Book Review: ‘When We Collided’ by Emery Lord

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Imogen Rogers

Especially with covid-19, “When We Collided” will be your nice and healthy break from reality.

When We Collided by Emery Lord is a fast-paced, unique YA romance novel about the “collision” of 17-year-old Jonah Daniels and Vivi Alexander. Its riveting plot ties together topics of loss, mental health and young love effortlessly, keeping you wanting to turn pages faster than you can read.

Jonah Daniels has lived in the small beach town of Verona Cove, California with his five siblings for his entire life. Though only 17, he finds himself responsible for the younger ones with only the help of his older brother and sister. 

While the family is mere months into experiencing the physical loss of their father, Mrs. Daniels is also nowhere to be seen, holed up in her room most days, aching over the loss of her husband. To cope, Jonah utilizes his incredible cooking skills, both following in his father’s footsteps and by using it as a means of escape. 

Vivi Alexander is new to Verona Cove, and only staying for the Summer before moving back to Seattle. Vivi is electric: red lips, vintage dresses, and curled, bleached hair cut just above her shoulders. She is creative and daring and believes in things like past lives and reincarnation. 

However, the light she emits the summer that she spends in Verona Cove is a fleeting thing, ready to be taken down by her past or her mind or both in an instant. 

She acts recklessly, and the fuel to the fire of her actions runs much deeper than simple impulse. 

When the two collide at the start of summer, a restless few weeks lay waiting to be played out ahead of them. They fall in love in the ocean and on night walks and sneak into each other’s rooms. 

Not only does Vivi fall for Jonah, but for his beautiful family as well. Both teens are accepted by each other in full, with all of their broken bits. No one’s aim is to fix the other.

“This novel may seem like a typical summer romance, but it’s actually a substantive if uneven exploration of how two seemingly broken teens fall in love despite their struggles,” said Sadie Angulo Chen of Common Sense Media.

I adored every single character practically instantly, and Lord’s deliberate use of each of them is beautifully done. 

Well written and emotional, When We Collided is a worthy read that proves a great conversation starter,” said Chen.

I would rate this book 3 stars out of 5, however, because of the lack of development in the early stages of their romance. 

There was an unrealistic, rushed sense of “instalove,” which I perceived as if Lord was just trying to get the “falling” stage over with. 

Still, the book does a wonderful job tackling the highly misunderstood conditions of bipolar disorder and intense grief. I would recommend this book to anyone in need of a quick read with an easy plot and lovely characters.