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Hello, lovelies! I’m back with another review for Mental Health Awareness Month, this time “When We Collided,” a summery YA contemporary by Emery Lord!
When We Collided by Emery Lord
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Where did I get this book?: My local library!
Summary: We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…
Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.
Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.
Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.
In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.
(Trigger warning: depression and bipolar disorder, death, psychiatric hospitalization, grief, and self-harm.)
My Rating: ☆☆☆☆
There were so many things I loved while reading When We Collided! The large family rep, Vivi’s adventurous spirit, the summery living of Verona Cove, the fast-burn romance…let’s switch things up and start with that last one.
Fast-burn romance is a bit of a new one for me. I prefer slow-burn nine times out of ten, so watching Vivi and Jonah’s relationship go from zero to sixty was pretty different. But it worked! It totally fit Vivi’s go-getter, impulsive personality, and helped to set up and strengthen her character development. She and Jonah were adorable.
And Jonah…love me a good dual point-of-view with a guy and a girl! Well-done multiple POVs are some of my favorites. I enjoyed getting to see inside both characters’ minds, and it helped me learn new things. The way Vivi hid her problems under a shield of makeup, fancy clothes, and a bubbly personality hurt my heart so much. The way Jonah hid his under responsibility and obligation.
As I turned page after page, I liked Vivi and Jonah more and more. I fell in love with their stories and personalities – so drastically different and yet exactly what the other needed. Vivi is super energetic and impulsive and always down for an adventure. Jonah has to be the responsible, level-headed, growing-up-too-fast older sibling who has to care for his family.
They were basically magnets, opposites attracting. That was definitely what happened here.
“No matter what heaven you believe in, your time on this earth will end. What I’m saying is that you should listen—really listen—to the slosh of the waves and the distant call of Pacific birds. You should feel a boy’s pulse against your cheek; you should fill your lungs with ocean air. While you can, I mean. You should do these things while you still can.”― Emery Lord, When We Collided
In talking up Vivi’s over-the-top personality, I have to say I wasn’t a fan of some of her choices. She wasn’t as deep as Jonah – but maybe that’s just how she should have been.
Okay, thinking it over, perhaps it was exactly what the story needed.
Vivi was by no means a cookie cutter personality. And boy, did she flaunt that. With Vivi’s character, Emery Lord veered away from the typical “I’m a responsible teenager who has to take care of myself and everyone else, and always make mature life choices” type of character usually seen in YA. It was unexpected and uncomfortable, but it totally worked.
The mental health aspect discussed in When We Collided is bipolar. Vivi takes meds (or doesn’t, at least for some of the story), but she has never really come to a full acceptance of it – she more pretends it isn’t there, acting it away under her bubbly personality.
Slowly, she begins to realize no amount of faking can make her disorder go away. She has to come to terms with it instead of ignoring it. I felt that. On the outside, Vivi seems quite capable and confident. But on the inside, or when no one is watching, she’s breaking down.
While I can’t comment on the accuracy of the bipolar rep, I think it was handled quite well. Mental health has its highs and lows and light and dark, and Emery Lord wrote those things into her story without dampening either the lightheartedness or the deep and sad parts. It was a perfect balance.
“My dark days made me strong. Or maybe I already was strong, and they made me prove it.”― Emery Lord, When We Collided
When We Collided is a bittersweet YA romance with a unique cast of characters and a strong sense of the tiny moments that make us human. It was a fast but good read for me. I very much enjoyed meeting Vivi and Jonah and all the other characters in this story, and I hope you do as well.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? If not, have I convinced you to add it to your TBR? And don’t forget – if you have any favorite novels that discuss mental health, please share them in the comments below!