Review – When We Collided


Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Publication: April 5th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352 pages
Format: Library book
Rating: 3/5

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.

Shelf it on Goodreads


So here’s the alphabetical run down:


I honestly struggled with this book right from the beginning. If you read a few different reviews for When We Collided, you will quickly find that Vivi and Jonah are those characters that people cannot agree on. Either Vivi worked for them and Jonah was boring, or Vivi was altogether too much and Jonah was endearing. I find myself in the latter group. This book is written in alternating chapters from both of their very different perspectives, and I was so glad at times to get back to Jonah’s perspective from reading Vivi’s.

That being said, When We Collided is an admirable piece of writing and since I’ve read both of Lord’s other books (Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You) I can confidently say that this is her deepest and most thought provoking writing. Vivi’s character begins eccentric, but changes in subtle ways throughout the book creating this momentum that I can only describe as feeling like a ticking time bomb. It was unnerving because I was so drawn into the story that I was concerned for Jonah.

There are a host of secondary characters, Jonah has a large family with lots of siblings and I feel like they were all described well and given varying personalities. Also, since the story is set in a small California coastal town, some of the secondary characters were people around town and everyone seemed to know everything about everyone else.


I really like this cover: the textured feel of a canvas and the paint splatter and the painted font for the title. Vivi is an artist, so is her mother, and it really fits the story.


I struggled a bit with the romance between Vivi and Jonah. I know this is not normal in the book review world, but I’m not an insta-love hater. Sometimes you see someone, you interact with them once, and you just know, and that’s ok with me. But in this case, I think the story could have done without the romance. I know, I know, and I LOVE romance! I think that the main premise of the story, Vivi’s mental illness and Jonah and his family healing from family tragedy, could have been better with the two of them just supporting each other through it in a deep friendship. However, if I’m being realistic, I guess two attractive teenagers are probably not going to do that.


There were a handful of moments in this book when I thought, “Man, I have been thinking about depression or bipolar disorder in a certain way, and I was wrong!” Also, Lord goes so far as to write an author’s note at the end of the book where she talks about her personal experience with “bad days” and “best days.” I have an immense amount of respect for her to have written something so personal.

Despite feeling like the book was extremely though provoking, I just didn’t find myself enjoying reading it. The writing was great, but the story itself left me with such a sense of dreading what was to come that I can’t really say I loved it.


“I once saw a video online of a dog crashing into a screen door. Over and over. He couldn’t figure it out. This is me and trying to be cool in front of Vivi.”

“To the deepest, most cellular level of my being, I resent people who believe that depression is the same as weakness, that “sad” people must be coddled like helpless toddlers.”

“I keep wondering if it’ll ever hurt less. This…this hole in our lives.”

“Oh, I imagine it’ll hurt less eventually. I think there will always be a hole, though. But lace is one of the most beautiful fabrics, you know. All those holes and gaps, but it’s still complete somehow- still lovely.”


I would still recommend this book, especially to anyone who has a friend or family member with depression or bipolar disorder and feels like they are on the outside looking in to a situation they can’t understand. I feel like this book does give insight into both of those worlds.



5 thoughts on “Review – When We Collided

  1. I tried to comment on this on my phone but CLEARLY it didn’t work. Anyway, I’m with you – I liked Jonah much more, and I didn’t feel like the romance was necessary (although that didn’t stop me from viciously shipping Jonah and Ellie…). I just feel like romance is overused in YA, you know?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t you love when your technology works against you! I really love romance, so I don’t read many books without at least a bit of romance, but I totally see what you mean. It’s like YA authors feel obligated to throw it in there… may be so people like me will read their books, haha!


  2. I came across this book because lots of people recommended it and couldn’t stop saying good things about it. But, I think I got nearly half way through the book and realised that if I kept reading, I would be in a reading slump. I didn’t end up finishing it and I’m glad. I think I would have rated it lower than you. I just didn’t like the girl in this book. She was just annoying. There are people that are so “in-your-face” and she is one of them. She is so “in-your-face” to the point where you hate her. Because sometimes you can appreciate those people even if they seem annoying. Except for her. Shes just not like that. But, I’m glad I came across your review because at least there’s someone else that didn’t enjoy this book that much. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes it’s just smarter to stop reading a book you know you’re not going to enjoy, good for you! I think what redeemed Vivi’s character for me was the author’s note at the end of the book where she hinted that she was also bipolar. I think that Vivi’s personality in the book may be an accurate description of someone who is bipolar, unmedicated, in their manic state, so although I found her chapters hard to read, I respected the author for being brave enough to write something so personal.


      1. You see I didn’t know this because I didn’t get to the end. I feel like you’re more appreciative of the story if you know the intentions of the author. But I’m a bit more difficult with things like that. If I don’t like it, I don’t like it.
        But I admire your open-mindedness


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