Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica ParkFlat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park
Series: Flat-Out Love, #2
Published by CreateSpace on May 22nd 2014
Pages: 336
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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.
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.

I’ve always wondered what it took to plumb the maladjusted depths of Celeste. The answer, it seems, is revealed in Flat-out Celeste, the sequel to Jessica Park’s first 2 books, where Celeste finally makes her way out of high-school and into college.

But brushing off her own stiff weirdness (at least to her classmates) wasn’t something she’d given much thought to, until it becomes apparent that she’d be expected to part of the extreme social interactions of college life. The quest to reinvent herself and the attempts to do so are painfully but hilariously disastrous…and yet, at the end of the line is a boy whose flightiness and strangeness complements her own dysfunction and deliberate detachment from the world at large.

I’d adored Matt and Julie’s story (and was alarmed to find out here that it didn’t quite work out for them at all) but didn’t hesitate to pick this one up to see where it led me. But like many coming-of-age books, I’m wary of the extremes of emotional states and the exaggerations that come with the narrative. By the end of the book, I wasn’t entirely convinced about Celeste, whose particular combination of quirks has always and as I’ve just found out, still rub me the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong; there were extremely funny bits but they couldn’t outweigh the ongoing melodrama and the pseudo-teenage philosophical platitudes that kept coming in relentless waves up until she got together with Justin. And though the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to signal Celeste’s own HEA, I still found actually thinking that I wanted more of Matt and Julie – who were supposed to be peripheral characters here – in a book that wasn’t supposed to be theirs.