When We Collided
By Emery Lord
New York: Bloomsbury, 2016.
Young Adult Grade 8/9 and Up 344 Pages
Vivi and her mom have traveled to Verona Cove for the summer to get away from the city and from recent events. Verona Cove is home to Jonah, his four siblings and his mom. Both Jonah and Vivi are in crisis mode and both have a void in their life that seems to be insurmountable. For Jonah it is the sudden death of his father leaving his mom in a deep depression and him in charge of his two youngest siblings, work at his dad’s restaurant and no social life. Vivi is coming off a mental breakdown, trying to find herself and keeping life in balance. Then Vivi and Jonah collide, sparks fly and a summer relationship ensues. Vivi lightens Jonah’s load at home as his younger two siblings fall in love with Vivi and her creative ways to entertain them. Vivi begins to feel alive, energized and in control but her control includes not taking her mood stabilizing pills. Vivi draws Jonah out of his shell and falls in love and finds her sense of belonging but that is short lived as Vivi begins to spiral out of control.
I really enjoyed this story because of my psychiatric nursing background and the ability of Emery Lord’s great writing of the maniac phase of bipolar disorder—I could literally feel the rising mania in Vivi! Vivi experienced what many other patients with Bi-Polar Disorder –the desire not to feel down at all. Often when people take a mood stabilizer as they come down off their high they do not like feeling the “lower stable” or down feeling that they experience and therefore, they stop taking their pills just like Vivi did.
Alert: It is a YA title—it references sex several times in the story—no details/description. Language issues especially when Vivi becomes out of control.