Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Seventeen-year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second change rolls in: Vivi Alexander, the new girl in town.Vivi is in love with life. Charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she’s told should make her feel better. After meeting Jonah, she slides into the Daniels’ household seamlessly, winning over each sibling with her imagination and gameness. But it’s not long before Vivi’s zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking.Though each high and low, Vivi and Jonah’s love is put to the test…but what happens when love simply isn’t enough?
In just a few years, Emery Lord has become a household name when ti comes to contemporary YA romance. She writes fantastic stories and I’ve loved every one of them. So it should come as no surprise when I say that I absolutely loved When We Collided.
It’s no secret that I absolutely love Emery Lord and her books. Both Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You are among my favourite books of all time. So as excited as I am whenever I get to read a new book by this author, I also put a lot of pressure on that book. I almost expect it to become a new favourite almost instantly and those are some pretty high expectations to have. Add to that everyone reading the book in question and having nothing but amazing things to say, raising your expectations even more. And now you pretty much know how I felt before reading When We Collided. Honestly, I was almost afraid to read it because I feared it couldn’t possibly live up to any and all of the expectations I had. But I should have known better. Because everything everyone has said about When We Collided? It’s absolutely true. Emery Lord has written a story that is both touching and heartbreaking, a story that felt achingly real and showed the realities of mental illness. But even though mental health is featured prominently in When We Collided, it didn’t feel like I was reading a book about mental health. And that’s where the beauty of this story lies. Mental illness is just one of the many parts that make up the characters in the story as opposed to being what defined them. And those characters are why I loved When We Collided so much.
Vivi completely leapt off the page. I’m hard pressed to remember the last time I read a story where I saw a character come alive the way that Vivi did. It was honestly hard not to be completely charmed by Vivi. She had so much personality and so much of that personality wasn’t defined by her mental health. She was just a girl who enjoyed life and was always looking for her next adventure, no matter how big or small it might be. And I loved her, every version her. I laughed along with her when she was happy, and my heart broke when she was struggling. I couldn’t help it. And that’s the same ay I felt about Jonah. Compared to Vivi, he was quiet and reserved but he still leapt off the page. Seeing him struggle with his grief all while trying to hold his family together completely broke my heart. He needed someone like Vivi to bring back some life into his life. I loved their romance, as imperfect as it was. It felt real in a way that many young adult romances sometimes don’t. Even if my heart was completely broken by the time I flipped the last page, I couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying ending. One that was right for the story and right for the characters.
If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and pick up one of Emery Lord’s books. Each one is amazing in its own right and will hit you right where it hurts in the best way possible. If you choose to read When We Collided (which you should really do), have a box of tissues handy, you’ll probably need it.