Review: When We Collided by Emory Lord

when we collidedWhat an apt title! When We Collided is the story of Vivi, a girl with bipolar disorder, and Jonah, a boy whose family is falling apart, when they meet one summer in Verona Cove.

Vivi is a unique character, for sure– all bright-red lips and Marilyn Monroe hair. Almost immediately I decided she was a mix of Stargirl (Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli) and Finch (All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven). Cue my terror.

(If you’ve read those books and made that connection, you’d prepare yourself for an impending meltdown.)

Jonah was lovely. His family too, all six Daniels kids. He was strong and cute and, in my opinion, probably could have dealt without having a tornado named Vivi storm into his summer.

See, that was the hard thing. Vivi was a little tough for me to like. Yes, she was a marvelous character. Yes, she was fascinating. But she was also a tornado. Early in the book we learn she is not taking her medicine. I knew this would get scary.

The writing is phenomenal. The characters are inimitable. But any book about mental illness is going to be difficult to read– maybe especially for someone like me, who has her own brain disorder and for whom books like this raise so many personal issues and questions.

I have only read one other book by Emory Lord– her debut, Open Road Summer, which wasn’t my favorite (but probably because I am not a huge fan of road trip novels). I could see her growth as a writer in this novel. If you read it, please let me know what you think! It’s not an easy book– but then again, I’m not big into easy books.