“Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie’s off-campus housing falls through, her mother’s old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side … and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.
And there’s that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That’s because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie’s suddenly lonesome soul.
To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that … well … doesn’t quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.”
Today aspiring writers have many options available to them when traditional publishing houses are not willing to take a chance on them. They are able to self-publish their books as eBooks or books. One such book is “Flat Out Love” by Jessica Park. This is a story about Julie Seagle who has moved away from home to start college in Boston. When she loses her off campus housing, she is invited to stay with her mother’s old college roommate until she can work out her housing situation. It doesn’t take long for her to become drawn to the Watkins family, especially the three kids.
Matt is the middle Watkins who is an adorably geeky MIT student. Julie’s friendship with him becomes very special to her. Matt also enjoys spending time with Julie because she brings out a side of him that he doesn’t often reveal to others. Together they develop a fun, comfortable relationship. So much of the fun in this book revolves around the Facebook status updates of each of the characters. These Facebook updates at the beginning of each chapter are incredibly witty. In addition, Matt only wears funny T-shirts with quirky (or geeky) sayings.
At the same time, Julie begins a Facebook friendship with Finn, Matt’s older brother who is away from home “changing the world”. What starts out as an innocent long distant friendship transforms as Julie’s feelings for Finn develop into something more. Finn often uses Matt to do special things for Julie. Matt in turn seems all too willing to be his brother’s accomplice in doing special, attentive things for Julie. This unique friendship with the Watkins brothers proves to be crucial in her relationship with the Watkins.
Then there is the youngest Watkins, Celeste. She is an extremely intelligent, yet socially inept teenager. Julie takes her under her wing and tries to help her become a more socially conscious teen. What Julie cannot fathom is why Celeste insists on carrying a life-sized, flat, cardboard cutout of her brother Finn, and why the family does not want to do anything about it. She knows that there is more to this family than meets the eye.
Julie’s presence in the Watkins household has an amazing effect on the family and they in turn also help Julie come to terms with issues in her own life. Park creates characters in Julie and Matt that most people can relate to in some way. Especially enjoyable are Park’s vivid descriptions of the Boston area. She paints pictures with her words about areas that those unfamiliar with Boston can vividly imagine. She even includes the Baskin-Robbins from the movie “Goodwill Hunting”. Jessica Park has truly written a wonderful story about family, friendship, and love.
“If you can’t stop thinking about someone’s update, that’s called ‘status cling.'”
“I ‘Facebook like’ you, but I’m not IN ‘Facebook like’ with you.”
“The best way to hold a man is in your arms” – Mae West
“Normal people can become very annoying if put in annoying situations.”