I really appreciated this book. I will say that Emery's depiction of bipolar disorder doesn't match up with my own experience -- she takes some literary license in exaggerating the differences in Vivi's mental states and focuses on the more extreme symptoms in a way that feels a little "caricaturish." But if it is a caricature, it still feels like a well-intentioned one that I didn't find offensive. I also thought Emery took more risks with her use of language than she did in previous books, which I think mostly paid off.
I liked this book, but I didn't love it, and that was kind of heartbreaking for me because I absolutely adored Lord's previous books. It wasn't horrible though, so ugh, I don't know, I am just really conflicted about my feeling for this book right now.
What I liked:
Little Leah, and big, bubbly personality. She was just super adorable and hilarious
THE GORGEOUS cover! It's soooo pretty. completely different from the covers of the last 2 books which could be aggravating if you collect books and now have a mismatched set... Still, it's super pretty.
The big-ish family. I always thought it would be fun to have a lot of brothers and sisters because there would always be someone to hang out with. I loved how they all pulled together when things got bad.
I liked Vivi's GINORMOUS personality as well. She was always so willing to put herself out there and look silly. And she talked. A lot. Which is cool, because I'm a pretty quiet person, I'd rather listen than talk. So being friends with someone like Vivi would be okay with me.
I liked Jonah. He was just so sweet, and I always just wanted to hug him and say, hey, you know, everything will be fine.
What I didn't like
The insta-forced love thing. Normally I can deal with the insta-love. But this time it was a little much. It felt to me like Vivi was the one pushing the relationship. She was kind of controlling and demanding and even childish at times when she was with Jonah.
The ending was kind of a bummer for me. I love my HEAs. Or at least an ending that gives the illusion that there will be a Happily Ever After at some point, but this one didn't. I understand that life doesn't always give you a happy ending, but this is a book! It doesn't have to follow the rules of reality!
I don't know much about bipolar disorder, so I can't make any comments on how believable that was.
Overall, this book was, as I said above, Okay. But it wasn't anything spectacularly fantastic.
When We Collided ripped me apart as I was reading it. Perhaps it's my current circumstances, perhaps it's the fact that a lot of this novel mirrored too much of my own life... it just destroyed me. That makes for a fantastic reading experience, admittedly. This is one of those books where I connected on so many different levels and and it made for such a layered experience.
I loved the relationship between Vivi and Jonah. In fact, it was my favourite part of the novel. It wasn't love at first sight, the romance between both characters felt so organic, as everything builds to a messy climax. Jonah in particular was the one I could really relate to, and stories about caregivers often get ignored. Often these stories tend to miss the burnout, the aggression, the frustration of feeling like you don't matter compared to the person you're caring for. I understood Jonah's trials and tribulations, in fact, whenever he vented his emotions I found myself nodding along with him. I loved Jonah's siblings as well, especially Leah, who I feel captured a lot of the books emotion in terms of how younger children deal with hyper-sensitive situations.
I also loved Vivi. I saw a lot of myself in her as well -- emotionally invested in others, but struggles to take care of herself. Loves others unconditionally, but cannot seem to find the same love in herself. She's a beautiful character packed with so much intensity and emotion. I loved her need to remind the world who she once was, where she is now, and who she wishes to become. I loved her constant need to surprise others, and find the beauty in everything. She's so well developed, though to be fair, I think every character in this book is fantastically portrayed.
This book is messy, it's emotional, it's loving, it's rough, it's kind, it's... everything one would expect from a story about people colliding and trying to find focus in there lives in situations where it's not possible. Lord does this amazing job of reminding readers about how these kinds of struggles are so real and should not be ignored. She also reminds us that beautiful things can often come in the messiest packages.
Emery Lord writes fabulous and emotional teen romances with depth and sometimes tears. Reading about a teenage girl with bipolar disorder was sometimes difficult, as some of the tension in the story comes realizing that Vivi is intentionally not taking her medication and isn't a reliable narrator. The alternating chapters between Vivi and Jonah helped provide perspective on the situations in their relationship.
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