Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Review: Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2) by Jessica Park
Publisher: Flat Finn, Inc.
Publication date: May 22nd 2014
My rating:  4 stars
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 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.

My Thoughts:

I loved Flat-Out Love and Flat-Out Matt with is clever humor, unexpected romance and quirky family. So I was thrilled to dive back into this world with Celeste, the youngest Watkins, now all grown-up. 

Celeste, Matt’s little sister was beyond her years smart, loveable, but socially awkward in Flat-Out Love. Celeste, as well as the rest of the family were on the verge of a total meltdown after suffering an unimaginable loss. Julie (Matt’s love interest) was instrumental in their road to healing and in the years that have since past, the Watkins family has made many positive strides. Yet, Celeste is still smart beyond her years and socially awkward, painfully so. 

When we meet up again with Celeste, she’s in her senior year of high school, just trying to survive without capturing too much attention because she has such a hard time fitting in socially.  Celeste realizes all the situations she tries to avoid will only become more of a problem in college so she comes up with a plan to reinvent herself which leads to some pretty hilarious results!  

Celeste is also trying to decide on a college.  All the Ivies have courted her so she basically has her pick, but when the student liaison, Justin, from Barton College in San Diego emails her, Celeste’s world begins to change and open up.  They begin a charming and wacky email exchange that she quickly becomes addicted to. Justin’s outgoing, all over the place messages beguile and attract her and when Justin comes back home for Thanksgiving break they meet up and the sparks fly!

Celeste finds herself completely enamored with Justin on every level, he’s gorgeous and their personalities just click. He’s not completely what you’d call cookie cutter normal either which is perfect for Celeste. Until Justin, Celeste gave up on any hope of having a boy friend, not because she wasn’t appealing to the opposite sex, but because when she opened her mouth all chances end. Most find her weird, but Justin is utterly fascinated by her.

I loved that Celeste didn’t make a dramatic personality change to find the right person for her. This story underscored the idea that there is someone out there for everyone.  It was heartening to see Justin’s positive effect on Celeste and vice versa. Their connection and relationship gave her a little confidence boost to muster up courage enough to open up and let others in.  

He was so beautiful, this boy, in all senses of the word. He made her feel raw and exposed and vulnerable, but in doing so, he was healing her and empowering her. She knew that.

Justin was just completely lovely: open, honest, full of energy and love. He was all over the place, but Celeste brings a focus and calm into his existence, and they seem to bring out the best parts in each other.

The romance was sweet, and oh-so-swoony! I have to say it had one of the best first kisses I’ve ever read! Oh, my stars!

“My heart is pounding. Do you feel that? You make me so nervous, but I’m so comfortable at the same time. I don’t know how to make sense of those two things happening at the same time.”
“Why are you nervous?”
He squeezed her hand. “Because I’m going to kiss you.”

Flat-Out Celeste brought back the Flat-Out world perfectly!  Jessica Park captivated me with her quirky brand of humor interspersed with heartbreaking moments, and a romance that melted my heart!

Favorite Matt geeky T-shirt:
Dear Algebra, Stop asking us to find your X. She’s not coming back.

The Flat-Out Love series:
(click on title for Goodreads link)

Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love, #1)  Flat-Out Matt (Flat-Out Love, #1.5)  Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love, #2)

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.

Please visit her at and on Facebook at and Twitter @JessicaPark24



  1. I love college romances and I'd love to meet Celeste :) Heh! Justin really sounds like a keeper! I'm so glad these two fit so well together. AND YAYYYY SWOONY ROMANCES ARE THE BEST!!! So happy this was a hit for you, love :)

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  3. I LOVED Flat-Out Love and the other two in the series sound just as charming and awesome! Justin sounds perfect for Celeste and YAY for wacky email exchanges! Need to read this and Flat-Out Matt sooon

  4. I haven't read any of Jessica Park's books except for Left Drowning which was totally intense! HAHA Have you read it?

    I've heard awesome things about Jessica, her writing is phenomenal and her stories are deep. Glad you got to enjoy it! I'm gonna read her other books soooooon.

  5. I haven't read any of this series but it sounds quite adorable. I love when the romance just *works* and is still fun and quirky.

  6. I've heard so many good things about this series, Rachel, but I'm hesitant to even start it because it's written in 3rd person POV and I don't typically enjoy contemporaries written in 3rd person. Still, these characters and the romances sound fantastic.
    I'm happy you had so much luck with this installment too! :)

  7. Celeste was my favorite character in Flat Out Love so I'm excited she got her own book! I'm so glad Celeste doesn't change who she is to fit in, and that instead the author decided to focus on the message that there's someone out there for everybody. I love that! Great review =)

  8. I really need to read these! I love that Celeste doesn't change to find someone; I like the idea that everyone has someone out there...since I'm fairly weird and awkward myself. haha


  9. Oh Rachel, you have me so anxious to give this series a try! I love your review!

  10. I'm so happy you loved this follow up to Flat Out Love. I adored Celeste in that and I'm excited for her to grow up and get her own romance. For some reason I'm frightened of this book, because I hear some bad things happen to Julie and Matt, and I'm not sure I can stand the angst. I just want to imagine them happy like they were before! But Justin sounds pretty intriguing, so I may have to read this anyway.

    1. They're story is very secondary and all works out, Lauren. No worries! :)

  11. I loved Matt's t-shirts! That was one of my favourite ones too. ;) And I was also really pleased that Celeste didn’t make a dramatic personality change here, but I loved the way Justin helped her grow on her own. That first kiss! It was definitely one of the cutest that I've read. Great review, Rachel!

    1. I'm so excited you read and enjoyed this, Sam! I was very pleased that JP stayed so true to Celeste's character. I need more Matt t-shirts, love them! :)


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