I haven't written here about fiction in a while, and I have meant to write posts about happy books, so here's one about Jessica Park's novel Flat-Out Love.
I have written in the past about chick lit I liked and such things. Well, the truth is, I tend to gravitate towards fiction of more weight, so I find myself reading books which I can't read in one sitting because someone cuts off his hand to make a political statement (Wiley Cash, A Land More Kind Than Home), or because there's too much talk of illness and transience when I am looking for a fluffy novel with an easy, predictable yet fun story, or because the novel is a great, stark read about lots of hardships when I'm in a positively lighter mood myself. And so every now and then I look for that elusive "happy book" – which doesn't have to be all impossibly sentimental, but packaged so that the deal is sweetened just the right amount.
Flat-Out Love is such a deep, heartfelt book about the lives, loves, and hardships of teenagers. It's not a "happy book" but I would say it can be described as "comforting" despite the hard psychological terrain it explores.
Amazon advertised this book on my Kindle and I went for it. Apparently it was self-published at the end of 2002 and became quite a success story. There are 1,884 reviews on Amazon.com alone, where the book gets 4.5 out of 5 stars. That sounds about right. It's not very often that I pick up a light book and feel it deserves 4.5 stars, but this one does.