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Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Celeste

by Jessica Park

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Una historia tierna, con tiernos personajes que tienen tiernas conversaciones... pero no pude hacer que me importaran.

Como historia rosa está bien, supongo. Pero esperaba más de la historia de Celeste. ( )
  Glire | Jun 22, 2016 |
Even though this goes against my normal 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. ( )
  Robert.Zimmermann | Oct 15, 2015 |
  englisherna | Apr 8, 2015 |
This is a companion novel to Flat-Out Love. (There is another, Flat-Out Matt, which I did not read.)

Celeste, who has Asperger Syndrome, is now 18 and a senior in high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In this book, we get to know Celeste more and the problems she has in dealing with social situations. And although she is quite attractive, she “knows” there is no boy who would war her once he got past her appearance.

Celeste is applying to colleges, and expects to go to one of the Ivy League schools and live at home. But as such a gifted student, she is also being recruited from elsewhere. She starts receiving emails from Justin Milano, a sophomore at Barton College in San Diego and a student liaison for the college. The emails are witty and Celeste begins a correspondence with Justin (interacting online is so much easier than in person). But even when they meet (Justin is from Massachusetts), they get along great. Justin is hyperactive, and probably has ADD, and both of them having a calming effect on each other. Moreover, Justin, aware from his own situation of what it is like to be different, is strongly insistent that there is no such thing as “normal.” But Celeste is too afraid.

Meanwhile, Celeste’s older brother Matt is no longer with Julie; they broke up two years ago when Julie left for a great job in California and Matt, studying at MIT, would not leave. Their relationship didn’t survive the separation.

Celeste and Matt are both broken, and both need to confront their tendencies to wall themselves off rather than make courageous leaps into the unknown.

Discussion: This is an appealing story, in spite of some glitches. For example, in Flat-Out Love Celeste was 13; now she is 18, but this story supposedly takes place only two years later. In addition, the author has Celeste commit a grammatical error it is unlikely she would ever do (laying instead of lying), and she uses “reticent” inappropriately. Celeste would know better.

There are also probably too many similarities between the Matt and Julie romance and the Justin and Celeste romance.

Evaluation: While this story is not quite as good asFlat-Out Love, it still has appeal. ( )
  nbmars | Sep 28, 2014 |
**This review is also posted on Deadly Darlings.

“I am choosing a love that defies boundaries and a life that defies boundaries. That is the power of Celeste.”
Do you guys know what I like about books most?? Nah? Well, it's those highly emotional reads where I can't help but get attached to the characters. The books that made me care, made me feel the emotions that the people in the book are feeling. Those books where when I'm nearing the end of that book, I read more slowly because I don't want to finish it yet. And of all of that is Flat-Out Celeste and more.

Everything started with Flat Out Love (which I also loved!). If you haven't read that book yet, go read it! What are you waiting for?

Celeste is in Flat Out Love as a side character. Even in that book, I liked her already. She's easy to sympathize with. She is special. She carried a cardboard image of her dead brother, Finn, everywhere she went. She dealt with her grief that way. She has social skills that some people will see as not normal. So she isolates herself most of the time.

Now after two years, she's a senior in high school. She has this theory that college will be better than high school. Justin, a liason on Barton College initiated an email correspondence with her. Then, without knowing it, she was actually comfortable around a stranger for the first time. She was hesitant at first but she took the needed baby steps to change. Now, she might finally learn to stop trying to blend in and start becoming who she really is, which is so much awesome.

“I refuse to be left behind in this world, so I need to catch up.”
Celeste, the main character, is just plain brilliant. At first, I was really weirded out by the way she speaks. I have my dictionary ready beside me since her choice of words is really deep and English is not my first language. She also doesn't use contractions.

But that is Celeste and I wouldn't change anything. She is scared and brave at the same time. She is not a "Mary Sue" character because she has flaws but those flaws make her more... real.

Well let's now focus on Justin, shall we? He is vibrant, outgoing and full of life. He always have A LOT to say. He doesn't do calm. In fact, he's a major klutz. Well, until he met Celeste. Cliche, you think? Yes, kind of, but it was surprisingly okay with me. In fact, I did not get the annoyed feeling I was expecting. All I got was the feels. Insurmountable amount of it. I found his babbling even adorable.

“I’m not letting my woman of salvation travel around the dangerous streets unaccompanied. #chivalryaintdeadbaby #sendhelp #sendshrimp #hashtagsgoneinsane #hashtagsdonotbelonginatext #whatever I’ll pick you up at 7, okay?”
How adorable is that?

The relationship between Celeste and Justin is slow-building. I like it that way. We get to see their ups and downs. I was giddy and heartbroken. Elated and melancholic. I experienced myriad of emotions, it's overwhelming. Sometimes, I think I prefer geeky guys over alpha ones. They're just so.. uncomplicated.

“Justin stirred, smiling even before his eyes were open. “Well, hello. This person reaching up my shirt better be who I think it is, or I’m gonna freak out.”

Celeste pulled her hand away quickly. “Sorry.”

“Oh good, it is you,” he murmured. “Why is there stopping? Why is there no more hand being all cute and awesome?”

And this book is not only about the romance. Since, Celeste always have a hard time interacting with people around her, she tried to get along, to make friends. It was hard for her but she tried. I am just so proud of her. This book is also about Celeste being out of her comfort zone.

I also liked how we get to see Matt and Julie again. I missed Matt's geeky shirts! I particularly like the one with: "Come to the nerd side. We have Pi." Matt and Julie were apart (that is not a spoiler since it's said in the early chapters) for 2 years but I think I understand why the author did it. It added to the force where Celeste finally sees the amazing side of her. I don't like that she sells herself short. Society's standards sucks sometimes. =_=

This book break me down and build me up. It's so hard to find a YA Contemporary Romance nowadays that stood out. Some books just repeat the same plot over and over again. But here? It's not like that. I think this book offered something more. After you read this one, you will always want to have foam on your coffee. Heh. ;)

Overall, this was truly a book to watch out for. Definitely recommended but be sure to read Flat-Out Love first.

Final Rating: 4.5/5 stars ( )
  margaraawr | Aug 8, 2014 |
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