I’ve had people tell me for years how incredible Emery Lord is, but for some for some inexplicable reason, I’ve only just picked up her books. And boy was it worth the wait!
Set in Verona Cove (California’s own Stars Hollow), When We Collided tells the heartbreaking story of Vivi and Jonah. Vivi storms into Jonah’s life with unstoppable energy and is soon part of the family. Jonah has lived in the close-knit town his entire life, but he’s only struggled since his father died six months ago. Jonah looks after his five siblings while his mother deals with her own grief, unable to find the motivation to get out of bed and come back to her family. As their worlds collide, Vivi and Johan show each other that it is possible to keep going.
As it’s a huge campaign in publishing at the moment, we’re all aware of how important it is to represent mental health in books, especially young adult books. When We Collided is a perfect example of how to portray mental illness faithfully. Vivi is lively, passionate and euphoric. But before it is given a name in the story, the reader can tell that she is struggling with bipolar depression, even if she’s unable to acknowledge it herself. It is one of the most poignant and realistic portrayals of mental illness I’ve read so far; helping the reader understand Vivi’s behaviour – and feel everything with her.
As for the other characters in When We Collided, they lift the story off the page. Etienne St. Clair and Jace Garrett are my favourite boys in contemporary fiction, and Jonah Daniels has made it to the list. He’s caring, respectful and makes the most delicious meals. I adored his passion for cooking and his love for his father’s Italian restaurant. He’s a considerate and assiduous boyfriend; the perfect antithesis to intense Vivi. It’s also impossible to forget Jonah’s little sister Leah, who’s a little ray of sunshine.
When We Collided is my favourite book of the year so far and I cannot wait to read Emery Lord’s other contemporary novels, Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You. If you loved My Life Next Door, Saint Anything & The Sky is Everywhere, give When We Collided a try.
Published: April 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Source: Thank you to the publisher for providing this book for review!