ARC Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord10:00
Author: Emery Lord
Published April 7th 2016 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
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.
Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jandy Nelson, When We Collided is a powerful story of two teens whose love is put to the test by forces beyond their control.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.
I've heard so much about Emery's previous books that when I discovered she would be publishing in the UK for the first time, I jumped at the chance to review a copy. I had such high hopes for the book, and, unfortunately, was really disappointed. I didn't hate the book, but, after a while, it sort of felt like a chore to finish, and I considered DNFing a few times. But more on that later.
In When We Collided, we follow the story of Vivi and Jonah, in a quite Californian town for the summer. Vivi and her mam are visiting for the summer, after Vivi needs to get away from reality, and the disaster her previous year had been. Whilst there, she meets Jonah, who is struggling with the sudden loss of his father, and how absent his mam has been since. He, and his two elder siblings, have to take charge, and are basically raising the family themselves, while his mother deals with her grief and depression alone. Vivi and Jonah 'collide' and spend the summer trying to keep the other one afloat, sometimes to the detriment of their own mental health.
Firstly, I thought the way Emery dealt with the mental health aspects in the novel was amazing. In less than 350 pages, she speaks about the effects grief, depression, and bipolar disorder can have on those who are suffering, and those around them. Nothing seemed judgemental, or unresearched - it all felt extremely real. For this reason, I would recommend When We Collided without a doubt.
The main issue I had, was with Vivi, one of the main characters. Sorry to say, I just couldn't stand her. Nothing about her really redeemed herself to me, and I felt like she was sort of 'bland', if you know what I mean. She's supposed to be this really vibrant character, but to me, so was very two dimensional. Jonah, on the other hand, I did like, but still, his PoV wasn't too different from Vivi's. I couldn't really differentiate between the two voices, if there weren't the chapter headings to help.
For the romance, I don't see how these two would ever work, in reality. I did have some swoony moments when reading them, but mainly just kept reading to hear more about Jonah's family, and about his endeavour to make his father's restaurant great again. If it wasn't for this, and for how much I had been looking forward to reading the book, I do think I would have DNFed it before the half way mark.
I'm not trying to turn anyone away from this book, as I've seen many people say this is Emery's best book to date, so if you've enjoyed her previous ones, you'll probably like this too. I may still try her other books, but they're not at the top of my wishlist any more. If you think I'd enjoy them more than this, let me know.