180 Seconds by Jessica Park
Standalone New Adult
Holy cow. If you have been following my blog for a while, you know I very rarely read New Adult or Young Adult. You also won’t find me reading overly emotional books very often. I like light and sexy stories usually, but Jessica Park has penned some of my favorite all-time books, so I break my rules for her. Let me tell you, I am SO GLAD I did, because 180 Seconds is a new favorite for me.
A few things I love about Jessica’s writing are her use of social media in her stories, her quirky characters and how every word feels like it was carefully crafted, like she really took her time writing the story and developing the characters. She also uses plenty of humor to balance out the tears you are sure to cry. 180 Seconds had all of that and more.
“You can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.”
Allison has had a really rough life. She grew up in foster care, moving from one bad situation to another. The only bright spot in her life was when she rescued another foster kid, Steffi, from a horrible situation and the two became the best of friends. I just loved their relationship. Lucky for Allison, she was adopted at 16 by Simon, who may be one of my favorite side characters ever in a book.
Allison is a junior in a small Maine college. She is so damaged and closed off, she hasn’t made any friends. She is as anti-social as they come, even pushing away her wonderful adoptive father. Her best friend is all the way in California, so she is truly as alone as she can be as she ignores the world around her.
One day she is literally pulled into a social experiment. 180 seconds staring into a gorgeous guy’s eyes to see what kind of connection may happen…and boy, did it happen!
One hundred and twenty-nine seconds. Yet what Esben is doing cannot be ignored. Even by me. Not for one second has he left me. Despite the horrific energy I am hurling at him, Esben is holding us together emotionally, giving me an unspoken promise that he will not drop me. The traumas that bind me every day, every hour, every minute soften until I barely feel their presence. For reasons I cannot comprehend, I am lost in him. Safe. Right now, I am without a past that I hate. Right now, I am only here with him.
Esben is a social media star. He does all kinds of feel-good social media posts, showing the world that humankind is good; that we have a heart and that everyone wants love. Esben is almost too good to be true. He is the exact opposite of Allison, who hates the world and is happy to stay in her introverted, protective bubble. But their connection just wowed me!
“I just enjoy putting stuff out there. Giving people the opportunity to shine. To feel good about themselves.”
Reading about how this extraordinary guy changed Allison was so compelling. I loved reading about how her walls began to melt and how she grew and changed throughout the story.
While 180 Seconds may be listed as New Adult, it isn’t as sexy as most new adult books, and at times, it was even more Young Adult to me, something I would normally never even think of reading, but it was a wonderful change of pace. I found myself smiling a ridiculous amount, but let me tell you, I also found myself bawling my eyes out. So expect the full range of emotions, and make sure you have tissues.
- Jessica really crafted this book. It felt like she took her time writing it and the pacing was just perfect.
- A great mix of smart humor and emotion.
- Fantastic character growth.
- How social media is so integral to the story.
- Her father, Simon, was one of my most favorite side characters ever.
- Her relationship with Steffi was awesome.
- You can’t not love Esben.
- Esben held on to a secret and I really wish he didn’t know.
- Esben and Simon may both be a little too good to be true.
The Down & Dirty:
Jessica Park has written another book that will go on my all-time favorite list. 180 Seconds is honestly a book I never would have read, but my past experience in loving Jessica Park’s books convinced me to give it a try, and I am so glad I did. 180 Seconds was a mix of laughter, feel-good experiences and emotion. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking, and it breaks you and pieces you back together again. I loved every quirky character, every tweet, every drop of character growth and emotion. I used more tissues reading this book than that I used in the past year together, but that just made it better.
If you are like me and don’t read YA/NA books, please, don’t let that stop you with 180 Seconds, you’ll laugh, swoon, cry, and want to scream your love out to the world, just like me.
Rating 5-5+++ stars, 0-1 Heat