Julie Seagle panics when her housing falls through the day she gets to Boston from Ohio, ready to start college. Before she knows it, she’s being whisked away to a her mom’s old room mate, Kate’s, house, where to meets the rest of the Watkins, who are a little less than pleased at her staying there- indefinitely.
There’s Roger, Kate’s husband, who is rarely at home. Then there’s Matt, Kate’s son who is a certified geek studying at MIT. Then there’s Celeste, Kate’s teenage daughter who speaks like she is the dictionary. She also drags around a cutout of her older brother, Finn, who is travelling abroad. There’s something off about the Watkins, but Julie can’t seem to figure it out.
One night, she messages Finn to ask him what’s going, and she gets a message back, thus beginning a regular correspondence. As Julie learns more about Finn and his adventures overseas, she can’t help but fall deeper in love with him But there are things that Finn is hiding is too, things that might change everything when Julie finds out.
This was such a cute book! I first heard of Flat Out Love on Natalie’s blog, and the concept sounded so cute and romantic that I had to put it on hold right then. And when I finally got it yesterday, I couldn’t help but read the first page, even thought I’m reading something else, and fall flat out in love with the story.
The story reminds me a lot of You’ve Got Mail; it features two individuals who’ve never met who email each other almost daily. But the book isn’t only comprised of Julie and Finn’s messages. Instead it is filled with the story of a dysfunctional family and a girl who thinks she can fix them.
Julie has always been known as a nerd since she was little; her high school friends didn’t really understand her passion for studying and for school, and so she hopes to become herself when she moves to Boston for college. But when her housing arrangements fall through, she’s forced to stay with a family friend, and her family. Right off the bat, Julie notices that there is something not completely normal about the Watkins; the parents are hardly ever there, and Matt, a college junior who should be out having fun and going to parties, is always at home watching his 13-year old sister, Celeste, who drags around a cutout version of their older version, Finn.
Julie feels like she can fix this family, can fix Celeste, even though she’s running from own family problems. I appreciated the fact that there was depth to Julie; she wasn’t just bent on helping the Watkins for the sake of it, there was a bit of her history lurking in the background which made her want to fix a family that still had a chance of being fixed, unlike hers.
Matt was probably my favourite character. Him and Juie hit it off right away, as she makes fun of his geeky t-shirt. He’s funny, kind, but a little closed off; he’d do anything for Celeste, and he’s more than a little miffed when Julie begins her plan to get Celeste to open up and become like other teenagers. He’s grouchy and moody, and sometimes Julie doesn’t get him, but as she spends more time with him, she can’t help but grow attached to him.
Finn and Julie’s messages were funny and heart warming; it was here that we learned more about Julie as she wrote about her dreams and wishes to Finn, a guy she’s never met but feels like she knows so well.
The ending of the story was a tad bit predictable; I could see some of the signs from far away, but naturally Julie couldn’t. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable watching Julie fumble through her relationship with Finn and Matt and the rest of the Watkins, trying to figure out what’s knowing on.
Light and cute, Flat Out Love reads like your favourite romantic comedy, complete with a strong heroine, a dashing hero, and second lead who just might steal the girl away. I absolutely loved it!
So for that: 4.5/5.
Thanks for reading,