Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Published by Bloomsbury on April 5, 2016
Amazon, Book Depository
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.
“Even the constellations can see us now: we are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know.”
I honestly had no idea what hell would be unleashed upon my poor fragile heart when I decided to pick up When We Collided. When I got it for review, I kind of just set it aside because, while I loved Emery Lord, it released in April (This was maybe November when I got it) and the synopsis just didn’t grab me as unique. There are thousands of love stories with tragic characters and reckless hearts. Thousands. d
A month and a half later, after reading a couple of reviews on Goodreads, I decided to skip my reading schedule and give this one a try. After all, Emery Lord has yet to disappoint.
To be honest, I’m still struggling to put my thoughts on this book into words. There’s just…so much to talk about. And for every little thing, I have the most contradictory, explosive feelings. Mainly about Vivi.
She was…she was the ultimate manic pixie dream girl. I’m not quite sure how to make that make any sense, honestly. Vivi was just this vivacious and enigmatic character who I really did like at first. I think the words I used to describe her in my notes were “eccentric, yet charmingly so”, and I honestly think that that’s how everyone saw her. As the story went on though, Vivi revealed more and more of herself that infuriated me, no matter how possible and how human those flaws were. She was wild. Reckless. Fearless. But I don’t mean that in a good way. She was more volatile than a grenade, always a hair away from exploding. SPOILER COMING, but not really because it’s kind of easily predicted View Spoiler » all of this, obviously, makes sense when you learn about her bipolar disorder. « Hide Spoiler Emery Lord just writes it all so realistically and heartbreakingly, that it’s hard not to feel some kind of irritation towards Vivi. It’s not only that she was audacious and careless, it’s that she always assumed.
Vivi acts like she’s an expert on sadness, on humans, because she suffered. She thinks she knows everything because she went through pain. She always assumes what Jonah’s problems are, never letting him speak, and comforting fears and hurts that aren’t there. She’s selfish. She leans on him so much and dares to think that he needs her–and maybe that’s true, but I don’t think she realizes how dependent she is on him. He puts up with her shit because he loves her, but the moment–the moment--he needs her, she ignores him, lost in her own world. She calls him out, telling him to stop his pity party, but honestly, during that scene, all I could think was that she was the pathetic one. It just. It enraged me.
But despite those two paragraphs of complaints, of ranting, and of absolute loathing, I still loved this book (I think). Because all those things I didn’t like about Vivi? It’s who she is. Her character, though I don’t love her, is beautifully written, if heartrendingly so. She’s absolutely human. Most definitely flawed, most definitely scarred, most definitely the worst and the best humanity has to offer all at once. She’s real. Her weaknesses are her strengths. Her strengths are her weaknesses. And that’s what makes Vivi Vivi.
Jonah was. God, Jonah. He was so desperately, irrevocably in love with this wild hurricane of a girl who blows through his life. He struggles to capture her and keep her safe, but he can’t. Because she’s Vivi and she won’t be kept by anyone, much less one person. Seeing him try so hard to love her as he does and keeping all of his siblings in check hurt me. My heart ached for him almost every single time he showed up because he tries. He tries so hard. And I just adored him, especially around his siblings. There’s so much to love about him, and so much about this romance that hurts.
It was a beautiful romance though. They were a wonderful disaster that didn’t know how to be anything but wild and messy. Honestly, I was afraid of how this story would end because there were very few ways this could’ve ended, and not many of them promised happy ever afters.
There have been dozens upon dozens of reviews that have called When We Collided beautiful, but I disagree. It’s far from beautiful–it’s raw and ugly and real and it hurt. That’s what makes this book what it is, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is one of those books that makes you reevaluate your life and makes you think. It’s utterly, utterly flawed. And that’s kind of this story’s winning point.