Seventeen-year-old Jonah lives in a small Californian town and has faced a number of problems in the past few months. His father passed away and his mother is suffering from a bout of depression. He and his two older siblings have to take charge of the three younger kids, and help out at the family restaurant and the whole thing is slowly wearing him down. Enter Vivi, a happy and unique individual who is in town for the summer. Vivi sees the good in everyone and her behaviour can be quite reckless. Seemingly, Vivi is the perfect match for the reserved Jonah. But lurking in the background is a secret, one that Vivi would rather Jonah did not find out ...
When We Collided is not just a teen love story. It's also a realistic account of grieving, mental illness and living life to the fullest despite the many hurdles that life throws in the way. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one and loved the way that the author was able to show a character who was living with a mental illness and learning to cope with things in her way, rather than glossing over it or depicting her future as all doom and gloom. I thought that the subplot about Vivi's father was quite interesting and while Vivi does not always handle things perfectly, it was certainly realistic. I did wonder at what was in the letter than a character sent to her and I think that it would have been nice if the author had touched on that plot a little bit more, even if Vivi's ultimate decision remained the same.
In the background is the account of Jonah's mother and her own battle. I loved the ending--the reader is left with no doubt that this is a just a summer romance for each of the characters, one that has helped each of them grow and develop as people. I also loved the duel narrative, and the voices of each of the characters.