Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on April 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads: ★★★★ 1/2
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.
My love for young adult contemporary prompted me to pick up When We Collided by Emery Lord shortly after its release this year. This book chronicles two teenagers and is written in a dual perspective format. Readers follow Vivi and Jonah as they meet one summer in Jonah’s hometown, and begin a whirlwind relationship unlike any other. I absolutely loved this book, and the characters we meet in the pages.
When We Collided is very character driven, and there is not much of a plot whatsoever. We know that Vivi is struggling with something that happened in her past, which is the mystery that kept me engaged throughout the book. While I did feel like I was wandering around without direction for much of the book, the story worked in the end. I especially enjoyed Lord’s writing style. She does an amazing job at capturing the voices of both Vivi and Jonah at all times throughout the book. I was very impressed when the tone of the writing changed to match each character’s current mental state.
In addition, I absolutely adored Vivi and Jonah’s relationship. I know it is critiqued by other readers as insta-love, but for me it was very realistic. Both characters need one another in this moment, albeit in different ways. They cling to one another naturally, and their romance progressed quickly because of their unique situation. I think many of us can relate to relationships that form immediately, whether they be romantic or not. Vivi and Jonah come together at the perfect time, and I love how it is portrayed in the book.
Similarly, I also really liked how family plays a role in When We Collided. We see how important it is to care for those around us, even when it seems too difficult to handle. All of the side characters in this book really help to round out the story, too. For example, Vivi befriends a rough-around-the-edges police officer that many townies avoid. It is nice to see how Vivi is affected by this friendship, and how she then encourages others to see the officer differently as well.
Of course, I also appreciate the mental health aspect of the book. It appears to be very highly researched and written in a realistic and sensitive way. I learned a lot about Vivi’s particular disorder, which is revealed later in the story, and it helps me empathize more with people in real life. I think it’s great that fictional stories can help shed light on issues that aren’t talked about much in everyday life.
Overall, I really enjoyed When We Collided and highly recommend it. If you liked All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, you will like this one as well because it has a similar storyline but is executed in a new way. I know I now plan to read Emery Lord’s other books, and look forward to giving this one a reread at some point in the future.
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