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Bookzilla

Ari Bookzilla

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Flat-Out Love - Jessica Park I'm not even going to lie, this book had me at Boston. I'll read just about anything set in Boston and if I don't like it, I will likely pretend I do because...it's Boston. That might make me book-shallow, but the good news is that the book itself blew me away and so I get to say nice things about it for other reasons than just its setting! However, I have to say that Jessica Park managed to turn my favorite city into a character of its own and I love her for that. Thank you, Jessica Park!I'm not even sure I want to be writing this review because I don't think I can do it justice.Let me start off by saying that the prose was beautiful. It keeps you engaged and I read it in one sitting (and zero sleep! I made the "one more chapter" mistake over and over again). It's not too long, so it can actually be read in one sitting.I loved the 3rd person POV, it's my favorite type of perspective and it's so rare in YA (and I guess NA, too) fiction. The dialogue was witty and fast and just all around perfect. The pace of the book is...it's not too fast, nor is it too slow, it's just right. Jessica Park is direct in her writing, and never deflects from what she is trying to say. I didn't feel a single thing was too much, or too little.Now I get to talk about my favorite thing. The characters. And I have to start out with FF. When an author makes a piece of cardboard a character more colorful than some authors do real people, that's when you know you've struck gold. Email/facebook banter with Finn plus the whole family and Julie's treating Flat Finn like a real person, he really did feel like a real person to me.Julie is so ~normal. When reading these types of books I usually expect a guarded, broken heroine, with tons of issues. I can't help it, it's just an instinct. So this surprised me, she is just your regular 18 year-old girl. I mean, sure, she had issues, but they weren't really that huge and I loved that! She wasn't broken, she didn't have major traumas, she was just normal. I loved her personality, a bit gullible, starry eyed, sharp wit and always optimistic. I think if I was in a bad mood this would be an instant upper for me.Oh, and I absolutely loved her thoughts on Twitter. I'm twitter illiterate so I completely agreed with her.I'm not sure what to say about Matt. The reader figures out right away what is going on, and I kind of resented him while absolutely loving him. Smart, good sense of humor, and such a strong character, carrying so much burden on his shoulders. I can actually relate to him taking care of his sister like that and I know how hard and exhausting it is to just put your life aside for someone else, which made him so real to me. It's just too much. I loved that we got to see a playful side to him, even if it was in the way we did.I loved the rest of the family too, Celeste's behavior seemed spot on in such circumstances, and I loved her quirkiness. You could tell that Roger and Erin were dealing with something in a very subdued way. And imagine living with that guilt, poor Erin. It broke my heart.Like I said, I did figure the Finn situation somewhere in the beginning. I mean, everything was way too weird and I figured it had to be something major, so either he's dead, or he's an imaginary friend (ditched that idea right away), or maybe he was in an institution somewhere or jail or something. I was fighting my own curiosity not to read the ending before I got to it. And it was written in a way that makes it easy for the reader to figure it out, while Julie not figuring it out was still believable.I felt so bad for Matt because he kept getting himself deeper and deeper into this mess and the longer and deeper he went into it, the worse I thought Julie would react. And I was sad for Julie because, even not really knowing Finn, Matt sort of did pull her into his family's grief and it was the saddest thing. It's great that in the end she did realize that it wasn't really Finn she fell in love with all along, but it doesn't change the fact that she thought she did only to have it all taken away from her. It almost seemed cruel. I actually thought she was very mature about it all, considering the circumstances. And I loved that she didn't get over it in a matter of days, because it wouldn't be realistic. These things do take time.I also need to talk about the elevator scene. A friend of mine on LJ said to me - "Read this book if only for the elevator scene" and can I just say that it did not disappoint? As a matter of fact, if the whole book was about the elevator scene, I would have been happy, that's how awesome it was. Classic. Re-read worthy. He almost convinced me to go skydiving, that's how good it was.I wish it didn't take me so long to give it a try, it's been a while since I liked a book so much. Laced with humor (I really did laugh out loud reading it!), wonderful, well rounded characters, it's a heartfelt, realistic story. There are things that will break your heart, but it's worth it in the end. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Jessica Park!