180 Seconds – ARC Review

★★


32487648I liked this book. I did. I just did not love it. And I so badly wanted to.

I feel like lately, I have started many of my reviews with similar opening lines.  I have been looking for a book to blow my mind, and I found one in Strange the Dreamer, the second five-star I’ve read this year. I wanted this one to be the third. It was not.

For me to love a book, I need to care. I need to care about the plot. I need to care about the characters. Sadly, I couldn’t. I don’t know what it was, but I did not relate to any of them, even though I know I should have.

What I am going to say will sound contradicting. You should read this book. I recommend it, despite my not loving it, don’t let it discourage you.

This book is about love. Obviously. But, it is about friendship and family. It is about the things that bring people together, about the connections we form and the goodness that lies in every person.

While the focus of the story is the love between Allison, a girl who spent 16 years in foster care before finally being adopted, and Esben, a guy who has dedicated his life to doing good deeds, it also shows us the relationships between all the other characters and the love they all have towards one another.

Due to a life of moving through the foster care system, Allison has built some very high walls, letting no one in, not even her extremely kind and loving adoptive father. She does not allow herself to love or be loved by anyone other than Steffi, her childhood best friend. She is dealing with anxiety and self-hatred. She is broken, and desperately wanting to fix herself.

Then she meets Esben Baylor, a guy who spends his time doing good deeds and inciting social change. When they accidently meet one day and have to spend 180 seconds staring at each other for a social experiment, something very strange happens between them: both their walls break and it sets a series of events in motion.

But as I said, it’s not just about them falling in love. It’s about them changing the lives of all around them in the process. It’s about all of the relationships and unbreakable bonds they form with people.

I loved Allison’s relationship with her adoptive father, Simon. It was heartwarming and beautiful. He was so kind, so understanding and loving and just so good. There was none of that whole, absentee parent crap that YA loved to pull on us. No, here was Simon ready to love, support, and fight for his daughter and I loved every second of it.

Then there was Steffi. She was Allison’s rock, and never asked for anything in return. Unlike most YA, the friendship these two share runs deep. It is heartbreaking and tragic, and lovely, and all those things I love. I love seeing female friendships in YA and this one is definitely well written and emotional. More importantly, this one seemed real.

Then there is Kerry and her tragic story and how she has not let it define her. There are all the other people who refused to give up and made a difference in the world. There were the ones who went through ups and downs and did not give up.

The book deals with very serious topics including cancer, rape, assault, and the sad realities of being a foster child, so be warned if these are sensitive issues for you. But, know that it deals with all of these things in a beautiful and careful way.

So, why three stars? I don’t know. In spite of it all, despite loving how the book was written and all the subjects it touched on, I simply did not connect. Hopefully, you all enjoy this much more, because, despite the rating, I think it’s a book that deserves a chance to be read.

 

**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

{180 Seconds by Jessica Park will be published by Skyscape on April 25, 2017}


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4 thoughts on “180 Seconds – ARC Review

  1. itsareaderslife says:

    It’s a shame you weren’t a massive fan. It sounds like it has potential to be a really good novel. I like that there isn’t a whole ton of romance like in most YA and focuses on friendship and family instead. Great review😊

    Liked by 1 person

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