180 seconds. By Jessica Park. Release date April 27th. YA/teen fiction.
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.
I went into this book expecting it to be a bit cliche. Girl meets boy, girl spends length of book trying to make boy like her. Love triangle. Meh!
I knew I was going to like Allison and her adoptive father Simon, right from the off, their relationship was a lovely thing and it makes a nice change in a YA book to have a teen who actually gets on with their parent.
Steffi is a strong character, I liked her a lot, although she’s not quite the brave, fierce girl she portrays herself as.
And Esben, well, if more people aspired to be like Esben, the world would be a better place.
180 seconds is, at the heart of it a romance, but it’s also so much more.
There is a strong message throughout Allison and Esben’s story about respect in a relationship, about not rushing into something you’re not ready for, and about consent. Which is good to see in a YA book.
And still, this book is so much more. It’s about love, acceptance – accepting yourself, accepting other people – and being accepted. It’s about courage, believing in yourself, honesty, it’s about seeing the good in people – and in the world – and doing good.
Social media features throughout the story, and as well as highlighting how people can be unkind online, it shows how much good can be created through social media. The fact is that social media is a big part in everyday life now, and it’s no good just telling kids it bad, bad, bad, because it’s here to stay, so the fact that this book portrays social media as a force for doing good, is something I very much approve of.
180 seconds turned out to be a substantial story that took me on an absolute rollercoaster of emotions. It’s very rare for a book to make me cry but at least three points in this book had big fat tears rolling down my face, especially the last few chapters. There were also times when it made me smile from ear to ear, the scene in a dog shelter, the scene where a cranky college professor remembers an old friend, the scene, near the beginning, where the 180 seconds comes into it took my breath away, and when Allison receives a particular phone call the scene was utterly heartbreaking.
Jessica Park undoubtedly has a talent for packing a scene with emotion, and I have absolutely no doubts about giving 180 seconds five stars.
180 seconds is released on April 27th and is available to pre-order on Amazon, I wholeheartedly recommend adding this one to your bookshelf.
I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are my own.