Once I got past part two, I seriously could not stop reading. It's like I was absentmindedly eating a bag of chips and then suddenly the bag was empty. I found myself walking and reading in between my office and my car (thank God for small towns).
Park's book was everything I never knew I needed in a story. Just before reading about Julie and her spellbinding first year of college, I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Everyone and their mother recommended Green's story of the young, cancer-stricken Hazel, but I found myself somewhat disappointed. Perhaps I read the book too fast, but Hazel and Gus didn't do for me what I imagined. After the rave reviews and the movie buzz, I expected Fault to be not-put-down-able. Not to say it was a bad book - not by any means, but Fault just wasn't as good as I anticipated. Blame it on the hype.
F.O.L. did for me what I thought Fault would. Not only was the story completely relate-able for someone only three years removed from college, but it was just SO. DAMN.GOOD. I am struggling to find the words to lure other readers in without giving away the novels' secrets. I'll just try with the set up: Julie moves from a small town in Ohio to Boston for her freshmen year of college. Julie considers herself a closet nerd and cannot wait to start her academic career. Julie finds herself scammed by her would-be landlord and ends up bunking with her mother's college roommate and her family. The parents and three children of the Watkins family are rife with quirks and secrets. Julie's journey becoming friends will the two sons and the odd daughter named Celeste is both heart-warming and heart-aching.
The author's writing style was fantastic, and perhaps this is the novel's greatest strength. Having read so many coming-of-age stories, I find myself particularly in love with the well-written books. An author who can write for teenagers without dumbing-down the language gets an A+ in my book.
Please, please read this book. I'll re-read it with you!