The self publishing industry is popular at the moment, but in my experience the good titles are few and far apart. The quality of self published novels is often lacking, there is a lot to be said for having a good editor and the traditional publishing industry on ones side when publishing a novel. This time however I have managed to find that rare piece of gold among the gravel!
I bought Flat out Love after reading several good reviews from my Goodread friends. I felt reasonably safe that I could trust these reviewers as I just removed well over 600 friends whom for some reason or another did not fit my new criteria for GR friendship. So after my bout of cleaning Flat out Love still stood out as a good read, friends had given four and five star ratings to the novel. I was curious, could this self published YA novel really be that good? After having finished the novel, I wonder why on earth no major publishing house has bought the rights to this lovely story. Several self published novels that is lacking, compared to Flat out Love, has already been bought, so why ever not a novel that actually deserves it?!
Julie has been scammed, her supposedly nice little flat (one she found through Craiglist) is a restaurant. What ever should you do when you have no place to live in a new town? Julie calls her mother. Luckily, mom Kate is able to find a temporary home for Julie with a family of her best friends from her own time studying. The Watkins is kind and Julie quickly bonds with brothers Matthew and Finn, and their younger, quirkier sister Celeste. One of the strangest tings with Celeste is the fact that she is dragging with her a live size cardboard copy of her older brother Finn everywhere. The doll is appropriately named Flat Finn; it keeps Celeste company when Finn is out traveling the world. Julie finds it rather weird that this is how a thirteen year old copes with missing her brother. Could there be more too it? However nice the family is something is off and all family members are overprotective of Celeste.
Julie moves from Ohio to Boston to go to college. In Boston, she houses with a nice but also a very dysfunctional family. The story is predictable and could perhaps have delved even more down into the more serious issues, that being said the story was so entertaining and addictive that I devoured it despite of some of the things that the author could have delved deeper into. What you see is what you get and sometimes that is all this reader needs. Nicely done characters, smart (sometimes perhaps a bit too smart on some areas in life and not so much in others) and evolving throughout the story. Jessica Park has a good vocabulary and a varied language, I enjoy that in a novel, it has a nice flow too it and I learned a few new words along the way.
“Only one more exit, and then we’ll be there. This will be worth the two-hour drive. Trust us.” “When you say worth, do you mean there will be cash incentives involved? Apple is having a press conference in a few days, and I’m sure they’ll be releasing some wildly unnecessary gadget that I need."
Self published novels are often more unpolished than a traditional published novels. I find myself speculating how this novel could have taken the step from very good to excellent with the firm hand of an editor. Jessica Park has done an amazingly good job all on her own. It is important to remember that the publishing industry is a whole lot more than big budgets for marketing, at least in the early stages of a novel. Author and publisher works together to bring out the very best story that lives in the author, the see a good story and offers guidance on the road to a great story. I must not forget the wonderful people washing the manuscripts for grammatical errors and so on. Luckily, I cannot say that I noticed any grammatical errors in Flat Out Love. I give this sweet romance my stamp of approval. The sequel, I do believe it is the story of Celeste, is already added to my wish list.
Have you read Flat Out Love? What did you think? What are your experiences with self published novels in general? Would you consider reading this one? Drop me a line in the comments.