Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Although Emery Lord’s When We Collided explores important subjects like mental health, I found it difficult to connect with the two main characters. When Vivi moves to Verona Cove, she has one thing on her mind: to have fun. Jonah has been struggling with family issues for months now. Ever since his father’s passing and the slow decline of his mother’s mental health, it has fallen upon him and his siblings to care for the younger kids in the family. Vivi blows in like a whirlwind, completely turning Jonah’s life upside down. Jonah has grown accustomed to the responsibility of caring for three young kids and even with his older siblings’ help, it isn’t easy. Meeting someone like Vivi, who isn’t turned off by the disorder in his world, seems almost too good to be true. For Vivi, a summer of fun turns into something more serious when she finds herself not only falling for Jonah, but also his entire family.
I could never figure out if Vivi’s bubbly personality was who she really was or if it was a face she put on for the rest of the world. Her confidence is admirable, but there were times when I just did not like the girl. She could be self-centered and vicious in her jealousy. There were moments while I was reading where it felt like it was Vivi’s world and everyone was just living in it. This became really frustrating, especially when so much of the narrative is focused on Jonah’s problems. It was difficult to swallow her never-ending enthusiasm and zest for life when Jonah was struggling to get by. Vivi has a tumultuous past that we get little glimpses of, but it isn’t until the end that we finally understand what she’s been going through. I think it would have served her character more for the revelations to have happened sooner. Jonah should have been a character to easily relate to and there were times where I felt for him and his circumstances. I loved his interactions with his siblings, especially the young Leah, but I do think the story veered away from these relationships as the story went on, which affected the way I related to him.
When We Collided explores mental health issues like depression and bipolar disorder, but not in as much depth as I would have liked. The story is pretty light in tone at the beginning of the novel and I kept waiting for that shift in tone where the issues both characters were dealing with would be forced to the forefront. This doesn’t happen until late in the story and I would have liked to have spent more time with the characters as the deal with these issues rather than running away from them.