*This is a book review of 180 Seconds by Jessica Park
For a synopsis of the book, click this link: 180 Seconds
If you didn’t read my last book review, I wanted to give a disclaimer. The way I go about my book reviews is I highlight things I loved about the book or things I related to the most while also giving my honest opinion (if a book is trash, I will happily let you know; fortunately I haven’t encountered a trash book yet). There will more than likely be spoilers in this review, so if you are planning on reading 180 Seconds but haven’t started yet, I DO NOT recommend reading this review. Proceed with caution.
Page count: 302
Genre: Young adult fiction
This book was AMAZING! It was one of those purchases where I needed to add one more thing to my cart to get free shipping, and since the book cover looked pretty colorful and drew my attention, I added it to my cart without thinking much about it (but I did get that free shipping).
Yeah I totally judged this book by its cover. Now I want 180 seconds to meet the love of my life.
The book was so beautifully written and romantic. The progression and character development of the girl telling the story is… phenomenal (so many positive adjectives came to mind; picking one was semi-difficult). Not gonna lie, as a single hopeless romantic, it kind of gave me hope for my third year of college since the main girl, named Allison, found the love of her life, named Esben, in her third year of college.
I’m still working on how to write book reviews in a way where they’re actually reviews and not just highlights, but for now, we’re going to talk about moments of the book in chronological order. This consists of different quotes and themes and… well, moments that kind of stood out to me.
For starters, the beginning was kind of slow. If it didn’t progress after the first few chapters, I probably would have put it down and added it to the pile of items I’m selling in August. Fortunately, once I got past the first two chapters, I had a hard time putting it down. I took advantage of any free moment I had to read this book; I finished it in a week, which I think is pretty good timing considering my busy life.
At the beginning of chapter five, the experiment is finally explained. Esben is a social media “influencer” and does social media experiments. This particular experiment consisted of looking into a stranger’s eyes for 180 seconds. On page 33, Kerry, Esben’s sister, explains, “So, all you do is sit in a chair and hold eye contact for a hundred and eighty seconds… No talking, no vocalizing of any kind, no looking away, no touching. Just don’t break eye contact.” Later on, Esben explains why he chose this particular social experiment, “I wanted to do a social experiment because I thought it would be a great way to see how two strangers can communicate and feel and maybe even find common ground, all without talking. How prejudgments about others sort of get washed away in the process, how a relationship of sorts happens in that short time…” Once Esben and Allison’s one hundred and eighty seconds were up, things got a little heated.
Speaking of getting heated, chapters seventeen to twenty-three contain obvious sexual tension among our two main characters; as a reader, I could feel it, and that credit goes to the wonderful writing of the author. On page 134, Esben reveals that he’s a virgin, which was such a sweet moment. I really appreciate reading stories when the male lead is also a virgin; a lot of times, it’s just the girl. By the beginning of page 196, they have taken each other’s virginity, and I find that super beautiful and romantic.
On page 76, Esben explains instalove and that what happens after the moments of instalove are what’s important. Allison asked what they were going to do.
Esben: “Wait. I’m going to wait.”
Allison: “Wait for what?”
That part melted my heart (in a good way).
I want to take a moment to focus on Allison for a second. She has been in the foster care system her entire life and wasn’t adopted until she was sixteen. After reading this book, I made the official decision that I want to adopt an older child, whether I’m single or not. Anyway, Allison said some things that I one thousand percent related to/with (not sure what the correct word is there), and I wanted to share them with you:
- “It’s not okay that I’m afraid of people and relationships and interaction.” (page 74). This is literally me, and it’s not okay; I’m working on it.
- (to apply context, this is after they’ve had sex for the first time, which isn’t a detailed scene by the way) “I don’t worry that my breasts are too small or that I don’t work out as much as I should (this is the part I related to, but the rest of the statement is also important) I don’t worry about anything, because as much as what we’ve done tonight is about the physical, it’s also about so much more.” (page 196)
- “Helping others can help me heal myself.” (page 217). I think this is why I try so hard to give back and help people; it heals some part of me.
To finish off this review (I didn’t spoil too much of the book; I’m very proud), I want to mention something the author wrote in the Acknowledgements (page 292). I don’t know if I’m the only person who reads the Acknowledgements, besides the people who are getting acknowledged, but Jessica Park wrote something that really spoke to me. I thought I’d share it with the rest of my Internet creators and writers. She wrote, “And to those who share, take risks, trust and give so much of themselves online, thank you. What you do matters, and you remind us that– in what can feel like a very dark world– there is endless genuine light and love.”
The above statement gave me so much encouragement. Thank you Jessica Park– for the amazing book that is 180 Seconds and for the encouragement I needed.
More stuff goes down in this book than just two characters falling in love; so many emotions were evoked in me while I read this book. Yes, there is a focus on the relationship between Esben and Allison, but there is intense character development and even loss of a life. I twelve out of ten recommend reading this book; I know I’ll for sure be reading it again. It’s like the hidden gem of young adult fiction books; go get this gem.
Q: Do you need 180 seconds to sit with your crush or the love of your life? If you had the opportunity, would you take it? I sure would.
Next up: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin