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.
Just the sound of Matt’s voice made Celeste relax. She smiled at him. “Based on the smell, I believe you’re right.”
“So you didn’t eat then? I was right!” Matt flopped onto her bed and lay down, his long body scrunching up the neat white comforter that she spent ten minutes arranging before she’d gone to school this morning. “I thought I’d take a break from studying and bring you something edible.”
“It smells like a burger from Mr. Bartley’s,” she said as she got up and took a seat next to Matt. “Hand it over, thoughtful brother.”
He tightened a hand around the top of the bag. “You have to guess which kind I brought you first.”
“How am I supposed to know?”
“Close your eyes.”
She did as instructed and felt him move the bag under her nose. Sweet, spicy... a bit garlicky. “Aha! Boursin cheese and bacon! The Mark Zuckerberg burger!”
“And sweet potato fries and a bottle of iced tea, but you win. A burger named after ‘the richest geek in America,’ as the restaurant calls him.”
“You will be the richest geek in America after you finish your Ph.D. Program,” Celeste said through a mouthful of fries.
“If M.I.T. doesn’t land me in a psych unit first.”
“You only have this year left to endure. And you will hardly find yourself in need of psychiatric care, Matthew. You are doing stupendously.”
“I’m scraping by.” Matt reached into the bag and grabbed a handful of fries and opened her iced tea.
“You are not ‘scraping by.’ You are assistant teaching classes, excelling in your own, and in all ways performing to standards that exceed even the high ones our mother set for you.” She frowned as he chewed on the fries. “Did you not eat?”
“I did. A Big Papi burger and a Fiscal Cliff. But you can never have enough sweet potato fries.”
“I have a finite amount of my own from which you are stealing. But I shall not complain because this was very kind of you.”
Matt chewed and studied her. “Are you okay?”
“Why do you ask?”
“No contractions. When you’re stressed out, they disappear.”
“I know. But most days I do not care to use them. If it is an effort, then I do not push.”
“Okay. I get it.” He chewed for a minute. “I heard your presentation went well. Did your friends like it?”
“It went marvelously. My friend Dallas took me aside to share quite the flow of compliments.”
“That’s great, Celeste.” He was downing half her iced tea.
“And then I bitch slapped her.”
Matt choked on the drink and desperately tried to clear his airway. “I’m sorry. You did what?”
She cocked her head. “I bitch slapped her.”
“That... that can’t be right,” he sputtered. “I mean, I hope it’s not.”
“I slapped my hand against her hand. Up in the air.” She looked at Matt blankly. “Is that not the right term?”
“Thank God, no, it’s not. I think you mean a high-five.”
“If you say so. Well, either way, it happened. You know I have trouble with colloquialisms, so I resent your shocked reaction.”
“I do know that about you, and I apologize.”
“Since we are on the subject, there is something else I would like for you to clarify.”
“What is meant by ‘nut bag’? Is that a testicular reference or merely the identification of a satchel of cashews or pecans?”
Matt groaned. “This conversation has gotten really weird. Could we just talk about— Wait a minute. Why are you asking me this? Did someone say that to you?” He looked angry.
Celeste picked at her fry. “No. Certainly not. I heard the term and had a natural curiosity.”
“Okay then...” Her brother crumpled up the paper bag and then smoothed it out in his hands. Then crumpled it again. “It’s the same as ‘nuts.’ You know, crazy.”
“Thank you for the definition.” She took the last bite of her burger and wiped her hands on one of the paper napkins. It shouldn’t matter what her classmates thought of her. Celeste would just be strong about this. She would move on.
Once again, Jessica Park has written a novel that will entrance you from start to finish. Flat-Out Celeste is the latest installment in her Flat-Out Love Series and it is every bit as satisfying as Flat-Out Love and Flat-Out Matt. Fans of this series will not be disappointed as Jessica jumps into the future and tells the story of high school senior Celeste Watkins.
I fell in love with Celeste way back when I read Flat-Out Love. Her character is charming, quirky, and definitely unique. I was thrilled to finally get my hands on her story and piece together the inner workings of this brilliant gal. Despite all of the progress Celeste has made since being introduced in Flat-Out Love, she still has setbacks. It’s no mystery that she is different from her peers and her priorities are not the same as the “typical” high school senior. She’s on a mission to shed the alienation she’s faced in high school and find her niche before embarking on college life. Her journey is full of both hope and promise coupled with moments of heartbreak and disappointment. Jessica has molded this character who I struggle alongside even if her obstacles are not the same as mine were at her age. I couldn’t help but ache when Celeste did and smile when she triumphed.
Even though this is Celeste’s story, all of the beloved characters from the Flat-Out Series are back and play integral parts in how the plot unfolds. Sure, I could divulge spoilers and secrets and tell you all the dirt right here, but I want for you to experience each revelation and surprise for yourself. The dynamic between the characters is full of the witty banter you’ve come to expect from this bunch. There are also some serious heart-to-heart moments and plenty of romance that will sweep you off your feet. You will not be able to put this novel down.
I was enraptured by Flat-Out Celeste from the moment I opened the book. Jessica Park’s words embraced me and took me on an adventure that chipped away at my heart but also left me elated. The Flat-Out Love Series aren’t books you read, enjoy, and move on from. These characters become permanent fixtures in your heart and stay with you long after you’ve reached the end. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Flat-Out Love, Flat-Out Matt, or Flat-Out Celeste, you must get your hands on these stories and find out what you’ve been missing. Jessica Park has easily become one of my all-time favorite authors and anything she writes is a definite must read.
Wow! This book blew me away. I had read Flat Out Love over a year ago and absolutely loved. It was a love story unlike anything out there and still is. In preparation of Flat Out Celeste, I reread Flat Out Matt to get me back in the story. It wasn’t necessary to read it but since it had been a long time, I felt it was best for me.
I loved Celeste in Flat Out Love. She was a darling 10 year old who suffered a horrible loss. But in this book, she is eighteen and wise beyond her years. She is a senior in high school applying to colleges and trying to find her way in life. She is still the same quirky girl we love.
In Flat Out Celeste we watch as she meets a boy and falls in love. But of course the love story has times of self- doubt and self-loathing.
Justin is a college sophomore assigned to wooing Celeste to the college he attends. Over emails and texts, these two create a bond. He has his own quirks and he owns them. I fell totally in love with Justin. He was truly amazing and the way he was with Celeste really had me connecting with their story.
I loved that Jessica Park gave us Matt and Julie in this story. They had their own struggles and it was heart wrenching but amazing.
This book was about a journey. A wonderful and powerful journey of Celeste. She learned that she had a power of her own and to feel good about herself as she was and not who she thought she should be. It truly is an amazing lesson for all of us to read and apply in our own lives.
I absolutely LOVED this book! Definitely top 10 of the 2014 for me so far. Sometimes sequels can be disappointing but this one was one of the best I have ever read.
Every once in a while you come across a book that right from the beginning, seeps into your heart, makes you feel everything, and takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. For me any book that Jessica Park writes does that, especially Flat Out Celeste. This story was about growth, acceptance, love and a little bit of heartbreak. It was just amazing, even though I don’t feel that word does it justice.
We first meet Celeste in Flat Out Love as a 10 year old girl dealing with a tragic loss in a way that only she can. I absolutely loved her in Flat Out Love, but in Flat Out Celeste I fell completely in love with her. She is now 18, a senior in high school and is deciding which college to attend. While on the college journey she meets Justin. He is a college sophomore who is in charge of trying to get her to come to his college. Their interaction starts out through emails and gradually turns into an actual relationship.
After I finished this book I couldn’t stop smiling. The growth I saw in Celeste was….I’m just in awe by her. I savored every word in this book not wanting it to end. Jessica has a way with words that draws you in and not letting go even after you have finished with the book. They will stick with you forever.
Justin, I can say so much about him but I feel like it wouldn’t do him justice. He isn’t your typical rock hard, full of tattoos book boyfriend. He is sweet, sensitive, understanding and really just amazing.
I was so happy to see both Matt and Julie in this book. They have their own roadblocks in Flat Out Celeste that they needed to overcome. I didn’t think it was possible to fall even more in love with Matt but it happened. Seeing him in that big brother role again and protecting Celeste just melted my heart.
I can’t wait to read more of what Jessica Park writes. She has quickly become one of my one click authors. I will one click anything she writes the moment it is released.
PURCHASE--> FLAT-OUT LOVE and FLAT-OUT MATT on Amazon. FLAT-OUT LOVE at B&N.
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 jessicapark.me and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicapark and Twitter @JessicaPark24