Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (7th April 2016)
Seventeen-year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life and only one thing has changed: his father used to be alive, and now he’s not. Reeling from the tragedy, Jonah must take care of his family.
Enter Vivi Alexander, new girl in town.
Vivi is in love with life. A gorgeous, unfiltered hurricane of thoughts and feelings, she transforms Jonah’s family and changes his life.
But there are always consequences when worlds collide . . .
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord tells the story of Jonah Daniels and Vivi Alexander two seventeen-year-olds in Verona Cove, California. Jonah has lived in Verona Cove all his life. The only thing that has changed for him is the death of his father, and then everything fell apart. Vivi is the new girl in town. After a chance encounter Jonah notices her love of life and he and his family slowly get pulled into her orbit, or maybe she falls into theirs. Whatever happens, that summer two people’s lives collide in this gloriously dreamy story. Every action has a consequence.
I got a copy of this book thanks to the May Illumicrate box, and I am very, very, happy that I did. This is a book I have been umm-ing over since I first heard of it because everyone seemed to love it. And to be honest that made me nervous – it made me wonder if WHEN WE COLLIDED could live up to its hype. I mean, really? For me, I think the blurb when it’s talking about Vivi describes this book best as an “unfiltered hurricane of thoughts and feelings”. You get swept up in Jonah and Vivi’s stories and then you reach the end, and are bereft. This book feels very real.
The plot of the book is basically what you would expect from a contemporary love story, but Lord provides some twists and turns that make the story really resonate. The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars was that I guessed pretty early on how the book was going to end. The split narration of the book between Vivi and Jonah works well as it allows us to see things from both their perspectives. To say that this book is just about love would be a disservice. Lord also tells the story of Vivi and Jonah’s struggle to return to ‘normal’ (whatever that might mean) but it’s more of a love story than it is anything, which I think is why I enjoyed it so much.
Lord does a really good job writing Jonah and Vivi; they were believable characters, and I enjoyed seeing their journeys unfold as the story unfolded. I enjoyed Jonah’s love of cooking and Vivi’s of fashion and art. Their family relationships and the dynamics within them were brilliantly done. Although the story focuses very much on Jonah and Vivi, Lord does a fantastic job with the secondary characters. A particular favourite of mine was Officer Hayashi; he doesn’t appear often, but when he does I appreciated it.
It’s true there is a lot of positive hype around WHEN WE COLLIDED, but don’t let that stop you from picking this book up. Emery Lord tells a really beautiful and intricate story of two teens whose paths cross one summer. If you are a fan of contemporary romance then this book should definitely be on your to-be-read list. WHEN WE COLLIDED is much more than a love story; it’s a story about how wonderfully, terribly, complex life can be and still be something beautifully disastrously real. This is a book that will stay with you.