Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children
Source: ALA AC 2015
Review by: Jenn
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.

2.5 stars out of 5 stars

I'm not sure how I feel about this book and in turn how to review it. I read When We Collided almost three months ago and I've been struggling to put into words how I feel about it. I thought it was good and I enjoyed it but I couldn't click and love it.

As my first Emery Lord book, I really enjoyed her writing style. Her descriptions and way with words really made the book stand out. I can vividly picture these characters in my head, especially Vivi with all her energy and quest for living life. However, my problem comes in the form of Vivi.

Three months later and I'm still on the fence about how I feel about Vivi. Knowing that the book deals with mental illness, I started reading prepared for characters that are a bit different from me. I have a psychology degree and worked in a psychiatric and psychotherapy office for almost ten years so I've seen patients and read about the kinds of stuff that happens in this book. I even figured out the diagnoses of the character before hitting the halfway mark because I'm so aware of it. But even going in prepared, Vivi's character was just too much for me. Wait, let me explain before what I say gets taken out of context and proportion. Vivi was too much for me prior to her decent to her episode and prior to realizing her diagnosis, what with her exuberant self and just the way she is. I wanted to hide from her because my shy self would never be able to keep up with her loud and vivacious self. Also, there were scenes that really turned me off of her character. The way she treated her mom and Jonah really bothered me and those scenes had nothing to do with her illness but more with her being selfish and inconsiderate.

What I did like from When We Collided was the way Lord wrote about mental illness. It such a delicate subject and I feel like she did a great job in portraying the denial and anger that comes from Vivi's diagnosis. And while I don't have the disorder, the episode Vivi's experiences felt real, honest, scary and dangerous.

I also enjoyed Jonah's story. The poor boy is dealing with a lot in the home front and Vivi helps him in getting out of the house and out of his head. His character is a lot quieter and Vivi gives his life a splash of color that was missing. However, because Vivi is such a bigger than life character, his story sometimes got pushed back to give way to her and her needs, even if the book is in dual point of views.

As my first Emery Lord book, I'm a little disappointed I didn't love it because I've heard nothing but wonderful things about her and her books. Like I mentioned before, I really wanted to love it but I just couldn't click with the book. I'm still going to go back and read Lord's previous books because her writing is beautiful and I need to find a book I love from her.


  1. I haven't read anything by Emery Lord either, and I was looking forward to this being my first experience with her writing. Everyone finds a book that other people like that they don't click with, though (I often feel like I'm the queen of not liking super hyped up books, lol). I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this and I hope your next read is better!


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