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When We Collided
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When We Collided

4.5 8
by Emery Lord

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Seventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second


Seventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second change rolls in: Vivi Alexander, the new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. Charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she's told should make her feel better. After meeting Jonah, she slides into the Daniels' household seamlessly, winning over each sibling with her imagination and gameness. But it's not long before Vivi's zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking.

Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah's love is put to the test . . . but what happens when love simply isn't enough?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Nothing short of heartbreaking. These are definitely two teens worth rooting for in a tale that’s several clicks above the usual frothy summer romance fare." - BCCB

"Lord sucks readers into the fully realized world of two teenagers and their messy, honest families. As much about the fragility of the human experience as it is about mental illness, this offers a refreshing perspective on a spectrum of mental health disorders. This love story veers away from tragedy, instead firmly entrenching itself in hope and possibility." —Booklist

"Filled with raw, descriptive truths . . . a powerful book for reader engagement . . . An absolute tearjerker romance with a powerful message about weightier topics of grief and mental illness." —starred review,School Library Journal

"This is more than a love story. When We Collided carefully yet effortlessly puts mental illness in conversation with the beauty and struggle of adolescence. It is a book I wish could have written, but am so much better for having read." —Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of DUMPLIN' and SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY

"Searingly honest, gut-wrenchingly authentic, and deeply romantic, When We Collided is a gift of a novel. It tackles tough topics with nuance, and will make readers both laugh and cry, sometimes within the span of a page." —Jasmine Warga, author of MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES

"Vivi and Jonah's story will hit you deep in a book that shows what it means not only to be a person inflicted with mental illness, but to be the people that love them. In a word, fantastic!" —Andi of Andi’s ABCs

"Fans of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell will fall in love with this poetic story of two damaged kids." —Daria Plumb, 2015 President of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) and secondary English Language Arts teacher

"There is an honest portrayal of how life can be jagged, with rough corners and uneven edges. But if you take a closer look, there's a beauty to these misshapen moments, outlined with hope." —Blogger Ginger Phillips at GReadsBooks!

"I can't shake Vivi, her mistakes and her growth, the way she changes, the way she loves, and I don't want to. She's a YA heroine who will matter so much to teens." —Angie Manfredi, Los Alamos County Library

"Emery weaves an emotional tale of two people who are essentially flawed, but so very human, navigating a relationship. She truly has a feel for the seventeen-year-old within all of us girls." —Cori Smith, Joseph-Beth Booksellers

"It's romance and excitement and nervousness and heartbreak and sadness. . . . The teens at my library will eat this up!" —Maggie Melson, Children's/Teen Librarian, St. Charles City-County Library District

"What happens when an irrepressible spirit meets a burdened teen? Magic, that’s what. Emery Lord knows how to craft a romance." —Michael Fleming, Librarian, Pacific Cascade Middle School

"A fabulously entertaining story of friendship, healing, and love. Filled with laughter, heart, and a side of sass, this rock star debut will have you cheering for an encore!" —Elizabeth Eulberg, author of BETTER OFF FRIENDS, on OPEN ROAD SUMMER

VOYA, February 2016 (Vol. 38, No. 6) - Kathleen Beck
Since his dad died six months ago, Jonah’s life has been a blur. With school, working in his family’s restaurant, and helping his older siblings care for the three “littles” while their grieving mother shuts herself in her room, Jonah is exhausted and overwhelmed. Into this grim fog Vivi, a new summer resident in their small beach town, blows like a whirlwind. Creative, impulsive, vibrantly alive, Vivi soon has half the town—Jonah’s family included—in her pocket. “Vivi lives in overdrive,” Jonah thinks. But Vivi’s zest for life hides a dark secret: she is off her medication for bi-polar disorder. She assures her mother she is taking her pill—she is taking it directly to the ocean bluffs, where she flips it into the water. When her impulsivity slides into dangerous risk-taking, Jonah realizes that there are some problems even love cannot cure. Sometimes, help is necessary. Mental illness is a favorite topic in young adult fiction lately. This well-done example offers insight along with a good story and fully-realized characters. Vivi’s first-person chapters, alternating with Jonah’s, give an inside picture of how it feels as her mind revs up toward a manic episode. The problems that can result from concealing such a diagnosis are well depicted. A somewhat didactic ending will not spoil readers’ involvement in Jonah and Vivi’s relationship. An afterword offers information and sources to contact for help. There are sex and some salty vocabulary, but this is a strong choice for school and public libraries. Reviewer: Kathleen Beck; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
★ 02/01/2016
Gr 8 Up—Filled with raw, descriptive truths and told through the alternating voices of the protagonists, this story takes place in the idyllic, picturesque setting of Verona Cove, CA. Small enough for everyone to know one another yet large enough to handle a summer tourist season, this background locale is a perfect nesting spot for the poignant love story between Vivi Alexander and Jonah Daniels. The collision between the teens crests and ebbs in what seems like a far too small window of time. Instead, the story dares to allow the action to rise and fall in an organic way. Teeming with in-your-face realism, the work exposes readers to the emotional ups and downs of Vivi, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and Jonah, who is trying to hold himself, his siblings, and the family restaurant together as his mother falls apart after the death of her husband. Vivi's struggles with taking medication, and her honest discussions of her brain's chemical issues are evenly balanced with her portrayal as an artist who wants to leave her mark on the world. Jonah's quiet strength as he steps into the role his father's death left vacant and his willingness to share a piece of himself with Vivi make this a powerful book for reader engagement. The ending will have readers hoping for a sequel, though one is not needed. VERDICT An absolute tearjerker romance with a powerful message about weightier topics of grief and mental illness.—Sabrina Carnesi, Crittenden Middle School, Newport News, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Vivi and Jonah's hot summer romance is marred by her rebellion against her diagnosis of bipolar disorder and his grief over his father's recent death. Artistic and outgoing, Vivi enjoys adopting various personas through vintage clothing and retro makeup, and she becomes immediately popular in the town where she and her mom are vacationing. When she meets handsome and serious Jonah, Vivi seems as interested in the possibility of acquiring him as a hot fling as she is in cheering him up. Jonah's shocked to find himself in the cross hairs of exotic Vivi, and he initially tries to protect their romance by hiding his stress over his mother's lingering depression. Vivi's beauty and exuberant attentions dazzle Jonah, and they largely explain his patience with her increasing capriciousness and the growing emotional distance that contradicts her demands for physical intimacy. But eventually Vivi's dismissals of Jonah's growing distress about his family strains their relationship. Readers understand that Vivi has secretly stopped taking her medication, but it's still difficult to watch her illness overshadow her interest in Jonah. Ultimately this is Vivi's journey, despite her sharing narration in alternating chapters with Jonah. Aside from a Japanese police officer and the Latino chef at Jonah's family's restaurant, the book's cast is largely white. An author's note supplies some resources on mental illness. Vivi's too precocious and world-weary from the start to make her relationship with practical Jonah ever feel like it has possibility beyond the end of the summer, regardless of her diagnosis. (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
HL730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Emery Lord is the author of Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You. She lives in a pink row house in Cincinnati, with a husband, two rescue dogs, and a closet full of impractical shoes.
Twitter: @emerylord

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When We Collided 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Finally read this and loved it so much! I think this feeling is burstsomeness! ALL THE COMPLICATED YOUNG WOMEN, ALL THE TIME. Bonus points for other things I love: parents, sibling relationships, life pressures like money and the Future. Grief, mental health. Messy feelings. I loved Vivi and Jonah and their little beachside town and I already want to go back.
AReadingRedSox More than 1 year ago
WHEN WE COLLIDED follows Vivi, a teenage girl suffering from bipolar depression and a past that she can’t outrun, as she spends the summer with her mother in a small California town. There she meets Jonah, a boy trying to handle the death of his father, his mother’s own depression, and his rambunctious siblings. Emery Lord expertly portrays mental illness with brutal honesty, while still weaving a hopeful and empowering story. Fans of Lord and first time readers alike will appreciate her trademark wit and contemporary feminism, and will savor this one long after they’ve finished the last of Lord’s cutting edge, game changing novel.
mdemanatee More than 1 year ago
Last year I absolutely fell in love with Lord’s novel The Start of Me and You, a book that managed to make me feel those butterflies of first love. In When We Collided,Vivi has moved to a small beach town with her artist mother for the summer. Jonah has been taking on more responsibility at home since his father’s sudden death and is looking for a summer escape. They find each other, while attempting to find themselves. This was a love story, but not. Rather, it was about Vivi and Jonah, two teens going through the roughest patches of their adolescent lives and both on the brink of adulthood and adult decisions, even if they’ve been faced with situations that have forced them to grow up faster anyway. It is about them finding each other amidst this chaos, and being a shoulder to lean on for a little while. It is about the people that come into our lives at the right moment, whether they stay forever or not. I appreciate that this book was honest about where these characters were and would be in their lives. It didn’t feel the need to force anything. Life is what it was for Vivi and Jonah at the end of the novel. As usual Lord’s language is gorgeous. She has a great style, and each character who speaks in this dual POV has a distinct voice. Characters run the show here. I did have trouble at times with Vivi. She was a brilliantly well drawn character, but for me it was obvious from the beginning that she wasn’t just quirky (not that Lord was attempting to hide this at all). I saw a girl who desperately needs help, exactly what she was. But she always kept everyone in her life at least a little bit at arms distance, so it was often hard for me to connect with her. I just wanted to get her help. This is 100% not how all readers will react to her. Many, many will adore her. And yet Lord balanced this out with the super grounded and family oriented Jonah, whose entire family I really cared for. I was anxious for a lot of the novel because I was just waiting for everything to come to a head. These were character’s whose lives were balanced on the edge of a pin, making this a well-crafted novel. It just also had a weird balance of romance and trying to deal with the big issues. The romance never felt super developed, maybe more because these were characters clinging to each other for the escape they represented, as much as each other. And while I appreciated that the weightier parts of this book were handled as every day life, there could also have been more development here without sacrificing any of the stylist choices. Most of my reaction tot his book is incredibly personal. This is a well-craft novel with vibrant characters. Lord is excellent at what she does. You should still read this, and I should pick up Open Road Summer, because why haven’t I read it yet??
Katie_breathofbooks More than 1 year ago
I think this may be my least favorite of Emery Lord's books, but that isn't a bad thing, because it just means that I loved the others so much and didn't love this quite as much as them. I still very much liked this book and it was a very quick read once I got into it. Something that I thought this book did really well was dealing with mental illness. It becomes pretty clear during the story that there is something wrong with Vivi, even if the diagnosis isn't given for a while. She has mood swings of being either up or down and she is quite manic sometimes. While I do not have bipolar disorder or know people with it personally, I thought this seemed to be a good and honest portrayal of how it affects someone's life. This book is also pro-medication, though Vivi personally is not for a while, which is good to see in a book since that can be helpful to people dealing with mental illness. I loved Jonah so much. He was just such a genuinely sweet boy who was there for Vivi. It wasn't always easy for him to see her going through some of what she went through in the book, but he was there for her and supportive. He also was struggling quite a bit himself from losing his dad and from his family's financial troubles. He basically had to be the person in charge since his mom barely got out of bed after losing her husband. He was thrown into a position of having to be one of the guardians for his younger siblings and he split these responsibilities with his older brother. It was clear that this was tough on him, but he did the best job that he could. I really loved reading about the siblings in this book. The romance that developed between Jonah and Vivi wasn't perfect, but I think it was what both of them needed at the time. I can't say too much more about this because of spoilery reasons, but yeah. I liked it and thought it was sweet. If you like YA contemporary, read this book.
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
Emery Lord landed on my fave contemp author list with Open Road Summer and The Start of Me And You, But with this book, she has found her way to my auto-buy list. Anything she writes, I will read. I don't care if it's her to-do list. When We Collided is about a girl named Vivi and a boy named Jonah who meet each other over the summer and fall into a whirlwind romance. And by whirlwind I mean that literally. They start doing so many different fun things together with "the littles" and Jonah forgets what he was even going through at first. But then, there's a serious change and neither Jonah nor Vivi know how to handle it. Mainly, what kept me going through this story was Jonah's family. " They were all adorable in their own right. On top of that, they were all a real part of the story. I felt like they all had a purpose and all of them were fleshed out. As a character driven reader it was interesting to see how she was able to make sure they were all playing a big part in the story. I also liked seeing the way she portrayed the disability. As a family member has the same illness the character does, it really felt like I was watching a real life scene and not reading it in a book. In other words, Lord definitely did a wonderful job portraying the character with the disability. I read the author's note and the acknowledgements (I mean who doesn't?) and it stated she was alost afraid to write about it. She did a great job in my opinion. For those that think this may be all light and fluffy? It won't. This book was raw and real and very emotional. In a couple spots I also remembered my eyes filling with tears, This book is definitely not as fluffy as her predecessors, but it's still certainly a great book. With that being said, the romance is still electric. I loved seeing Jonah and Vivi together. Add in the rest of Jonah's family and it was even better. I loved that she incorporated them all with Jonah. To me, that was how she showed she loved him. Acceptance. And vice versa for Jonah. This book was such an accurate representation of what it's like to know someone with this illness. Add in the romance and it is definitely one to look out for in the future. Emery Lord has definitely knocked it out of the park with this one!
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
4.5 I wanted to read When We Collided because I really like the sound of the two main characters. Plus, I really have thoroughly enjoyed her other two books, and hoped for more of the same. Vivi sounded like a girl with a lot of energy and someone so bubbly and such a charismatic personality Jonah is kind of the opposite he is very responsible taking care of his younger siblings along with his two older because his dad died and his mom has been pretty depressed. She stays in bed and Jonah describes her as breakable and he imagines that she has to remind herself to breathe after their loss. I like the sound of the small town they live in and it sounds so idealistic and homie and a place that I would love to visit and also love to live in. The theme of family and friendship both played pretty heavily into this one, all themes that I appreciate and like to read about. I am endeared to Jonah with how much responsibility he takes in and the extreme love he has for his family. I can also tell the stress it puts on him because caring for kids on the level he does just isn't supposed to be on his shoulders. It is told in dual perspective and that really add something to it because we get to see Vivi and Jonah's reactions to things and what they think about the other. we get two contrasting personalities and opinions about things and we get to see their romance building and also as we read the character development and everything from their past that eventually catches up to both of them. Not that far in the you begin to realize that Vivi has some issues of her owN. she described it as she got really low and then she got really high as far as her moods go awhile back. Then she had a conversation with her mom about the fact that she had lost some weight and that made her mom suspicious that she wasn't taking her medicine like she needs to be, since side effects for psych meds can cause weight gain. Mental illness is an issue that is very important to me because I deal with bipolar with hypomania and anxiety and I've been on all kinds of medication for it and I was able to relate with her on all new levels. I began to a suspect that's what she struggled with. she was bubbly and friendly and anything because she was experiencing her high/manic part of the disease she's very talkative and friendly and all those things could have just been her personalities but we also see her throwing out her medication and the synopsis also talks about her descent into risky behavior and that sounds like the beginnings of the swings from manic to depressive. I love the scenes where Jonah and Vivi were getting to know each other it's so sweet. Vivi brings a intensity to everything, for example of she believes in reincarnation and she told things about her past life and how it relates to who she is today. The things she said about Jonah totally makes sense to his personality she said that he was a tree in a previous life and that is why he's so steady and how he wants to shelter the little ones. The scenes with Jonah's sibling are so well written. It is so realistic how they still bicker and give each other a hard time but at the end of the day they're really there for each other. I love that he treats his younger siblings with respect and he plays with them and sacrifices things to help them with their homework and take care of them. They all look up to him and love him for it. I love seeing vivi with the youngest Leah, she was able to b
Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars! Let’s just put this out there.. I’m a HUGE Emery Lord fan. Like, total EL fangirl over here. When We Collided was one of my MOST anticipated reads for this year. I was insanely eager to get my hands on a copy. But I have to be honest… seeing the early reviews of this and hearing people mention how unlike her other books this was, it did make me a bit nervous. You see, I LOVE Emery’s ability to wow me with her books… and I was so nervous I would feel differently about this one. The good news… I loved it!! Yes, it was entirely different. Yes, it almost seemed like it was by a different author. Yes, I loved it just as much. ♥ Emery’s first dabble into the sensitive topic of mental illness was exceptional. Such a realistic and thought-provoking look into the life and mind of a fun, energetic, emotional teenage girl with a mental illness. I loved that this illness didn’t define Vivi as a person, but rather was just another part of her. Though I can’t say I know exactly what Vivi was dealing with firsthand, I can say that I felt all of it right along with her. I loved Vivi’s energy and her enjoyment of life. I loved how quickly people warmed up to her. How she could show up at someone’s house and they immediately welcomed her in. And I loved how even the antisocial cop was unable to turn her away. I guess I just loved Vivi, faults and all. This story isn’t solely about Vivi and her illness either. It’s just as much about the other characters as well. Jonah, for one, had a life no one wishes on a child. After the death of his father, his mother became a recluse and refused to leave her room, forcing Jonah and his older siblings to take care of the younger ones, nicknamed “the littles.” Jonah was forced to act like a father well before his time… and because of this, he was also forced to grow up at a very young age. I was astounded by the weight that was put on these older siblings, and also completely blown away by the way they were able to handle it. No, they didn’t do everything perfectly, and it was definitely a struggle. Emery’s ability to bring this all about in such a realistic way was phenomenal. I feel like I can’t say much more about this book, other than READ IT! NOW! If you’re an Emery Lord fan already, you won’t be disappointed. And if you’ve never read an Emery Lord book, this is a great place to start. Despite it being extremely different from her other two, her incredible talent shines through just as powerfully. A swoony, thoughtful, emotional read that encompasses so much seriousness you will be forced to feel, whether you want to or not. Emery’s most emotional read yet, and also the most compelling. A must-read for every contemporary fan! (Thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy!)
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Vivi falls in love with Verona Cove almost immediately. It is a small, painfully quaint town that seems to be brimming over with possibility. The perfect place for her painter mother to find inspiration this summer. The perfect place for Vivi to regroup after her painful departure from Seattle months ago. With a job in the pottery shop, breakfast at the diner each morning, and the perfect view of the ocean when she throws one of her pills away, Vivi is sure that this summer is going to be just perfect. Jonah has been struggling. His father's death is still a gaping, ragged hole of grief. His mother is falling apart--lost in depression that might be grief or might be clinical. He and his older siblings have been trying to keep the family together and mind their three younger siblings. But Jonah is starting to cave under the responsibilities and obligations. Vivi and Jonah never expected to meet, much less fall in love. Over the course of one tumultuous summer they will do that and more. Together Vivi and Jonah might have all of the pieces to heal themselves. But after learning how to be together, they might also have to learn how to survive apart in When We Collided (2016) by Emery Lord. When We Collided is Lord's third novel. This novel is narrated by Vivi and Jonah in alternating first-person chapters as they each tell their own stories and the story of their growing relationship. Vivi is coming to terns with her diagnosis with bipolar disorder (and the aftermath of her last manic episode) while trying to have a quiet summer with her mother. Jonah is still shattered by his father's premature death and the sudden responsibilities he has had to take on as a result. While Lord once again offers readers a sweet romantic plot, it is misleading to call this book a romance. Instead When We Collided is more the story of two people who meet at the right time--exactly when they need each other and when they can help each other the most. Lord does a great job making Vivi's life with bipolar disorder realistic and authentic. She is much more than her diagnosis. Her narration is frenetic and vibrant and makes it painfully clear when things begin to slip. While the trope of avoiding medication is tiresome, it's handled decently in When We Collided and does end with Vivi committed to treatment and agreeing to discuss options more fully with her doctor before making and sudden decisions. (There's also a side-plot with Vivi looking for her father which is messy, poorly explained, and could have done with more research and development.) By contrast, Jonah is easily the more grounded of the two and readily lets himself get swept up in Vivi's whirlwind. His life is a nice contrast to Vivi's and underscores that everyone has something they are working through and moving toward. When We Collided doesn't end neatly. Vivi and Jonah's story is messy and complicated and open-ended. Neither character knows what will come next, and neither do readers. The only thing that's clear for these two incredibly strong teens is that they are better for know each other and, no matter what comes next, they are going to be okay. Lord delivers another compelling and engrossing novel here. Recommended for fans and readers looking for romantic stories with complex characters and realistic portrayals of mental illness.