Friday, March 25, 2016

Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn't be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi's zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there's something important Vivi hasn't told him.

It's been a couple of days since I finished this book, and I'm still a bit at a loss for words. I mean, obviously I have words, but I don't know if they're enough to convey how I really felt about this story. On the one hand, I found the depiction of mental illness to be entirely believable and realistic, the story of loss and grief to be completely heartbreaking. Separately, I very much enjoyed both Vivi and Jonah's narratives. But when combined to make a love story? I'm still not sure how I feel about that.

In the beginning of the novel, I was just as swept away by the heady rush of falling in love as the characters, even if it did seem...not immediate, but all-encompassing from the very start. As in, they met and then they were together. No quiet flirtations or shy brushes of the hand. Vivi barged into Jonah's life and she wasn't going anywhere. Which was fine because he -- and his family -- needed a force like Vivi to help escape the grief, if only for a little while.

And Vivi -- lovely, endearing, unstable Vivi -- needed a project to keep her busy and her mind occupied. Not that that's the only reason she took an interest in Jonah, but it was initially her goal to make Jonah exactly that project. Falling in love was just a bonus. And also a side effect. Watching Vivi go off her meds and try to control her mental illness was like watching a train wreck...incredibly scary and so hard to look away from. I don't read many novels that feature mental illness because they do tend to end badly or don't feel true to life, but When We Collided really resonated a genuine understanding of bipolar disorder. I've only read one other book that really made me feel like I was on the downward spiral with the character experiencing it, and that was Wild Awake, which I definitely recommend if you enjoyed this novel.

Whereas I've only suffered mild bouts of depression and could never begin to fully understand what someone suffering from bipolar disorder deals with, I have lost a close loved one and know that sense of loss. I understand the grief, that everyone grieves differently, and that you never truly stop grieving. But it wasn't his grief that drew me more to Jonah's character. It was the crazy, adorable things he said in his head where no one could hear him. I marked so many passages from his point-of-view as favorites. While Vivi was bubbly and spunky and vivacious, Jonah was just real. Their voices were so different, and Jonah's just appealed to me more because it reminded me of my own stream of consciousness. Also, his large family reminded me a bit of the Garretts and their situation a bit, and my heart couldn't help falling for him.

These characters were both well-drawn and full of life, but as I said, I much preferred them separately than together, especially knowing as much as I do now. I thought I needed one thing from this book but the story proved that I needed something else entirely from it. This novel was poignant and messy and altogether beautiful, and I still have a knot in my throat from it. I knew to expect tears from a story like this, but I'm glad that the thing that made me cry was not the thing I expected to make me cry.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

I'm Emery, and I write books about flawed girls who are really trying, complicated families, friends who show up even when everything's going down in flames, the boy who Gets You even when you don't expect it, and the summer that changed everything.

Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You are out now, and When We Collided releases April 5, 2016.

Find Emory:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr


  1. Sounds like these two made quite an entrance! Sounds interesting. Might just have to give it a go. Thanks for the share!

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  3. This is a beautiful review!!! I love when books surprise me in ways I was not expecting. I've been going back and forth about reading this... because Vivi does sound kind of harsh and IDK if I'll like that or not. Also, YAY for any family that has that Garrett feel!! LOVE that family!!

    1. Aw, thanks! And me, too. I really thought the romance was going to be the most significant aspect of this story for me but it so wasn't. Vivi is definitely a lot to take in, but if you like thoughtful stories that tackle tough subjects, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this one. And I love any story that reminds me of the Garretts, too! That's still one of my favorite contemporaries to this day!

  4. Oh, lovely review! You make me realize that I NEED this book in my life! <3

    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG

    1. Awesome! I hope you enjoy's a truly lovely story.

  5. Excellent review! I'm glad to hear that it is a believable depiction of mental illness. I've found that a lot of books about mental illness either romanticize it or make it completely unrealistic. As someone who has a mental illness, that's infuriating. Your review has me really excited to read this book.

    1. I mean, I can't say HOW accurate the depiction was, but it was one of the most believable I've seen in YA because like you said, it does tend to be romanticized for the sake of the story and not at all realistic. I hope that when you read it, you find it to be both realistic and accurate.

  6. I didn't receive her last too warmly, so I've been wary of this one. It's great that it resonated with you in a good way, though. I might just enjoy this one, based on your review.

    1. Is it bad that I barely remember the last one? I remember liking it, but it wasn't that memorable, I guess? I don't think I'll forget Jonah or Vivi anytime soon, though...


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