When We Collided by Emery Lord: So Much More Than A Contemporary Romance!

Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository
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.

This is my third Emery Lord novel and I am so happy to say that she did not disappoint. Her debut, Open Road Summer, was such a wonderful contemporary novel, it put the biggest smile on my face. I was sure I had found a contemporary romance author to rival Kasie West, and I was right. Her next book, The Start of You and Me, was just as adorable and I knew then that I had found a new favourite author, someone who found their way on to my auto-buy list. So, when I got the chance to review When We Collided, I jumped at it - or, rather, I USED ALL THE CAPS AND ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! I was certain that Emery Lord would not disappoint me and I was so right, this book blew me away!

When I started this book, I had been expecting a really cutesy romance. And I did get cutesy romance in some ways. But do not be fooled, this book has way more to offer than just that. This book beautifully and so realistically explores mental health, grief and first loves. I was so moved by this book, it spoke to me in so many ways and made me want to find Emery Lord and just hug her and say thank you!
'To the deepest, most cellular level of my being, I resent people who believe that depression is the same as weakness, that "sad" people must be coddled like helpless toddlers.'
Vivi and her artist mother are spending the summer in Verona Cove, and it's here that she meets Jonah. Vivi is like a whirlwind in comparison to Jonah, she's confident, funny and friendly; the kind of person who can start a conversation with anyone. Jonah is struggling, he lost his father six months ago and his mother has retreated into herself, leaving responsibility of the family to Jonah and his older siblings. Vivi feels like the breath of fresh air that Jonah didn't even know he needed, but Vivi has troubles of her own and she is going to need Jonah just as much as he needs her.

These two.... my heart kind of hurts just thinking about it! They were so cute together at times that it physically hurt my face because I was smiling so much. Vivi comes out of nowhere, she's so confident, funny and friendly. That girl is probably what every person with social anxiety, myself included in that, wishes they could be like. She could start a conversation with anyone, and have me in stitches as she did it. But the more we get to know Vivi, the more we realise that she is struggling with problems of her own. It's clear very early on that she has struggled with mental health issues in the past. It's when we begin to see Vivi's problems, as well as Jonah trying to deal with the grief of losing his father, whilst also losing his mum to her own grief, that the novel really moves into something more extraordinary.
'...he felt like he should be able to control it. Like, he wanted to reason his way out of it. Because it's your own mind, right? But of course it doesn't work that way. Sometimes you just need medicine.'

I love reading young adult books that deal with mental health illnesses. More importantly, I love YA books that do it well. That it feels realistic and like others who have suffered could identify with the character or recognise parts of themselves in it. Or just help them to feel like they are not alone. This is what When We Collided manages to do, and it feels like it does it effortlessly.

I think I connected so much to this story for so many reasons. The main one would be the fact that I have struggled with depression, it is something I still take medication for. The above quote is just one example of how Emery Lord managed to feel like she knew exactly how I felt. I remember feeling like I didn't need to take them, I even stopped, only to realise that you can't make yourself better through will power alone. The other reason it really got to me was the fact that my depression was brought on by the death of my aunt. So I sympathised so much with both Vivi and Jonah, I just felt like I could understand them both so much.
'That's the thing they never tell you about love stories. Just because one ends, that doesn't mean it failed.'
I absolutely loved this book, sooooo much! I know I have already said that, but I just need to stress it again. I thought I was looking for a cute contemporary read, but I wasn't. Emery Lord delivered something so much more, this was such a beautiful story.  If you enjoyed Lord's previous books, prepare to be completely blown away by her latest offering. This book was beautiful and touching, and it had me in tears at times because it touched me that much. I also want to applaud Emery Lord on writing one of the most realistic young adult romances that I have ever read. I usually end a book wanting more from it, just one more little chapter, or an epilogue. Not here, I left this book completely satisfied and so very happy. Not to mention the fact that the authors note at the end was utter perfection too. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Emery Lord, this book was everything that I could ever have asked for and more. Thank you for writing such a wonderful, touching, beautiful and realistic book about mental health.

5/5 Butterflies


  1. Alright that's it!! *throws down book I'm currently reading* It's time to pick up an Emery Lord book AHHHHHHH. She's having a launch party in NY at Books of Wonder so I'll definitely be there!!

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

  2. This really was so much deeper than I was expecting it to be as well and I really did love it.

  3. I cannot wait to read this! So glad to hear it's wonderful!

  4. I love when a book makes you smile that much! I look forward to reading this one. I did like this author's Open Road Summer and enjoyed it a great deal. Thanks for the review! I'm glad you loved it and the wait was worth it. Although Kasie West is still my faves. ;)

  5. It seems like even those who are incredibly confident and bubbly also have their own issues in life to deal with and face. I have seen this one around and I have heard of both of her previous books but I have yet to read any of them D: I really like the sound of this one. It sounds cute but touching and so sweet. Actually, it reminds me of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart and seeing as I have already loved that one I think I will love this too.

  6. I'm actually in the middle of reading this right now and I think it's very insightful and powerful how Emery Lord manages to depict mental health issues dynamically yet doesn't make it the SOLE focus of the novel (so far it still feels like a love story at its core). I also feel as though the characters are so vibrant than they usually are in stand alone YA contemporaries. Great review!

    -Cristina @ Girl in the Pages

  7. AHHH I'm so excited for this now. I got an ARC and it's just SITTING there looking beautiful. It'll be my first Emery Lord novel too. And I'm glad it deals with mental illness well - that's what you want :)

  8. Oh, I think this has to be added to my TBR. Great review! :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

  9. This makes me so excited for this book! I love Emery Lord so much, and I have such high expectations for this one. this review makes me think that it will live up to them :)

  10. So glad to hear you loved this one, I can't wait to read it! Your review made me even more excited. ~Pam

  11. I've been reading so many amazing reviews (yours included) for this one, and my curiosity level went form a 10 to 20. ;) Sounds like a wonderful story that allows its imperfections to guide it into an even more powerful novel. Sometimes those are the most memorable novels.


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