Flat Out Celeste by Jessica Park
Mature YA. Can stand alone but part of a series.
It’s been almost 3 years since I read Flat Out Love. Before I ever started blogging. In fact, Flat Out Love by Jessica Park is one of the books that encouraged me to start Ana’s Attic. I wanted to share these amazing, unique books with as many people as I could. In three years, I can still say that Flat Out Love is one of my favorite reads. Unique, quirky, smart, heart warming and heart wrenching, I didn’t really want more–don’t mess with perfection and all that. It was perfect the way it was.
Then I read Flat Out Matt. Flat Out Matt wasn’t a complete story, just many of the scenes re-told from Matt’s POV, and again, Jessica Park made magic. But Celeste, one of my favorite female characters ever, growing up and headed to college? NOOOOOOO!!! Don’t fuck up the innocence of Celeste, one of my favorite characters ever!
Silly me, I should have trusted Jessica. Flat Out Celeste could not have been a more perfect story. In fact, I may have even loved it more than the first.
“There is magic in diversity. Without the Celestes, the world wouldn’t go round.”
Celeste is a senior in high school. She has grown into a beautiful young lady, but she knows she is different, very different.
“Celeste knew that, according to societal standards at least, she was attractive, but she didn’t quite understand why those standards existed in the first place. Her appearance had nothing to do with the strange creature that she was.”
“Lecherous stares are unwarranted, given my aberrant character”
She still rarely uses contractions, she is so ridiculously smart, her peers rarely know what she is talking about, and she spends her lunch periods hidden away, alone, imagining how different her life can be in college. Until a fellow classmate, Dallas, makes an effort to be her friend. And even recommends a smutty book to her!
“The black and white cover showcased a semi-naked man’s muscled torso, with barely an inch of skin that was not tattooed, clutching a woman in a clearly intimate embrace. “I see that they are on a motorcycle. I have concerns about where the handlebars might end up.”
Then Celeste gets an e-mail from the student liason from Barton college, a small liberal arts school way across the country in California. Celeste won’t fly, but the letters from the young male liaison have her interest piqued. Celeste has her choice of any Ivy League school, but they are all kind of blending together for her. She has been planning and working on college forever thinking that that would be “her time” but she is starting to realize that in college you still need a roommate and a social life, so she decides to change her image a bit.
I refuse to be left behind in this world, so I need to catch up.
She stops avoiding Dallas and develops a friendship.
“My friend Dallas took me aside to offer quite the list of compliments.”
“That’s great, Celeste.”
“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?”
She also develops an online e-mail/texting friendship with the awkward and very ADD Justin, the liaison from Barton. Just like Jessica did in Flat Out Love, the messages between the two were some of my favorite moments. Since Justin’s hometown is near Boston, he can meet Celeste during the holidays.
“Justin: I know where you live.
Justin: Wait, I didn’t mean that in a creepy way…
Justin: Hello? Oh gawd… Did I freak you out?
Justin: I just meant that I would know where to pick you up. And it’s not like I’d show in a van with the windows all blacked out. That’d be super creepy.
Justin: I drive a Prius. Justin: Nobody gets abducted in a Prius, right?”
I just loved the sweet innocence that the two had. Celeste has never really had a relationship outside of her family and Julie, but Justin has grown to accept and appreciate his own idiosyncrasies and in turn, he helps Celeste with her social fears.
“I have social difficulties. I do not always read situations properly. Or, more correctly, I do not always read people properly.”
“Maybe people don’t read you properly.”
“That is a generous way to see me.”
“It’s the only way to see you.”
Not only does Justin help Celeste, but she helps him as well.
“You’re calming for me. You can settle me somehow in a way that nobody else has. I can’t explain it.”
And the two of them together couldn’t have been more perfect.
“I’m going to kiss you. And I better do a good job because I want you to like it.”
“I feel quite sure that I will.”
“How could you know that?”
“Because it’s you.”
Jessica Park really did a great job working her quirky magic with Flat Out Celeste, and I couldn’t have loved it more.
“Sometimes you need someone else to believe in you, to carry you, until you can carry yourself. Let me carry you.”
- Matty’s nerd shirts are back.
- The sweet, silly e-mails.
- First love done right.
- Coffee art.
- Band tryouts.
- Celeste’s new friends.
- I smiled and laughed out loud many times.
- I just loved Justin.
- The underlying message throughout the whole book.
- Matt and Julie’s relationship. I thought I missed something and had to go back and read the end of the last book. Huh?
- I wish there was an epilogue.
“God, we’re all probably diagnosable. Look at the world around you. Look! We all have something. All of us. Every single person in this world has a quirk.”
Purchase Flat Out Celeste
a Rafflecopter giveaway