ARC Review: When We Collided

Posted April 6, 2016 / Book Reviews / 14 Comments

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

ARC Review: When We CollidedWhen We Collided by Emery Lord
on April 5th 2016
Also by this author: Open Road Summer, The Start of Me and You, The Names They Gave Us, Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet, Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft, The Map from Here to There, All That’s Left to Say
(352 pages) • GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble

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.

my thoughts pinkI have a ridiculously large amount of mixed feelings on this book. It’s a tough one to rate for me, because what am I supposed to go by – the way it made me feel and my level of enjoyment? The quality of the story and its importance? These two ratings are insanely different. I talked with Angie about it after finishing and she helped me put it to words. The book itself – the story, the portrayal of mental illness – is VERY important. It’s so well-done. However, it just isn’t a book that I like reading about. It was frustrating, sad, and kind of disappointing because of it. I didn’t go into it expecting something super fluffy, like Lord’s other books, but I also didn’t expect to be so upset throughout the whole thing either. I was hoping for a mix of the two.

The first third of the book was utter perfection, like the entirety of Lord’s other books that I’m obsessed with. The setting of Verona Cove was amazing and reminded me of all the Sarah Dessen books that happen in Colby. Jonah was fucking adorable and Vivi was vivacious. (See what I did there?) I loved them right away. The book had some instalove but for some reason it felt right. I don’t necessarily have an issue with it because I really think some people do hit it off right away. I have no issue with people feeling like they’re meant to be. I don’t know; the book just has to give me the right feels about it I guess. This one hit the mark for me.

It’s no secret from the synopsis that Vivi is dealing with some kind of mental illness. It’s not put to words until maybe 50-60% of the way through the book, although you can probably make some assumptions. This was hard for me because I kept trying to rationalize Vivi’s behavior in terms of her illness, but it didn’t make it any easier to read. She grew controlling and jealous over Jonah, but was then allowed to do anything SHE wanted. She pushed him out of his comfort zone a lot of the time too. It wasn’t clear to me if Jonah had always been introverted, or if he had just turned inward a little because of his father passing away. Either way, I feel like she never gave him the chance to be himself or decide what he was comfortable with. Again, it’s hard to sit here and judge her for her behavior because we know she’s dealing with something. It just didn’t make it any easier to read. I highly recommend that you check out Cristina’s review because she absolutely hits the nail on the head in terms of my feelings toward this book. (In addition to her explanation on her feelings about Vivi, she says “I always harbor respect for an author when I can rate a book highly based on writing quality and overall themes even when characters or plot happenings don’t agree with me.” — this is exactly how I feel as well.)

I didn’t LIKE reading a lot of this book because of that. I appreciate the story and think it’s an accurate portrayal of that particular mental illness – from what I understand. The rating I’m giving it is purely based on the quality of the story itself. In reflecting back on it, I enjoy it and appreciate it more. (Especially because I don’t have to read it anymore lol). I know this is an overwhelmingly negative-sounding review with such a high rating, but I have to do Emery Lord justice for the important story she created. Below I’m going to enclose some spoilery information in a spoiler tag, for those of you who have read it or have questions about the romance.

Also, as a random sidenote: if you came here for the friendship feels that Lord is famous for, you’re out of luck. There are a few random friend relationships that people have within the story (Jonah and Ellie/Felix, Vivi and the police officer/everyone in the town), but nothing major at all. If you’re looking for family feels and a huge family you’ll fall in love with like My Life Next Door, you have come to the right place. Jonah’s family was my favorite aspect of this story. His family made it all worth it, really.

On the mental illness: View Spoiler »

On the romance and ending: View Spoiler »

feels from friends pinkrating breakdown pink

Plot & Premise
Writing Style
Pacing & Flow
Feels or Swoons
Addiction Level
Overall: 4.1

14 responses to “ARC Review: When We Collided

  1. Yeah, I deal with this so many times when it comes to certain books. Like, it’s well written; beautiful even but from a personal standpoint, not on my compass? ALL THE TIME.

    We talked about this in our chat, but her writing is just not for me. Even though I’ve been told this one is vastly different from her other books, I’m not really wanting to take that chance. haha Great review! I think you did a great job explaining ALL THE EMOTIONS.

  2. I’ve read a lot of mixed things about this book. It’s weird because I was expecting an outpouring of love, and that’s not really what I’ve seen so far. The cover is what initially pulled me in… and then the relationship and family stuff sounded interesting. But I’ve read a lot of reviews like yours where people have a hard time reading Vivi. Mental Illness is complicated in books for me because sometimes even though a character has a mental illness and I know I should give them some slack because of it, I still don’t like the character. Maybe it is solely the mental illness that makes them do the things I don’t like, but I can’t make myself like it or them. Does that make sense?? Anyhow, Vivi kind of sounds like one of those characters for me. Great review!

    • I know! I expected the same. I think there are a lot of glowing reviews, but also quite a few like mine. Most people seem to appreciate the story and the writing, but it can be hard to read at times.

      I completely agree about mental illness – that’s what happened here for me. I wanted to cut her slack because of it, but I just didn’t like her at times. Makes a lot of sense!

  3. I’ve been looking forward to reading your review ever since I saw your goodreads updates! I haven’t read The Start of Me and You yet but I was debating reading this one first since it’s shiny and new. I think it would be really interesting to read about Vivi and her mental illness but I’m scared it’ll turn me off from TSoMaY if I’m too sad!

    • I know what you mean – I absolutely LOVED The Start of Me and You. The books have the same great writing but are just such different stories, in my opinion. I would honestly recommend TSoMaY first, just because it’s my favorite 😉 This one can be tough!

  4. I definitely see what you’re saying when it comes to When We Collided. It is, by no means, a book that’s easy to read, particularly when it comes to portrayal of Vivi and her mental illness. But I definitely think it’s very important! And it was really well-written 🙂

  5. I saw your review linked on Lindsey’s blog, and I’m really glad I read it, because I completely agree with almost everything you say here! (The only thing I disagree about is the instalove—it did bother me, because I don’t understand what their relationship was based on. Part of that is because I didn’t like Vivi, so it was hard to see what Jonah saw in her.) I also rated this book based on the importance and quality of the story, rather than my reading experience. It really wasn’t enjoyable to read a lot of the time. My favorite parts to read were of course the ones about Jonah. I absolutely loved him, his family, and his interest in food.

    I was a bit torn about the ending. On one hand, I shipped Jonah with Ellie and wasn’t sad to see Vivi go. On the other hand, I agree that it sort of sends the message that Vivi doesn’t deserve to be happy or to have a stable partner just because she’s not stable. From what I know of Emory Lord from Twitter, that probably wasn’t her intention, but it’s hard not to interpret it that way.

    • Completely agree with everything you said! I think you definitely have a point on the instalove. Some people you can just feel chemistry with right away, but it’s hard if you don’t like one of the characters! Thanks so much for the comment 🙂

  6. Thank you for the mention, Lauren! I’m glad you liked my review! I agree, there were parts that just were hard to read, such as the manic episodes, but that were really important to the story. I actually heard Emily Lord speak last night, and it was really insightful. She said that there were scenes that were hard to write, but that she wanted to do justice to the truth of the disorder, which I immensely expected. I’m reading The Start of Me and You right now and it’s sooooooo different than When We Collided!

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