Author: Jessica Park
Title: 180 SECONDS
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.
The headline on my blog is a quote from the great Ralph Waldo Emerson that states, “Some books leave us free and Some books make you free” I’ve never fully grasped the gravity of this statement until I read 180 Seconds. There have been books that I’ve connected with emotionally but none ever on this level and none that left me feeling so raw and exposed. It’s no secret that I adore the writings of Author Jessica Park but this one truly is by far her best. Not only was she able to make me just feel everything, she was able to make me mourn a relationship I lost, she was able to make me cry until my body said no more, she truly helped me heal when I hadn’t even realized I needed to. This book saved a part of my life I left behind, the need for love and friendship . I tend to have a dramatic style of blogging when I love something or when I really think a book was ridiculous but I can promise this is nothing but honest reactions from yours truly. Never has a book caught me so off guard that I had to put it down and walk away, because I knew what was coming and somehow I knew in my heart that I couldn’t handle the emotions it was going to invoke in me. Never the less I picked it back up and finished it. This is the journey Jessica Park took me on.
Allison Dennis is entering her junior year of college and the only hope she has for the year is that she can manage to disappear and complete the year with as little human interaction as possible. Being in foster care until the age of 16 left Allison feeling unwanted, unloved and unseen. Despite being adopted by loving Simon Dennis, Allison can’t shake the feelings she’s grown up with. Life intervenes and throws Allison in to a social experiment she’s not ready for, 180 seconds of staring into the eyes of Esben Baylor. 180 seconds is all it took to put into motion Allison discovering who she truly is and what she’s capable of. Allison’s story isnt just about a girl who got to fall in love and realize that she’s worthy of love and family and how easy it was, Allison’s story has to fight for love, she has to fight for friendship, she has to fight for family and when you’re the person you’re fighting with it never comes easy. Allison’s character is one of the most raw and beautiful characters I’ve ever read and if she’s based on someone real out there just let me say, thank you for being truly a brave and beautiful soul. If not, then thank you Jessica for writing this beautifully brave soul.
Esben Baylor is a social media star popular for his social experiments. Esben is such a purely good soul who is driven to show the good in the world one good deed at a time. Esben is knocked off kilter when his 180 second social experiment affects him more than he ever thought possible. Although the experiment turns out to be life altering for Esben he runs into his own set of challenges when he truly realizes that not everybody who views his work is positive and leads him to doubt what he’s doing and if its worth it. Esbens character brings a goodness that’s rare, rare for books and sure as hell rare for the real world. It makes me wish that there were more giving spirits with less judgement walking around in this world, we surely need it. That being said I loved the twist that came with Esben, I loved that he wasn’t the typical male hero that so many write about, it truly made him that much more special. Esben was the perfect blend of vulnerability and strength and the smile I needed after a particularly hard scene.
This book had another character that made this book what it was and even though her name wasn’t on the blurb it was her story that destroyed me. Steffi Troy is Allison’s best friend/sister/ and the one she will never leave. Steffi was also a foster child until she transitioned out of the system at the age of 18. Steffi is opposite in disposition from Allison in that she embraces life and refuses to be a statistic. She always encourages Allison to be brave. But as much as Steffi refuses to become a statistic she refuses to let people love her until it’s almost to late. Steffi wrecked my heart and sometimes it’s those characters that hit you the hardest. I’ve had a life of friends coming in and out of a revolving door due to military life until one day I met my kindred spirit. She became my sister and then one day their orders came in sending her to the other side of the country from me. I started to lose her via distance but also I pushed her away. One day I went online and I had been unfriended and I had the most heartbreaking email waiting on me. It was my fault because truth is sometimes we push others away due to insecurities/bad judgement or even fear. Sometimes is takes a profound book to show you that things arent always what they seem and to take a leap and you just might fly.
This book was about surviving and living and whatever Jessica’s inspiration was for it I pray she never loses it because it was so very beautiful and so very BRAVE.
This book gets every damn star I could give and still be taken seriously, but for you picky bitches it gets 5 Stars.