When We Collided by Emery Lord, published by Bloomsbury on 7th April 2016
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.
This is the second book I’ve read by Emery Lord. The first was ‘Open Road Summer’ which I thoroughly enjoyed so I was looking forward to more of the same. The first thing I realised is that ‘When We Collided’ is very, very different. It deals with some heavy themes and the feel of the book is much more serious. Mental health is a big issue in the story. This is something which I don’t think is explored enough in YA novels, so a big hurrah to Emery Lord for showcasing this in her book. The main character Vivi is bipolar and is still trying to come to grips with this. We know that something happened in her past which she doesn’t want to talk about, but it’s not revealed what this is until near the end. Vivi has glorious highs and terrible lows but she is learning to manage on a day to day basis. What’s most important to her though is that she is able to feel, rather than have her emotions blunted.
When she and her mother move to Verona Cove, she meets local boy Jonah who will literally make you swoon. He’s cute, he’s kind and he bakes. What more could you ask for?! Jonah is dealing with his own problems when Vivi comes into his life. He is helping to take care of his siblings and his grieving mother, as well as trying to figure out what he wants to do next. The two are almost complete opposites but are also just what the other is looking for. Their relationships helps them to make more sense of their lives. Whereas I loved Jonah on sight, I’ll admit that it took much longer for me to warm up to Vivi. She is pretty full on when we first meet her and I didn’t necessarily find her impulsiveness appealing at the start. I did however think that her character was depicted really well. Although I didn’t want to make her my instant new best friend, Lord has done a good job of presenting her. She flares brightly and then burns out – an accurate depiction of the highs and lows that she experiences.
Each chapter alternates between the narrative of Vivi and Jonah. Jonah’s chapters were my favourite! I loved seeing his huge family and the way he looked after his younger siblings. He has had to take on a huge amount of responsibility after the death of his father, but he is doing a great job holding everything together. At times, I wasn’t sure if Vivi really was the best thing for him, but I’d changed my mind by the end.
‘When We Collided’ was a different book to the one I was expecting. It dealt with a difficult subject matter but in a positive way. It showed that even people struggling with mental health issues, can still experience life to the full. I wish that I had liked Vivi more, as this would be my only fault with the book, but I’m sure there are a lot of readers who will love her attitude to life. I really enjoy Emery Lord’s writing and I will definitely be looking out for more by her in the future.