Narrator: Elizabeth Evans, Raviv Ullman
Published by Audible Studios on April 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Social Themes, Depression & Mental Illness, Friendship, Family, General, Social Issues
Length: 8 hrs. 20 mins.
In When We Collided, Jonah and Vivi fall for each other one summer. Their romance provides a distraction for Jonah, who is reeling after his father’s death, and for Vivi, who is grappling with bipolar disorder.
Vivi is outgoing and vivacious and favors a bold, vintage style. She’s an instant sensation in charming Verona Cove, California. Vivi sets her sights on Jonah when he comes into her job at the pottery shop with his little sister. Their big family (think the Garrett’s in My Life Next Door) welcomes her in and she’s like a breath of fresh air with all her fun, creative plans and ideas. Vivi and Jonah can’t get enough of each other, but in the meantime, Vivi is pushing the limits of her mood disorder by not taking her meds.
Jonah has taken on a lot of responsibility at a young age. Since his father’s sudden death his mother has been so wracked with grief she can barely get out of bed. Jonah and his two older siblings take care of the three youngest, plus Jonah works full time at the family restaurant. If anyone could use a little summer romance it’s Jonah.
The summer fling is intense for Vivi and Jonah, even though like most summer romances their love feels fleeting. I like that the focus is on personal growth for the characters rather than an all or nothing love. I rooted for the characters together and individually if that makes sense.
Emery Lord presents a realistic portrayal of depression and bipolar disorder. Vivi has her good and bad days, and struggles to get the medication right. Life’s beautiful, chaotic and messy just like the cover of the book and that is expressed well in the text. I’m glad to see more YA books featuring mental health issues since that is just everyday life for so many of us. In the book, the author shares a personal note about her own experiences with mental health, as well as resources for further reading.
I actually preordered the hardcover of When We Collided but saw the audiobook on Audible and couldn’t resist. Elizabeth Evans and Raviv Ullman read the audiobook. I’m always impressed with Evans’ narration in the Throne of Glass series, and she does a great job segueing into YA contemporary. It took me a minute to get used to this familiar voice in a new role but soon she was just “Vivi” to me. Evans expresses Vivi’s varied emotions effectively and paints a vivid portrait of her bipolar disorder. Reading Jonah’s chapters is Raviv Ullman and he conveys Jonah’s grief and steady presence very well. It’s a treat when dual pov books have such well-matched narrators. I may still read the book in print though if only to more fully appreciate the author’s lovely words. It’s just not easy to mark passages when you’re listening to an audiobook, but maybe I should have tried out Audible’s new audio clip feature.
Listen to an audiobook sample: