When We Collided by Emery Lord


I hate doing this. Seriously. I absolutely despise doing this. But in this case it's necessary. This book, about an immensely important topic, is getting one star.

I don't like giving one stars. They are ugly things. I only give one stars to books I absolutely don't like, but I feel guilty about it no matter the scenario. I know that an author and editor worked hard to make this book, and distribution to get it into my hands. I liked the message the author tried to get across, but I didn't enjoy anything else. I mean, it mentions food a lot? That's pretty cool. But you can't rate a book higher because the food in it sounds delicious.

YA novels about mental illness are insurmountably important. But they need to be well researched, well depicted, and well written in every other aspect. That's what this novel lacked. The mental illness only had one dimension and everything else was so...underdeveloped and lacked finesse.

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.

Let's start with Vivi. In a word: annoying. She's bubbly--when she isn't manic. Too bubbly. It feels disingenuous, condescending. Maybe I'm just grumpy, but I rolled my eyes whenever she talked. But when she wasn't being bubbly, just being herself, she was a shrew. Selfish. Controlling. And you can't blame that entirely on being bipolar. Because even after everything happens, and she's seeking help again, she is still unbelievably self-centered. Her personality, aside from her illness, was bad. I just couldn't stand her and the way she treated Jonah.

Oh, Jonah. You seem pretty cool. You care for your family and you want to be a chef. But you are immensely boring and you have no spine. You're scared, I get it. But people stomp all over you and you continue to be one dimensional. Cool. I understand that you fell for Vivi quickly, but just because you love someone doesn't mean you should stick around if they treat you terribly and never think about you. Anyway. I'm glad we could have this little chat. Please get a better personality.

Obviously, I didn't like the main characters. So their relationship was a catastrophe. First, it was instalove. They talked about how they were so important to each other and they were falling in love and blah blah blah within the first 75 pages. Seriously? Second, see Vivi's selfishness above. She did whatever she wanted, no matter how Jonah felt about it, how uncomfortable he was. I know that the self-absorption symptom of bipolar can come off a selfishness, but no. Vivi was a tyrant, and it didn't always have to do with being bipolar.

I liked Jonah's relationship with his family, but it often felt like that plot was being shoved down my throat and other times it felt completely forgotten.

The writing was elegantly understated. I don't have anything to complain about--so that's a positive. But again, it's one of the few.

I don't know much about bipolar disorder. I will be the first to admit that. But the illness felt very under researched. And again, I feel guilty for saying that, because maybe the author did a lot of work. I don't know. But it came off clichéd. The illness was portrayed in a very black and white way, and that is doing a disservice to people who live with this illness.

This was my second Emery Lord novel, and after a one star here and a barely three star for Open Road Summer, I think it's official that we don't mesh. Unfortunately, I own The Start of Me and You, so I anticipate another low rating when I eventually get around to it.

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