Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Celeste
by Jessica Park
Publication Date: May 22, 2014
Pages: 338
Source: WordSmithPublicity and Amazon
Purchase: E-Book / Paperback

from Goodreads

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 Thoughts

I became a huge fan of Jessica Park's writing with her novel, Flat-Out Love. My book club read it and raved about it. We read it over a year ago and it still comes up in our conversations time and time again. When Jessica announced that she was writing a book about Celeste, I was overwhelmed with excitement. Celeste was a memorable character who I adored so much.

Having finished the book, I am still left in a state of awe. Jessica's writing - her humor and depth of characters - make this book so fantastic. I loved getting to know Celeste as a senior in high school. I found her attempts to fit in and create a new identity hilarious and entertaining, but not at the expense of the character. I can't make fun of Celeste, that girl has my heart.

One thing that really stuck out to me was the attention that the author gave to all of Celeste's relationships. This wasn't just a story about Celeste and her potential love interest, Justin. Much emphasis was given the her relationship with her brother, Matt and her developing friendships with her classmates. We get to see Celeste navigate her world beyond her schoolwork and beyond herself. Even though this book is more than a love story, I do have to say that many of my favorite parts were the email exchanges and texts between Celeste and Justin. Celeste, with her affected speech, and Justin, with his stream of consciousness thought patterns, brought about many interesting conversations. 

The only regret that I have about reading Flat-Out Celeste was that I read it too fast. At one point I realized I'd read over 80% of the book and it was almost over. I needed to slow down and enjoy the journey I was on with Celeste and Justin. I know that I can always go back and read it again, but there is nothing more special that falling in love with a story as it unfolds word by word. 

There are so many things to love about this book, but what I loved most about the Flat-Out Celeste is the acknowledgment that:
  • it's OK to be who you are
  • it's OK to accept who you are, just as you are
  • it's OK to love who you are, without apologies
I don't think that a reader can have too many favorite books and Flat-Out Celeste has made the list. Really, there was no doubt. Jessica has given readers something really special with this book and I will recommend it to EVERYONE! LOVED IT!!!

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from Wordsmith Publicity in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. I have also purchased a copy of this title for my personal library. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. I LOVED Flat-Out Love so I was excited when I heard Celeste was getting her own book and we'll see more of Matt. Thanks for the great review! All these rave reviews make me want to buy a copy even more!

    Dea @ Teen Readers' Diary

    1. Buy it soon! And yes, while this is Celeste's story, we get a good dose of Matt.


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