Vivi is new to Verona Cove and she loves it. She really needed a break from Seattle and everything that happened last year. When she meets Jonah, she knows she has come to the right place. Jonah's is gorgeous and he's taking care of his family because his dad passed away and his mom is not in a good place. He needs her. She's finally found a place where she can be herself and not be the one with "problems," except she has a secret. She's been throwing her pills over the most beautiful cliff in town every morning. Her mom would freak out about that, but Jonah doesn't know anything about her pills or why she has them. He just thinks she's perfect and they are going to have an amazing summer together. What could possibly go wrong?
Why It's Worth Reading:
When We Collided won the 2017 Schneider Family Book Award. It is given annually to honor an author or illustrator of a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. Both Vivi and Jonah's mother struggle with mental health disorders throughout the novel, and Emery Lord does an absolutely incredible job of demonstrating full, nuanced portrayals of how those disorders can display themselves in different people. She also paints an imperfect, frustrated and confused picture of grief in Jonah and his siblings, which adds to the overall meaning of the novel. And the writing is so lovely. I marked passage after passage the just sung with beauty. Here's a favorite:
"'I've always loved The Wizard of Oz, you know? Every girl wants to be Dorothy Gale or maybe Glinda. I never wanted to be the tornado.'
I open my mouth to say that it's okay, that I'm just so glad to see her. That if she's the tornado, it's not because she's cut terror through a tiny town. It's because she's swept us all up into a place where there's color everywhere."
This book could easily be played off as another YA romance. I'm so glad that it won the Schneider Award so that it will get the attention and honor that it rightfully deserves as a beautiful, honest, captivating, funny, and bittersweet story, that happens to have some romance.
Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Awards/Accolades: 2017 Schneider Family Book Award
Do We Own a Copy?: Definitely!