CELESTE FEST ~ A celebration of all things FLAT-OUT CELESTE by Jessica Park! (Reni's Review and Other Goodies...)

by Jessica Park
Release date: May 22, 2014
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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.. 

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.

We were challenged to have a little Celeste Fest fun. Nothing says I loved the book like dying your hair pink,  curtsying at a rest stop in Florida, and creating terrible coffee foam art for your family to ridicule. (I only posted one picture... Just know that there were many misshaped foam creations. You should be thankful that I am not subjecting you to them.) I LOVED Flat-Out Celeste. In fact, you can read my full review below these terrible Polaroid pictures. (Are you singing the Outkast song? 'Cause I am...) 

On a side note: I've never wished I had unicorn socks more than at this very moment in time. This calls for an intense internet search for just the right pair...


#AnchoredinFoam                                                                      #Curtsylikeyoumeanit

My initial plan of action was to write this review as Celeste would. There would be absolutely no contractions, causing the review to sound dignified, kind of like a sophisticated robot. Then I realized that I am much more of a Justin. I babble on and on about anything and everything. Justin is more my speed. Not like an actual speed. I’m not sure how fast the average U.S. male (or female) walks. Seeing as he’s from Boston it’s probably pretty fast. City dwellers tend to walk with a sense of purpose. My husband says that walking is a lost art. That’s usually as he’s trying his best not to elbow said people on the way to his final destination while dragging me behind him. He’s right. Walking is a lost art… #Walkingtakespractice #Howfastistoofast #Thelostartofwalking

See? So much more of a Justin…

When I first picked up Flat-Out Celeste, I wasn't sure I’d like it. For shame! After adoring Flat-Out Love for so long how could anything compare? Julie and Matt were just so perfect for one another. *insert dreamy sigh* Oh crud, I hope you’ve read Flat-Out Love; if you haven’t, you need to get on that. (And disregard the sentence before that last sentence. I’m hopped up on caffeine from practicing pretty foam pictures in my coffee froth.) Celeste was kind of this quirky kid back then. She was young - we’re talking early teen years here - and while an extremely important character, she wasn’t exactly front stage material. Waaaaay back then, Celeste needed to carry around a cardboard cutout of her brother, Finn.  It seems odd, I know, but that’s part of what makes Celeste…Celeste. She’s unique, quirky, and supremely intelligent.

Fast forward five or so years and Celeste is a senior in high school. She’s started checking out colleges, Ivy League, big name schools. Imagine her surprise when some guy from a no-name school in California contacts her. The student turns out to be a little quirky himself. They begin exchanging emails and *poof* a relationship of sorts is born. 

Now, it’s important to mention that for a while throughout the book, Celeste is trying to “find herself”. That’s probably not the right term. It’s like she’s trying to fit in… When you’re different and you so desperately want acceptance, you’ll do some pretty interesting things to find it.

“You know the expression that love makes the world go ‘round? That might be true, but love comes from the way differences interact. How personalities interact. How we bounce off each other, challenge each other, and how we push and pull. It’s through those tensions that we connect with others and with ourselves. And it’s how we fall in love. Because there is magic in diversity. Without the Celestes, the world wouldn’t go ‘round. Do you see that?”

I was completely fine through 80% of the novel and then WHAM, I wasn’t.  We’re talking puffy eyed, snot filled, ugly crying. When something is revealed to Celeste, it was more than I could take. I could feel her heart breaking. Mine broke right along with it. During that moment, remember that things will get better. Just. Keep. Reading.

The gist of it all is to learn to love yourself for who you are, in the place where you stand. Flat-Out Celeste is about embracing your quirks, loving the person that resides within your skin, and taking a chance on life and love. It’s about learning to be happy. Needless to say, I LOVED this book. It’s more than a book, it’s a lesson, and those are the best kind of stories. (Plus, there’s mention of Unicorn socks… That’s five star material right there! J

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

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