180 Seconds, Jessica Park

I finished this yesterday afternoon but I needed some time to think about how wrecked I am. I’m still wrecked, but in a really good way.

Allison spent most of her life in foster care until she was adopted at 16. She’s closed off to the world and has walls so thick and so high it’s going to take something or someone really special to break them down. Dragged into a social experiment by Esben and his sister, she is tasked with looking at Esben for 180 seconds. Through those long 180 seconds, each of their eyes, their faces, tell a complete story, a story that just might break down her walls.

As Allison puts it “I don’t want to be so scared all the time; I don’t want to be terrified that the earth could splinter apart under my feet at any given second. I want to be happy, really happy.” So this social experiment while crazy scary, is exactly what she needs, even if she didn’t realize she needed something until now.

Esben is the complete opposite of Allison, he’s outgoing, he’s on social media, and has a huge following. But he’s nothing like Allison imagines when she storms into his dorm room after her best friend Steffi eggs her on to give him a piece of her mind. Esben is pretty amazing and if I wasn’t almost twice his age I would declare him my new book boyfriend. I love the connections he creates with strangers, his endless patience with Allison, his unending compassion, he really is the whole package.

There are some amazing characters in 180 seconds outside of our main duo. Allison’s best friend Steffi is wonderful, she’s outgoing, a fierce mother hen, and the perfect compliment to Allison. Her foster father Simon who knows exactly what Allison needs in a foster father. He lets her have her walls all the while loving her with his entire heart. Esben’s sister Kerri is pretty great, she’s been through a few things in her life and it makes her that much more a loving and caring person.

The storyline is wonderful, I wasn’t exactly sure what I would be getting because I purposely didn’t read any reviews before reading this because I didn’t want anything tainted. I heard many people saying it was a must read, and I left it at that. There is so much goodness in 180 seconds, it represents love and hope, and real happiness (some real sadness too, but Park makes sure to nurse us back to a good place before shredding us back to bits each and every time).

I love a book that can give you a good cry, and 180 seconds is going to give you a ton, I can’t even keep track of how many times I cried. I started reading a few reviews as I was writing this and am a bit surprised that a few people didn’t even finish this. But, I grabbed the e-book, loved it hard, and then immediately ordered it in paperback for mini-me. By far, the best book I’ve read this year, and I know the year is still early, but it’s going to take quite the book to compete with how much I love this book.

There were a ton of quotes in this book that resonated with me and I didn’t include them in the review because I didn’t want to clog up my review with the author’s words when the whole point of a book is to read her words. Just know that there were so many things here that resonated with me and will stay with me for a long time.

You can read my review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub and if you’ve enjoyed it, please consider giving it a “like”. If you love YA (though they are college age), and even if you don’t love YA, grab 180 Seconds and give it a read, it’s available on Amazon for 99 cents.