I have been in a book slump for half of June. I’ve been wanting to read something great, but constantly feeling bored with my current reads instead. In most cases, it’s no fault of the books I’ve been reading; I have simply been distracted. Part of it might be that I’ve read more than I ever have in the past year and a half and maybe I am now harder to impress. Whatever the case may be, I had an unused trial of Kindle Unlimited and decided 180 Seconds by Jessica Park would be the book to break the slump. I’ve seen the excellent reviews of this novel by readers I trust, and knew it would be exactly what I was looking for. Luckily, 180 seconds was everything I needed to read. It was emotional, touching, and had a plot that never failed to be interesting.
When Allison Dennis is roped into a video recorded social experiment, she never expects her life to change in three short minutes. She is told to sit across from a guy and stare into his eyes for 180 seconds – what comes next, no one could have imagined, especially not Allison. She lives a reclusive life, free from the scrutiny of anyone. Keeping people at arm’s length prevents them from hurting you, right? As a girl who knows the hardness of the world firsthand, through the foster care system, breaking down her walls proves to be a challenge endeavor.
In a lot of ways, I related to the main character, Allison. I find myself keeping people at a distance because I tend to distrust their motives. A person can only stand being hurt so many times. This made witnessing Allison’s transformation through one simple event exceptionally exciting. I was rooting for her character to break from the mental chains that bound her!
“You can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.”
One of my favorite things about this book was something I normally hate when reading – dialogue. I couldn’t get enough of the interaction between Allison, Esben, Simon, and Steffi! Normally the conversations between characters bore me to tears, as they normally don’t offer much information, but it was the complete opposite with this book. Even the interactions with the secondary characters were insightful and full of beautiful wisdom! Another thing I have a love-hate relationship with is the world of social media. I didn’t know ahead of time this book would be centered around Esben’s internet fame and the things he used it for. It turned out to be something I really enjoyed reading about. It was unique, has never been done in a book I’ve read before, and offered so many great teaching moments for our modern times.
I think a lot of us, especially in this social media age, tend to see the world as mostly bad. There is a lot of negativity floating around (talking to you, Internet Trolls) and it often seeps into our minds and souls. We start to see the world through dirty shades. Esben’s journey in 180 seconds is all about showing the goodness of the world, amidst the negative. His social experiments show the power of one simple act of kindness and the ripples it creates in the big pond of life. I was impressed with Jessica Park’s ability to make this story seem so convincing, modern, and heartfelt. As we all learn to navigate this new age we live in, it would be great for us to take a note from this book. Simply, we should all try harder to be the good in the world.
180 seconds brought me to tears numerous times. In fact, I was sniffling so much at one point, my husband heard and asked, “What is that noise I keep hearing? Are the kids messing around in the hallway?” 🙂 Any book that brings out that much emotion in me automatically gets the full five stars. I’d love for you to read this well done story, too! Let’s spread the goodness around!