College in San Diego, CA. He has been given the task of wooing the talented Miss Watkins into considering Barton at the suggestion of one of her teachers who is an alumni. There are a few problems with that, it's all the way in California and Celeste doesn't fly and she never applied to Barton. None of that discourages Justin especially once he meets Celeste. Quirky in his own right and with a vast understanding of what it is like to be different; Justin is just what Celeste needs. He somehow puts Celeste at ease like no one else ever has. He helps her to see that being different isn't such a bad thing and that it is more than okay to be who she is without having to change for anyone. Can she let down the walls she has built? Is she brave enough to step out of her comfort zone and give people a chance to know and love her?

Well let me say WOW. WOW WOW WOW! The message in this book is so powerful. There is ABOSLUTELY nothing wrong with being different! Did you hear that????? NOTHING! Whether it be your appearance, your sexual orientation, your family situation, your stutter, your propensity to over annunciate, your disability, your love for piercings or body art... whatever you are is perfectly okay and YOU ARE PERFECT and WORTHY OF LOVE just the way you are. Period. My mother use to tell me "There is someone for everyone" and that is so true. There is someone out their that will find all that you are endearing. You just have to love yourself first. We are all guilty of rushing through life looking right over people. Never looking any deeper than the surface. Just like a book we judge them by their cover and not by their content. We miss the enchanting part of them. Shame on us... we are the ones who miss out.

Our Celeste is the opposite of that. She judges no one. She doesn't see anyone’s flaws when she looks at them even when they look back at her with judgment. I have loved her since book #1 and my love for her only grew in this one. Thank you Jessica Park for writing this series. Thank you for giving us a life lesson and study of ourselves in such a beautifully written story. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Fun Fact: I read Celeste in a proper British accent and I think she would appreciate that.

Favorite Quotes: (there are too many I highlighted to include them all so I'll pick four)

"I had expected the turnip metaphor to go over better, but it seems not everyone appreciates a clever philosophically grounded root vegetable reference."

"Why would you being who you are bother me?"

"It will be lovely to see you again. I have missed you, and I don't have occasion to miss many people"

"today is about bravery"

Purchase Links

Series Purchase Links

Flat-Out Love - Amazon

Flat-Out Matt - Amazon

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.

Author Links: 

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