Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... When We Collided

Monday, April 4, 2016

Just Finished Reading ... When We Collided

When We Collided
by Emery Lord

To be published on April 5, 2016
by Bloomsbury

Source: ARC for review from publisher

Summary from ARC: 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 Jonah's life suddenly seems brighter, better and much more colorful. For Vivi, Jonah is the perfect project, her spontaneity balancing out the weight of her reality. Their love becomes 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. When Vivi and Jonah's pasts collide with the present, will their love be strong enough to last?
My take:  I'm a fan of Emery Lord - in three YA books, she's managed to take very familiar YA premises - road trips and music, a character recovering from the death of someone close to her, and, in this book,  mental illness - and make them into something fresh and engaging.

Still, I was pretty wary of this book. The synopsis pretty much screams Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and those characters aren't my favorite. Two years ago, I did a post on this type of character and why I find it annoying. One of the reasons is that an MPDG is usually not a character in her own right, but more of a catalyst who helps the main (male) character learn important life lessons.

But I (finally) read When We Collided, and there were a lot of things I did like about it. First off, I love Emery Lord's writing. There's something about it that just draws me in every time. I loved the book's small town setting, and Jonah's family, who reminded me a lot of the characters in My Life Next Door. No, Vivi wasn't my favorite character, but the book made me empathize a lot with her.

The book deals with both mental illness and loss, and does so in a very moving way. Though the blurb above emphasizes this as a romance, I wouldn't call this a romantic book at all. Even though the romance in this (and the ending) was handled in the best way it could have been. I was happy that the book didn't wave a magic romance wand over everything and suggest that love fixes everything. It doesn't. Overall, this book took me on a completely different emotional journey than the one I went on in Open Road Summer. This book was definitely darker and more serious, and made me feel sad throughout.

Like Huntley Fitzpatrick, Lord balances the dark and light in her contemporary YA books in ways I find interesting. Both authors started with lighter books and seem to be trying out some darker themes. It's possibly just where I am as a reader right now, but I wouldn't mind a few steps back into the light!

How do you feel about books with darker, more serious themes versus lighter ones? Do you prefer one over the other? Do you switch off? Tell me in comments!

15 comments:

  1. I still haven't read a book by Emery Lord but own one but this is one I have on my TBR. I kind of like the darker edge that some books have. Also glad to hear that the romance doesn't fix everything in this one.

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    1. If you like the darker edge, this is definitely the book of hers to try!

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  2. Great review! I have heard so many great things about this book and I am so excited to read it! On the hold list at the library for it!

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    1. Yay - look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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  3. I liked to at least be warned a previously-fluffy author has taken a turn for the dark side (heh), because I like to plan/balance out my heavier reads with lighter fare. I know I'll eventually get around to reading this one, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it, despite the less-than-light subject matter.

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    1. Yeah, its kind of hard to think you're getting a feel-good book (especially if you REALLY need one) and then get something much more complicated. But definitely give this a try!

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  4. You know that I am drawn to any with the mental health issues

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    1. I think you will love this one, Brandi!

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  5. I've been wary of this book since her last one was a disappointment. It sure looks like the cuteness are all gone.

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    1. I hope she does another in the vein of Open Road Summer. For some reason, maybe it's all the stuff going on in the world, I just need a higher proportion of feel good at the moment...

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  6. I love mental illness books when they are done right. dark and light need to be balanced for sure. I am glad you liked this book. I need to read it i think.

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  7. I am seeing this one everywhere this week and every review makes me more interested/excited for it. I enjoy light now and then but usually I prefer my reads with a little edge so this sounds perfect.

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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  8. I love both dark and light contemporart. I don't even know why, but the writing must be fitting.
    I love the cover of this book, though this is the first review I read. I think I might give it a try soon.

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  9. I also like both of them. I only read her first book, but I do want to read this one as well as I really liked her writing style!

    Great review!

    Andie
    www.toallthebooksivelovedbefore.wordpress.com

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  10. Hmm. I'll still read this because I like the author, but I can' only read so many darker books. I need some fun and happy ones to balance it all out. And I do wish there were more YA Contemporary that were just fun and happy. It seems like the genre as a whole has been moving away from that.

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