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.
I received an eARC edition of this book courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
When We Collided was one of those books which made me feel a lot of things – all sorts reactions ensued, from laughter to outright ugly sobbing (usually the latter to be honest – but not necessarily because I was upset, more often than not this book made cry because of the tender moments, and the happy ones or in bouts of anger with the protagonist).
The anger was mainly caused by Vivi acting so ferociously selfish that I was gobsmacked, I mean – it was explained by her mental illness but I still regarded it as highly stupid behaviour which made me see red more than a few times .
Speaking of mental illness, this was probably one of the most accurate depictions of it I have had the chance to read, it wasn’t overdone, it wasn’t glamourised – it was true to the real feelings which people who have bipolar disorder, as well as depression, and grief experience… all three of which are highly stigmatised by today’s society so I want to take a moment to thank Lord for writing the novel, for I think that it will (if it hasn’t already) play a part in the fight against the stigma surrounding these incredibly real problems faced by many across the world.
The characters were truly incredible, and their stories were a pleasure to read about. Whilst the book contained insta-love (something I have grown to despise) it was done in a way which I found bearable, so it is not something I will rant about at present. I think it added to the erratic character of Vivi, and highlighted the contrast between her and Jonah, but also accentuated how well they ‘fit’ together, though I do wish that it was done slightly slower.
To be perfectly honest all relationships in this book, whilst not entirely healthy at times, were wonderful. Jonah’s big, Italian family were amazing (I have a thing about family relations from different cultures to my own – they’re just so interesting to read about) and definitely added a lot of positivity to the novel and helped to develop Jonah’s character to make him much stronger than the seemingly-okay-but-broken boy we see at the beginning of the novel.
The writing style was sublime. Honestly, Vivi’s chapters at times flowed like beautiful poetry, and at others they were wonderfully erratic, showcasing her inner turmoil and mood changes. Allowing the reader to connect with them, and telling them what was happening despite the protagonist insisting that she was fine – it was through this that it was clear she wasn’t.
The ending is something that has been widely discussed amongst reviewers, and whilst it caused a bout of ugly crying for the last 30 pages or so, I felt as though it provided closure of the bittersweet, realistic kind to the book – and whilst it made me crave more, I cannot say that I am entirely angry or upset with the way it ended for I think that it fit in with the rest of the story incredibly well.
This novel broke my heart a little inside, and therefore I think it deserves a high rating, and ALL OF THE READERS for it did what very little books in the genre do, presented life as it is, without romanticising, or sugar-coating things that aren’t supposed to be sugar-coated, and I think that that is important.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
“Even the constellations can see us now: we are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know.”