Review: 180 Seconds by Jessica Park

180 Seconds

180 Seconds
Author: Jessica Park
Publisher: Skyscape
Published: April 25, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary



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.

“Sometimes, the unexpected happens. Sometimes, someone makes you break your own rules.”

180 Seconds is the first Jessica Park novel that I’ve read. The intriguing blurb was the one that pushed me to read this. In a word, this book was captivating. However, it didn’t go where I thought it was heading and I kind of expected something a little different.

Allison Dennis left the foster care system at the tender age of 16. She has lived with seventeen different families and transferred from one home to another, but nobody seemed to adopt her permanently. Until the gentle, kind-hearted gay Simon. Her situation allowed her to become aloof and unwilling trust anyone but her childhood best friend Steffi. When she began her third year in College in Andrews College, she didn’t plan to make new friends. One day, she was involved in a social experiment led by the famous social media icon Esben Baylor and found herself sitting in a chair, face-to-face with him, for 180 seconds.

“It’s going to hurt until it doesn’t anymore.”

The book started out, well, amazing. There were cute and sweet scenes that made me swoon. And I can’t deny it, I was wowed by the intense way the 180 seconds interaction was written. Simon and Allison’s heart-to-heart talk also made me bawl my eyes out, as well as Allison’s hardcore friendship with Steffi.

“And when you’re lucky enough to find one– just one– person in this unforgiving life who makes everything worth it, who you love and trust and would kill for, then you hold on damn tight, because that’s probably all you get.

I loved Jessica Park’s writing style. It wasn’t that perfect and flawless for me, but it was good. The things that I didn’t quite like in this book include the romance which moved way too quickly and the predictable twist in the near-end. I saw that twist coming right from the beginning so when the bomb dropped, I wasn’t shell-shocked at all.

The last remaining chapters were kind of a let-down. Somewhere around 80%, the scenes went unrealistic for my taste and hard to believe. And is it just me or there was something off with the writing from this part? When it comes to the ending, it was satisfying but I’m not sure if I liked the cheesy parts.

If there is one thing that I am most grateful for in this book, it’s the absence of bullying. I kind of expected the worst kind of cyber bullying here knowing that Esben is a social media star and all that. But thankfully, there was none.

“It is allowed, I remind myself, to be wholeheartedly in love.”

The message in this book was deep and heart-wrenching. It dealt with subject matters in a balanced, real-world way. There were unrealistic scenes, but to be fair, the book had its cute, sweet, and beautiful moments.

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