**Fair Warning: Rape is a topic discussed in the book with regards to the heroine. Although there are no graphic scenes or descriptions, it may be an issue for some. It shaped how the main heroine view herself which is integral to the story.
Published: 25 April 2017
Published by: Skyscape
Type: Stand-alone, no cliffhanger
Author: Jessica Park
Title: 180 Seconds
Get it here: Amazon
Read : 10 April 2020
Shelved : 11 April 2020
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…
After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.
One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.
When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.
** spoiler alert ** A story about being vulnerable to love and be loved, acceptance, forgiveness, and a lot of growing up going on.
Allison: had a tough life bouncing from one foster home to another. She finally got officially adapted at 16 years old, which by statistics is very rare. It wasn’t anyone fault, just circumstances, she is sure but due to this and even with loving adaptive parents like Simon (a gay couple), she learns to expect the worst in life or that she’s an unwanted child from the start. She decided early on that she is undeserving of love or friends.
Esben: is ‘positivity’ personified. He is a ‘influencer’ (uses social media) to spread positivity through online posts about everything that is “good” in the world today. He is smart, emphatic and thoughtful. It is through one of his social media experiments, the 180 seconds challenge, that he and Allison met. He helped her realize what she is missing out in the world, if she keeps putting up her walls…miss out on relationships and love.
“I know tons of people out there suck, I do. But mostly, Allison, people are good. They really are. And I am lucky enough to get to witness so much of that good.”– Esben, 180 Seconds
Steffi: is Allison’s best friend and “sister”. Even though Steffi’s life is also bouncing from one foster home to another, she was never officially adapted and was forced to leave the system when she turned 18-years-old. Ironically, her determination to living the life she wanted, also translated well for her. She was independent and tough. She became a good role model for Allison and always lovely ‘pushed’ Allison to take chances. She is definitely a positive influence to Allison in the story.
Simon: adaptive parent who officially adapted Allison to take on his last name. The love that Simon has shown Allison is so endearing and heartfelt that you read it in each of his words. He is patient, kind and very supportive that he puts a lot of parents to shame. Their relationship grow over the course of the story that it’s been so long since I read anything similar to this.
Kelly: sister of Esben, who recruits Allison straight from the streets to join in the 180 seconds challenge. She handles his social media account. She has a very relationship with her brother that is so easy and truly speaks volumes on how they support each other. Her friendship with Allison also helped Allison see the beauty of trusting people. Kelly is a very loving and supporting character.
There were a lot of heavy stuff going on but I am glad that there are NO CHEATING GOING ON.
Alison surely didn’t expect anything big in her life ever to happen till spilling ice coffee accident had Esben help clean it up. This triggers a snowball of effects that brought them together to do the 180 seconds challenge that later, made her started ‘feel’ things – for her family, friends and most especially Esben.
Some people expected that these two heroes will fall all over themselves but they don’t! They get into a whole lot of things before they even acknowledge their feelings for each other. From what I understood, they felt more of an instant connection versus infatuated with each other. The relationship that was forged led them to understand each other though showing Allison the beauty of people and the world. He tried to surround her with what she is missing out. It was so much more “meeting-of-the-minds” than pure attractions. It was helping Allison with her struggles and her apprehension to being vulnerable to the right people or to the people who care about her. The rest of her character development came from Allison…to decide to be a better version of herself.
“I think there’s something between us, and I’m very afraid that I’m going to do the wrong thing again and send you running. And I don’t want that. If you’re going to go running anywhere, I’d prefer that you come running to me.”― Jessica Park, 180 Seconds
Overall, I really enjoyed Jessica’s style of investing time in the development of her heroes. She gives them enough backstory to make the readers understand where things are coming from for them and makes us “feel” them. She makes us also think of what we can do to change our outlook in life.
I love each and every one of the characters in the story and how a whole online community following helped Allison and Esben in spreading good and joy. There are still a lot of good people. I laughed, cried and held in suspense in a lot of latter sections of the book but so worth it!
“I will be brave. I will be brave. I will be brave. I will keep going.”― Allison , 180 Seconds
Meet Jessica Park
Jessica Park is the author of 180 SECONDS, CLEAR, The Left Drowning Series (LEFT DROWNING and RESTLESS WATERS), the New York Times bestselling FLAT-OUT LOVE (& the companion novella FLAT-OUT MATT), FLAT-OUT CELESTE, and RELATIVELY FAMOUS. grew up in the Boston area and attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. After spending four years in the frigid north, including suffering through one memorable Halloween blizzard, Jessica hightailed it back to the east coast. She now lives in New Hampshire (relatively balmy) with her husband, son, bananas dogs named Fritzy and Finn, and a selfish cat. She spends an obscene amount of 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. When not writing, Jessica indulges her healthy obsessions with Facebook and complicated coffee beverages.