This is where I am, somewhere between the night’s total darkness and the light’s utter brilliance.

Vivi thinks Verona Cove is perfect. She’s spending the summer in this Californian town with her mother and she’s just found the perfect project; Jonah. She sees the sadness in him and wants to make him happy. Jonah is keeping his family together, with one parent gone and the other not really there, he’s sure this vibrant girl will take one look at them and run in the other direction.

One thing I realised when reading When We Collided is how rare it is to have a confident main character. Vivi’s confidence isn’t absolute, as we soon learn, but it made me think how we probably warm a lot quicker to characters with obvious flaws. I might have been annoyed at Vivi but the tells are there that her exuberance may be a symptom; from the start, she is throwing her pills off a cliff.

It looks at depression from different angle. Jonah’s mum displays what most people would think of when talking about clinical depression, she barely leaves her room and isn’t there mentally for her family. Jonah is grieving too, but he is holding things together, taking on the responsibility of a parent. People, on the whole, are more forgiving of depression triggered by grief but there is still the desire to hide it from other people.

I don’t appreciate how often people hide their scars and doubts. Really, it’s not fair to people who are struggling, to go on believing that everyone else has it totally together.

Vivi doesn’t have an “excuse” and I think that is a good point to make. Jonah’s family can understandably be broken; people expect something to have caused depression, helps them to understand it. But Vivi doesn’t have a reason, she is just ill. As you might guess from her personality, she suffers from bipolar disorder, previously referred to as manic depression. Her moods go from extremes from the numbness of depression to her high energy manic periods.

This book gets really good when things start going wrong. Vivi sweeping in and mending Jonah’s broken heart seems too good to be true, and it is. Jonah is under a lot of strain and Vivi is on a collision course with the slightest upset ready to send her hurtling into an episode. There is some powerful writing as emotions are stretched and the truths come out.

My dark days made me strong.

Jonah’s side of the story also portrays the amount young carers take on and the strain they are under. There are teens out there looking after their siblings or parents, for whatever reason, and it’s a hell of a lot of responsibility at a time in their lives when they should be having fun.

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Book Source: Illumicrate