Book Review: When We Collided

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When We Collided by Emery Lord

2.5/5

First of all, let me just say: I have read three books in five days and it’s such a rush! I read this one in one day, a sci-fi book the day before, and a graphic novel today. I also started reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore this morning and if I finish it on Monday, I may throw a party.

Okay, on to reviewing this book. The 2.5 stars means I was stuck between “it was okay” and “I liked it.” That pretty much sums up my opinion. I went into reading this book knowing that it would be a quick, light-hearted summer read. And it was, kind of. The story switches perspectives between Vivi and Noah, two high schoolers who have had their share of tragedy. It’s set in a fictional California beach town, Verona Cove. Vivi is there vacationing with her artist mother and Jonah is struggling under the weight of caring for his younger siblings after his father’s death and his mother’s subsequent depression.

Parts of the book that I liked: Love was not this all-consuming, soulmate thing. We love and we move on and we love again. Great stuff. Also, I found the beginning of Viv’s mental breakdown to be very realistic.

I just don’t know. Also, there were a lot of one-dimensional characters that I wished were more defined. The male protagonist, Jonah Daniels’ whole family were really interesting but we never got to know more about them besides one character trait each and that they were sad over their father’s death. Another issue was the set-up of plot-points. There is a point early on in the novel when Ivi purchases a type of motorcycle and you just know what’s going to happen, and of course, it does.

I guess this is my final thought: Vivi suffers from mental illness. (Spoiler alert because I don’t think the reader is meant to know one of these going in) Vivi has depression and is bipolar. And her not taking her medications starts her on a downward spiral and she is unkind to the people who love her. It is real and ugly and for the most part, Lord writes Vivi’s frantic actions and words and increasingly disconnected inner dialogue really well. But the overall presentation of the romance and the neat ending do not fit with the story of issues of mental health, and that’s what left me feeling less than thrilled with the book.

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