180 Seconds Review


180 Seconds by Jessica Park

 Title & Author: 180 Seconds by Jessica Park
Genre: NA/Contemporary
 Release Date: April 25, 2017
 Publisher: Skyscape
 Series Details: Standalone
Page Count: 302 Pages
 Description: “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.”

“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.”

The rules were simple. The results were not.

Allison, a jaded, anxious, and socially closed-off junior, finds her world upended when she is physically pulled from her solitary lifestyle into an intimate and personal social experiment (see above). Overpowered by an urgent and enthusiastic coordinator, Allison reluctantly participates and soon finds herself sitting across from the infamous and attractive social media guru, Esben Baylor. For three minutes she is forced to stare – while videotaped – at this stranger who appears to be her opposite in every way imaginable. Narrated in a gripping and addictive fashion, we witness a whirlwind of emotions flash between the pair, and by the time the clock runs out, walls are down, rules are broken, and the aftermath leaves more than just the duo breathless. Fueled by her newfound fame, buried feelings, and guidance from her bestie, Steffi, Allison breaks out of her comfort zone and begins an emotional journey of self-discovery.

“Everyone has a hidden story, a reason for their behavior.”

This was my first Jessica Park novel and I didn’t really know what to expect. In fact, I went into this book knowing only two things: 1) That the synopsis intrigued me and 2) That Colleen Hoover had raved about it. And like the faithful #CoHort I am, I happily downloaded this story the day it was released. Sprinkled with strong side characters, a leading man that smells “like cookies and love”, and a sugary, albeit predictable, storyline, 180 Seconds is a perfect summer weekend read.

Whether you’re laughing at Simon, Allison’s adorable Bravo-watching, Wonder Woman tiara-wearing adoptive father, “going bananas,” or wishing you could partake in one of Esben’s various online projects, 180 Seconds will keep you attentive and entertained — despite its expected plot twists and reveals. And although overall it’s light-hearted in nature, this book still packs an emotional punch. In fact, I dubbed Chapter 29 “the destroyer of souls.” You have been warned.


This is a satisfying and quick read that encourages the reader to make every day count. To push past our fears and find the excitement and joy that’s waiting on the edge of our own comfort zones. So like Allison said: “I’ll be brave, Steffi. From now on, I’ll be brave.”


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