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.
Astonished, amazed, inspired… Flat-Out Celeste is a quite simply put…a masterpiece. Jessica Park has managed to make me fall in love all over again with this amazing series. She is brilliant and I am in awe. This is an absolute must-read!
Let me backtrack a bit and come clean. When I first read Flat-Out Love, book one in this extraordinary series. I wasn’t sure of my feelings. In fact, I do believe my initial reaction was, “entertaining and hilarious, but predictable.” Now wait, don’t fret, I was a moron and I’ll be the first to admit it. My ridiculous reasoning at the time is not even worth mentioning…yet as time passed I still couldn’t get this book out of my head…it took a couple of weeks for me to realize I was a complete idiot and I actually rather loved this book. So, what did I do next you ask? Well, I reread it of course. On second glance…ok, it was a bit more than a glance…more like a thorough examining, but all I could think is, “this Jessica Park lady is brilliant.” She made me love all the characters and when Flat-Out Matt was released I was overjoyed and once again…I fell in love. The announcement of Flat-Out Celeste put me over the moon. I was elated and I didn’t even know what to expect, all I knew is I had to have it. I was captivated with Celeste’s quirky personality since Flat-Out Love. Of course I had questions, what had become of this eccentric yet brilliant girl? Had she developed better social skills? Did she make more friends? Would she fall in love? I needed answers and I needed them like yesterday!
See, Jessica Park doesn’t just draw you in with her writing, she makes you fall in love…you actually want to live in these books and know more about every single person you encounter. I fell in love and connected with Celeste from the very first book and I needed more. The wait was grueling, but when I finally had my hands on Flat-Out Celeste, I devoured EVERY…SINGLE…WORD. Celeste is highly intelligent, but she has rarely allowed emotions to rule her or get in the way of important decisions. This book highlights her struggles to fit in, her path to both finding love and self-love. Celeste’s story is one that you may relate to on different levels. She is quite unique and there are discernible differences between her and many others characters, however, at the core, her battles aren’t so very different than those that many others face. The awakening that Celeste experiences in this book is life changing. She grows, loves, learns and experiences the world in a way that makes you appreciate the struggles. And while Celeste’s story takes up a great deal of the book her story wouldn’t be complete without Matt and Julie. Woohoo…so, yeah, you’ll see their return and hopefully appreciate the way things unfold.
Flat-Out Celeste lived up to all my expectations and then some. I won’t go and repeat the synopsis or summarize the book. I want you to experience this book for all that it is. It’s an extraordinary story with a beautiful and powerful message. Celeste is a character you won’t soon forget. Her story is one that is beautiful, heartbreaking and incredibly brave. I laughed, I cried and I fell hopelessly in love…again.
I could go on and on about this book and the series, but I want you to read this through so I’ll end by saying this book is beyond my greatest expectations. Jessica Park gives life to characters in a quirky and absolutely endearing manner rendering you speechless at times. The wit, humor and raw honesty in her writing is powerful and evocative. This book takes you on an incredible journey with a reminder that sometimes different is perfect and sometimes all you need is the perfect person to help you find your way. I give this book a gazillion stars…yeah I said it, it’s really that good! Go forth and read my friends this one is a must-read for all!
PS: I hope there will be more to the Flat-Out Love Series…I need more like now…hook me up to a Flat-Out Love IV. I fear I may not survive without it…seriously…ok maybe I won’t die…or maybe I will…why even risk it Jessica? Take me out of my misery…just say there will be more…pretty please with a cherry on top! 😉
*This was an ARC provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and comments are my own.*
There was a knock at the door and Matt leaned in, swinging a brown paper bag in her direction. “I heard Mom made stuffed peppers tonight. Last time she made those, I nearly died from flatulence. I assume she stuffed them with her usual repulsive ground chicken, quinoa, Brussels sprouts, and pomegranate seed mix?”
Just the sound of Matt’s voice made Celeste relax. She smiled at him. “Based on the smell, I believe you’re right.”
“So you didn’t eat then? I was right!” Matt flopped onto her bed and lay down, his long body scrunching up the neat white comforter that she spent ten minutes arranging before she’d gone to school this morning. “I thought I’d take a break from studying and bring you something edible.”
“It smells like a burger from Mr. Bartley’s,” she said as she got up and took a seat next to Matt. “Hand it over, thoughtful brother.”
He tightened a hand around the top of the bag. “You have to guess which kind I brought you first.”
“How am I supposed to know?”
“Close your eyes.”
She did as instructed and felt him move the bag under her nose. Sweet, spicy… a bit garlicky. “Aha! Boursin cheese and bacon! The Mark Zuckerberg burger!”
“And sweet potato fries and a bottle of iced tea, but you win. A burger named after ‘the richest geek in America,’ as the restaurant calls him.”
“You will be the richest geek in America after you finish your Ph.D. Program,” Celeste said through a mouthful of fries.
“If M.I.T. doesn’t land me in a psych unit first.”
“You only have this year left to endure. And you will hardly find yourself in need of psychiatric care, Matthew. You are doing stupendously.”
“I’m scraping by.” Matt reached into the bag and grabbed a handful of fries and opened her iced tea.
“You are not ‘scraping by.’ You are assistant teaching classes, excelling in your own, and in all ways performing to standards that exceed even the high ones our mother set for you.” She frowned as he chewed on the fries. “Did you not eat?”
“I did. A Big Papi burger and a Fiscal Cliff. But you can never have enough sweet potato fries.”
“I have a finite amount of my own from which you are stealing. But I shall not complain because this was very kind of you.”
Matt chewed and studied her. “Are you okay?”
“Why do you ask?”
“No contractions. When you’re stressed out, they disappear.”
“I know. But most days I do not care to use them. If it is an effort, then I do not push.”
“Okay. I get it.” He chewed for a minute. “I heard your presentation went well. Did your friends like it?”
“It went marvelously. My friend Dallas took me aside to share quite the flow of compliments.”
“That’s great, Celeste.” He was downing half her iced tea.
“And then I bitch slapped her.”
Matt choked on the drink and desperately tried to clear his airway. “I’m sorry. You did what?”
She cocked her head. “I bitch slapped her.”
“That… that can’t be right,” he sputtered. “I mean, I hope it’s not.”
“I slapped my hand against her hand. Up in the air.” She looked at Matt blankly. “Is that not the right term?”
“Thank God, no, it’s not. I think you mean a high-five.”
“If you say so. Well, either way, it happened. You know I have trouble with colloquialisms, so I resent your shocked reaction.”
“I do know that about you, and I apologize.”
“Since we are on the subject, there is something else I would like for you to clarify.”
“What is meant by ‘nut bag’? Is that a testicular reference or merely the identification of a satchel of cashews or pecans?”
Matt groaned. “This conversation has gotten really weird. Could we just talk about— Wait a minute. Why are you asking me this? Did someone say that to you?” He looked angry.
Celeste picked at her fry. “No. Certainly not. I heard the term and had a natural curiosity.”
“Okay then…” Her brother crumpled up the paper bag and then smoothed it out in his hands. Then crumpled it again. “It’s the same as ‘nuts.’ You know, crazy.”
“Thank you for the definition.” She took the last bite of her burger and wiped her hands on one of the paper napkins. It shouldn’t matter what her classmates thought of her. Celeste would just be strong about this. She would move on.
More Book By Jessica Park
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About the Author:
Jessica is the author of LEFT DROWNING, the New York Times bestselling FLAT-OUT LOVE (and the companion piece FLAT-OUT MATT), and RELATIVELY FAMOUS. She lives in New Hampshire where she spends an obscene amount time thinking about rocker boys and their guitars, complex caffeinated beverages, and tropical vacations. On the rare occasions that she is able to focus on other things, she writes.
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