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on 26 August 2014
This is the first novel, I have read from this author and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

Celeste and Justin both had to struggle with what they considered to be shortfalls in their everyday life in different ways and yet when they met for the first time they felt this kinship.

As their paths ran completely in separately directions, neither of them envisaged that their paths would cross again. The terrible tragedy, which occurred in Celeste's life had an adverse effect on her family. Matt was a very supportive brother who was always there for her when she needed him. The whole story is very well written and the emotions felt very real. I found myself laughing out loud one minute and nearly in tears the next.

I feel that the message being put across in this novel could be beneficial to anybody. This is one, which I would recommend to those who like a good romance with unexpected twists. I know that this is one that I will read again.
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on 17 June 2014
Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love, #2) by Jessica Park
5 stars!!!

“You’re a lifesaver, Celeste.”
“No, you are my lifesaver, Justin.”

My love affair with this series began way back when Flat-Out Love was first released and was the start to my addiction to all books Jessica Park. Jessica has proven she can write the wit and the serious (see Left Drowning) and this book is a perfect balance of both. My affinity to Celeste has always been strong, like her I was the nerdy school girl, the loner and I never fitted in. While I like to think in the long run it never did me any harm, I couldn’t help but relate to Celeste’s plight both in Flat-Out Love and now Flat-Out Celeste. Throughout Flat-Out Love I was her biggest cheerleader so when Jessica revealed that Celeste was getting her own book I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I knew I would love it, if ever a character deserved their own book it was her and I was rooting for a HEA for our troubled school girl.

In Flat-Out Love, Celeste was at junior school, in Flat-Out Celeste we start with her completing her final year of high school and yes she is facing her biggest challenge yet… what university to go to. Yes the little girl has grown up, still super intelligent, super nerdy but trying her hardest to try and change and to make friends, she wants to begin her University life as the “new and improved” Celeste. Although in my opinion, she needn’t have changed, she was perfect just the way she was. Even though our Celeste was emotionally stunted and was still gravely lacking in social skills, throughout this book you were witnessing her slow realisation of her want to change, her need to change and then you watch her take the bull by the horns and try to change. No mean feat for a little girl that only really ever interacted with her brother Matt, his then time girlfriend Julie and to a small degree her parents and also our beloved Flat Finn.

Celeste could have the pick of any University she wanted, being wise beyond her years and a grade A student, all the top Universities were vying for her to pick them. Imagine her surprise when out of the blue she receives an email from another University she hadn’t even approached. The email was from Justin Milano their liaison officer, he was a sophomore. It soon became apparent that he was just as socially inept and awkward as she was. You could tell just from their first initial emails that he was her soul mate, the ying to the yang, the sun to the moon, they couldn’t have been more perfect for each other, but would either of them see that, would their social awkwardness rule or would they both be finally able to spread their wings and fly, could they do the impossible?

“Yet, in terms of dating, if males are drawn to me for my appearance, they are soon discouraged by my other qualities. Eccentricities, of which I know I have many, do not hold universal sexual and romantic lure. I understand that.”

I have to say that Jessica Park did Celeste proud with this book; I never would have thought I could have loved her any more than I already did. She was like my little sister, I wanted to nurture her, I wanted to smother her with cuddles and kisses and prove to her that she was beautiful, she was perfect just the way she was. She never needed to change, her character was infectious, her dry sense of humour and her mannerisms were all unique to her, they made Celeste the beautiful character that she was and I wanted more and more than more is what I got, I was deliriously happy.

Justin was just totally adorable, awkward, clumsy and so romantic. He shared the same level of humour as Celeste, the same intellectual aptitude, similar quirks and they were so perfect for each other. Right from the very start, their very first email exchanges I knew that he was the one for her, they were just sooooooo cute, I was championing them from the start, but as you know, nothing ever runs smooth and these two are going to need to face some challenges full on. They need to push their boundaries and their comfort zones and I was with them all the way, pushing and pushing and pushing.

“I am staggered by you. I am intoxicated by you. I think about you way more than I should. I want to get to know you as much as possible, but you have to let me. I mean, if that’s what you want. Maybe you think I’m a huge jerk, and maybe you’re done with me. So tell me that if you need to…but please don’t, because I desperately want to take you out tonight.”

Matt and Julie also star in this book and it was great to catch up with these two, I just don’t want this series to end, I love it too hard. Once again Jessica has pulled me in with her unique story telling abilities, the quirk, the humour, the wit and the way she brings the characters to life. No longer are they characters on a page, but they are real life people to me, while reading I became totally submersed in their story, I was there with him, I lived it, I breathed it and I devoured it.

This is a story about finding your way in life, learning to live it for what and who you are, live it your way, stamp your imprint and make it count, don’t change for no-one, you are what you are, quirks and all, there is someone in life for all of us, it just may take a leap of faith to find them, grab them with both hands and don’t let go, make the most of what you have been given and just be happy.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

This is a series that will stay with me for a long time and one that I will never forget. So if you haven’t jump on board the crazy Flat-Out Love train, give it a try, it is YA at its best, it will have you laughing, it will have you crying, but most of all it will have you feeling and loving, it is a joy to read and one that I will read again and again and again.

“This confusing, overwhelming, daunting world. The one that she imagined might one day swallow her whole.”

Once again, awesome job Jessica Park, I seriously want more from this crazy family, please I am begging you, write MORE!!!
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on 24 May 2014
Well, what can I say? Jessica Park has done it again! I loved Flat-Out Love and Flat-Out Matt so I was thrilled when I heard Jessica was writing Flat-Out Celeste. And the wait was well worth it. What a book! I love Celeste, I have since FOL, I lover her quirkiness, the way she speaks, and just who she is as a person. In this book we not only get to see Celeste being her normal wonderful self, but we also get to see her grow.
I laughed A LOT! And I also cried. It's not often I get a book that makes me both laugh, and cry, and that's why FOC has taken it's rightful place as my new favourite book.
I can guarantee I'll be reading this book again within a few days. And I can also guarantee I'll be putting hashtags in my text messages from now on.
Jessica Park, you smashed it!
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on 24 May 2014
Jessica Park has the ability to make you love and care for the characters she creates and totally believe in their story. She has created the most beautifully flawed amazing people which I completely relate to. I can't recommend this book enough, but be prepared to laugh, cry and be extremely sad when the book ends, not because it's a bad ending, but because you feel like your saying goodbye to really good friends and you really want to know what they do next.

Loved it, can't recommend this book (and all of Jessica Park's books) highly enough.
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on 28 August 2014
I was given this book by a friend, being a 38 year old who scoffs at love stories I did not hold out much hope. However I have just devoured this lovely little book. In the last four hours I have laughed and cried - I mean seriously sobbed like a loon. I have rarely rooted for a character quite as much as I did Celeste, she was written with such honesty and love. A really great book.
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on 28 May 2014
Well what a total gem of a book. I didn't think it possible to love Celeste any more than I aready did, but Jessica totally pulled it off, and created THE best companion for her in Justin. A totally beautiful, enchanting, charming story. Recommend 100%.
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on 26 May 2014
Jessica has done it again !! I really was looking forward to celeste's story and this book really did not disappoint. The characters are loveable and the story heartwarming. This book will be on my repeat read list.
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on 10 October 2014
This picks up 5 years after Flat-out Love. I don't think you could read this as a standalone.
Celeste is 18 and choosing a college. She's still quirky and socially isolated, but she's conscious about what she thinks are her social shortcomings and makes a determined effort to be more like everyone else. It's funny and witty but a little bit heartbreaking at the same time. She starts receiving emails from a college sophomore who's trying to encourage her to consider a little known college that values individuality over academic brilliance instead of the ivy league colleges that are clamouring for her wisdom. Justin is every bit as sweet, witty and beautiful as Celeste. He's also a social disaster area.
This is a chaste and sweet story of her first romance with a guy who's as quirky and unusual as she is.
There's lots of Matt time and we get to find out where he is five years on from Flat-out Love.
The ending was a little saccharine for my taste and the moral of 'difference is good' was hammered home, but it was an easy read with lots of sweet and funny moments. Probably something my 15-year-old self would've loved more, but still worth a read if you enjoyed Flat-out Love.
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on 23 May 2014
Even though this goes against my reviewing norms, I have to say that I flat-out LOVED this book. Yea, cheesy I know, but it's true. Like the books I've read from Park in the past, this one has also blown me away. I read Flat-Out Love, and it's companion Flat-Out Matt last year as an introduction to Park's work. Those two books, to this day, have stuck with me for their characters, story, and more.

When I first heard that Jessica Park was taking one of my favorite characters from FOL and giving that character her own book...I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Celeste, Matt's sister, was a big reason why I enjoyed the other books. She, like the rest of the Watkin's family, went through major trauma and developed some issues from that. In FOL we see her in her early teens, and while we sympathize with her, we don't get her POV really.

Now, in Flat-Out Celeste, Celeste is a senior in high school. She also still has major anxiety in social situations, no friends, and the pressure of trying to be as "normal" as she can be. It's not easy, though we can see early on that she's changed since we first met her. Her peculiarities (and the fact that she still doesn't use contractions often, if at all) made her easy to sympathize with, while not being one to pity. Park created Celeste to be an oddball, but she's more than that. I think readers can see themselves to an extent in the character. No one's perfect. Many people have some thing that causes anxiety, especially in social situations. Following along with Celeste as she deals with a first love and the pressure of choosing a college brought it all home in a way. Even though she might exhibit her quirks in an extreme way, I felt I could relate to much of what she was feeling and much of what was going through her mind.

Justin Milano was also a great character. In many ways he was the opposite of Celeste, while having his own quirks. I found the chemistry between them perfect, and that alone would have made a great story. We also get to enjoy Matt, with his great collection of geeky shirts, and some other secondary characters new and old.

If I continue, I run the risk of either fan-girling too much or spoiling the book, or both. Fans of Flat-Out Love are likely to love this book, as well. Even new readers could pick this one up and enjoy it, but for the full effect, I'd recommend reading FOL first. I loved seeing Celeste's character grow. I think it has a great romance element, but there's an even more important message about fitting in and being comfortable with who you are that I think Park presented in an expert way through her out of the ordinary characters. FOC is already one of my favorite books of the year and will be tough to top.
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on 29 May 2014
Well this book has placed me in a book funk. Sure I've had plenty of book hangovers but this one leaves me unsure of what to read next.

This book made my heart hurt, then it made my heart smile. I love this book.

Celeste has always held a special place for me with the other two Flat-Out installments but this one obviously goes a lot deeper. It broke my heart to be inside her head, struggling socially, clearly suffering her isolation and lying to her family.

I hurt for my son imagining him growing up with the same social struggles and so perhaps I can relate in some way. I wanted to go and wrap cotton wool around her and this book really makes you understand why Matt does, even if she has become his crutch.

I love Justin, what a sweetheart!!

It's awesome to see Matt and Julie again and revisit their story. But Celeste takes centre stage and in the most beautiful way. When we hit the part involving flat Finn, whilst my heart broke, I honestly don't think Jessica Park could have come up with anything more fitting and powerful as a turning point.

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