Let me clarify one thing from the beginning, I really did enjoy this book. For the majority of the review it may not seem like it, but I really did!
It starts when Julie Seagle arrives in Boston for her first year of college. Julie, being the incredibly smart person that she is, had decided to forego living in the dorms and rent an apartment… off of Craigslist. So it’s no surprise to the reader when she gets there and her “apartment” is a burrito place. Julie calls her mom, her mom calls an old friend, and before you know it, Julie is living with the eccentric Watkins family.
The Watkins have three children. Matt is the middle child (a position I relate to very easily) and lives at home while attending MIT. So he’s super smart.
Celeste is the youngest. She’s my favorite by far of the Watkins children, but she’s also the strangest. You see, she carries around a life-size, cardboard cut-out of her older brother, Finn, and calls it “Flat Finn”.
Finn is the perpetually absent older brother who communicates with Julie through Facebook messages. He’s off saving the planet leaving poor Julie to fall in love with him from afar.
So there are the questions that keep you reading. Why does Celeste feel the need to carry around the cut-out? Julie, as a psychology major, desperately wants to find out. Why does Finn never visit his family? (*cue over-dramatic voice*) Can Finn and Julie ever be together?
The problem with the questions is that the book was incredibly predictable. I had it all figured out 30 pages into the book, and I think everyone else would as well (or maybe I’m just that smart, who knows?). I kept reading to see how long it would take Julie to find out the truth. And it takes the whole book.
Park’s writing, in my opinion, was not bad at all, but not great either. There wasn’t the elegance that you would find in a John Green book, but there is a hint of that engaging style exhibited by writers such as J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan (keeping in mind that Rowling and Riordan write in different genres than Park, other than all being YA). On a scale of Stephanie Meyer (lowest. Duh) to J.K. Rowling (Highest, always), I would put her just above Sarah Dessen and just below Suzanne Collins.
Despite all of that, I honestly enjoyed the book as a whole. It all came down to the witty characters. Without the humor, I’m not sure I would have finished the book. And that is what Park does really well. Every character (with the possible exception of Julie herself) is incredibly smart and keeps you entertained with their banter. Even if you have realized what is really happening and even if you aren’t entranced by the mysterious Finn (can I just say that I always had more of a crush on Matt? Maybe it was just our middle child connection…), you keep smiling through the whole thing.
If you’re looking for a fairly fluffy read, I would recommend this book to you. This book had some really great moments, both serious and humorous, but if you’re looking for something that is going to make you think, continue searching.
Don’t get me wrong! I liked it! Maybe I would even read it again sometime. It just didn’t kick me in the gut with awesome like some other books I’ve read lately.
It’s fluffy and cute and funny, but I didn’t fall in love with it.
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