Thursday, April 7, 2016

when we collided: stardust reviews

When We Collided
Emery Lord



We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

full review under the cut!

How do I even begin with this one, guys? I just finished it, moments ago, and I'm just a tear-filled, sniffling, rocking-back-and-forth, wreck about it. This book! This. Book. It's wild and catastrophic and lovely and free and so freaking sad but worth every tear, you know? I mean, I've been looking forward to this book since the day it was announced, but nothing could've prepared me for the sheer emotion that I feel about it. Holy crap, I'm not even making sense. Let's back it up and try to tell a real story here. 

If you know me at all, you'll know that I love Emery Lord a whole freaking bunch. I did a whole post about her other two novels and her twitter account and just basically how awesome I think she is, which you can find here. She is one of the best contemporary writers out there right now, in my opinion, and she is *not* afraid to deal with the issues head on. Anything from the death of someone you love to mental illness to coping with said mental illness to drugs to sexual abuse to self-destructive tendencies, etc. But the thing is, she puts these things, these horribly difficult things, and she puts them in characters that you end up loving more than people you know in real life. Like, I'm not sure I wouldn't just pack my bags and join the girl gang from her second novel, The Start of Me and You. Emery Lord's books are special. And this one is no different. 

I was a little worried, I'm not going to lie, about this one. Honestly, when I am this excited for a book to come out, I feel like it can't help but let me down. Especially since Emery Lord has written two of my favorite books ever, I just felt like it was only a matter of time before she put something out that I didn't love as much. HOWEVER!! I am pleased to say that not only did this book rise to my ridiculously high expectations, it soared above them. The first half of this book is all sunrise. Bright pinks and oranges and soft purples and blues. The sweetest, most amazing characters you've ever met in your life, all going through hard things. Vivi, our main gal, with her zest for life and her desire to make every day a celebrate. Jonah, our main pal, serious, stoic, taking care of everyone around him, with a soft spot for his little siblings, the culinary arts, and Vivi. And then there's Jonah's five siblings, who just steal your heart from the very first time they pop up on the page. I fell hard, head over heels in love with this family, with Vivi and her mom, with the whole town of Verona Cove. 

Honesty, I adored the first half of this novel. It is basically the story of Jonah and Vivi meeting and falling for each other, and subsequently, Vivi falling for Jonah's whole family as well. Jonah's going through the loss of his father and his mother's depression, and Vivi comes in like a supernova and lights up all of the dark places in the life of this family. It was so sweet to read about Vivi bonding with Leah, Isaac and Bekah, and even Silas and Naomi.  I liked that this book is from both Vivi and Jonah's perspectives, I thought that added a lot to it. I also really appreciated the depiction of this family: their relationship dynamics, their teamwork, the way they loved each other. It just warmed my heart. And the growing relationship between Vivi and Jonah was adorable too, of course. Jonah is the sweetest, like wow, where do I sign up for one? 

And everything is going great, until suddenly, it isn't. Which, honest to God, isn't that just how it happens in life? The last half until the end just made me so irreparably sad, but not in a bad way, you know? Seeing Vivi unravel due to her bipolar disorder, seeing Jonah try to deal with it the best he can, while also trying to keep his own life together? Heartbreaking. But also, helpful. With mental illness, it doesn't matter how much a person loves you, stands by you, etc. Sometimes, nothing helps. I thought it was important that Jonah didn't have any power to "fix" Vivi, and Vivi wasn't weak because she couldn't be "helped" by people. Sometimes, you need medication and you need therapy and you need to heal on your own, and that's okay and it's good: healing is a process, but at least it moves you forward. I just got so sad about the ending, which I won't spoil here, but it is so melancholy, bittersweet. Happy and sad, all mixed into one, which, hello, is how everything ends up being anyways. Mixed up and crazy. 

I loved so many little things about this book. SO MANY. The way that Vivi talked and thought, before the whole summer shifted. It was different and I loved reading from her POV. Jonah, and the way he's portrayed as being sweet and quiet, careful with his siblings and amazing in the kitchen. He gets sad, he needs his mom sometimes, and he's not portrayed as being weak in any way, which I think is SO IMPORTANT for boys to realize. Vivi is a strong independent woman, but sometimes even they need help, and I think that is something that she comes to realize by the end of the novel. I also liked the idea that, even though Vivi did some terrible things to her friends, there was still a chance for forgiveness because, honestly, there isn't a whole lot that I wouldn't forgive my best friends for. I loved all of Vivi's talk about vintage clothes, I loved that her mom was an artist, I loved all of the spontaneous things that Vivi cooked up for Jonah's siblings. I loved Vivi and Leah's relationship the most, especially when Vivi made her a peacock contest. I loved Vivi's birthday party, and of course she is a summer baby. It makes so much sense. I loved that, when all else failed, Jonah just baked for her, because sometimes that's all you can do. I loved how Vivi's mom wasn't angry with her for things that were beyond either one of their control, how she was so supportive and dedicated to getting Viv the help she needed. There is just too much good in this novel to put it all down here, honestly. 

This book is so important, for how it deals with a lot of things. Grief, for one. Mental Illnesses, further than just depression. Medication, and how it is so, SO! important for some people. It isn't portrayed as a weakness here, just something that is necessary. I loved the line where Vivi's mom says something like "it's just going to be a few hard weeks in such a full life." And I love that. Even though mental illness can feel all-consuming, it helps sometimes to just take a step back and say these might be some bad weeks, but it is not a bad life. Of course, if mental illness is a trigger for you, I might stay away from this book until you are in a place where you feel like you can handle it, because it does deal pretty directly with the tough realities of some of these diseases. 

Thank you, thank you, Emery Lord, for creating something beautiful, heartbreaking, mixed-up, smashed glass, happy-sad-happy. I can't even describe the things I feel for this book. 



  1. Beautiful review! I actually have yet to read an Emery Lord book, but i've been dying to get my hands on When We Collided! I've been in the mood for some really good contemporary books lately. Hopefully I'll love it as much as you did!
    Olivia @ Fluttering Pages

    1. Thanks Olivia! You really really should read her, she is super awesome and her books are so relatable and real. I hope you love it!

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I finished this book not too long ago and just like you, I loved it! I agree with you the first half was definitely all sunshines and the second half was pouring rain. This book was different to her other novels and I can safely say that they are just as good. :)

    1. Yes I totally agree... different but amazing in a different way! i'm so glad you liked it as well!! :)


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