Monday, June 18, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | 180 Seconds by Jessica Park

Title: 180 Seconds
Author: Jessica Park
Series? No, 180 Seconds is a standalone novel.
Pages: 300
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: I bought the paperback edition of 180 Seconds from Amazon.
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've been wanting to read 180 Seconds for a while, and this June I finally got around to it! 180 Seconds is a new adult romance novel written by Jessica Park that follows Allison, a college student who has trouble opening up to others. After a video of her looking into a stranger's eyes for three minutes goes viral, Allison's year changes in several unprecedented ways.

One thing I really liked about this book is that nothing was done for shock value. My main issues with plot twists are that they doesn't seem to be properly set up, that they are resolved very quickly, or they aren't really important to the actual plot. When this happens, it feels like the plot twist is solely there to ensure that readers continue with the book, and not to tell a story and build the characters. There are several reveals about different characters throughout the book, but they felt true to Park's storytelling process. The seeds for these twists were planted early on in the book, and they influence a character's reactions, personality, and core plot.  

Another note to point out - 180 Seconds was not as risque as some other new adult books I have read. In my opinion, it felt halfway between young adult and new adult. While set in college (which a lot of NA is), sex scenes weren't as graphic as I've read in other new adult romances. If you are someone who likes the college romance plot that is so often seen in new adult, but not the extent of detail, 180 Seconds would be a good fit for you.  

As for the romance, I thought it was done very well. The start of their relationship seemed a tad serendipitous, verging on insta-love, but Jessica Park was aware of this and actually commented on their instant attraction to each other in the book. I liked that she did this, because it shows that Jessica Park is aware of her book, and addresses what readers might criticize. The romance between Allison and Esben was very cute, and had a good mix between light-hearted and heavier conversations. There also was not a lot of breaking up and getting back together, which I loved. I tend to get annoyed when the love interests always break up and get back together throughout the book. Instead, Jessica Park introduced drama through insecurities and secrets, which allows the characters to show depth and grow throughout the novel.  

My main issue with this book was the portrayal of Allison's past as a foster kid. Allison has many walls due to her past, but her past never felt genuine. There are moments where Allison vaguely mentions birthdays as a foster kid, or something that happened to her best friend, but I don't think it was explored that well. Either more research needed to be done, or scenes were cut, but Allison's past wasn't convincing, and therefore, neither was that part of her character. 

Despite my issue with Allison's backstory, I did quite enjoy 180 Seconds. It is fast-paced and has an adorable romance that I can really get behind. The reveals weren't there just for shock value, and it is apparent that a lot of work was put into plotting out the book and making sure threads tied up. I haven't read anything else by Jessica Park, but I'm looking forward to reading more from her in the future. 

With that, I give this book
4 out of 5 Stars!


  1. This sounds quite good, and yay for a NA that isn't TOO NA lol. I'd love to see more NA/ YA with a college setting in the vein of Fangirl or stuff like that. This one sounds good though. :)

    1. Yeah, sometimes NA can be a bit too much for me, especially drama-wise. I would as well! I actually haven't read Fangirl, so maybe I should read that, haha.

  2. Lovely review! <3 I'm really glad to hear you overall enjoyed that one, I really liked it as well. I'm not usually a fan of NA books and I loved that that one just fell in between YA/NA, with characters in college. We need more books like this one :)

    1. Thank you Marie! I would say I'm a fan of NA, but I like young adult and adult romance more than NA in general. There's a fine line between NA and YA, and I think 180 Seconds toed it well, haha! I completely agree!