Friday, May 23, 2014

Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out #2) by Jessica Park

From Amazon

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


***ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.***

**SPOILER Warning** While I try my hardest not to include spoilers in my reviews, this is a follow-up story to Flat-Out Love it would be hard to discuss this book without referencing events from the first book. If you haven't yet read Flat-Out Love, then you might not want to read further.

In Flat-Out Love, we met Celeste Watkins as a delightfully clever young girl. It was obvious from the start that something was not quite "normal" about her.  She was awkward in her dress & the way she talked, and most of all, she carried around a life-sized cardboard boy with her everywhere she went. Throughout the story, we got to watch her grow & even though she was a supporting character, I found myself wanting more of her every time she left the page.  I found her awkwardness & formal speech patterns to be charming & my heart broke for her as she struggled to fit in & even more when it became apparent why Flatt Finn became part of her life.  As some of those scenes were expanded on in Flat-Out Matt, she dug her way even deeper into my heart.  

With Flat-Out Celeste, we get to see her as a young woman facing the challenges and joys of high school & first love.  It didn't take any time at all to be drawn back into this world.  Everything that I love about FOL is back.  Matt & Celeste together are fantastic.  And Justin. . .nobody creates sweet boys like Jessica Park. Forget the Alpha Male craze, this is my kind of book boyfriend!  I could gush, use the word love about 14 more times, or even go so far as to use the bad cliche of saying that I Flat-Out Loved this story, but when I closed the book, the only word that came to mind was. . .perfect.  Just perfect.

I haven't laughed so hard while reading a book in a long time, and it has been even longer since a book came this close to making me cry.  I kept finding myself putting my kindle down & walking away from it.  Not because I wanted to stop reading, but because I didn't want it to end.  I wanted to stall the moment when I would have to say goodbye to these characters. I wish someone could have given this story to me when I was an awkward 18 year old girl struggling to find myself in a world where I just didn't seem to fit.  As it is, I am glad I had the chance to experience it now, as an often awkward 34 year old woman who still struggles more than I like to admit.

Thank you Jessica!  Even though you could have stopped with Flat-Out Love & we would have loved you. You knew we wanted Flat-Out Matt and needed Flat-Out Celeste. I look forward to meeting whoever you create next!

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