Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on April 5th 2016
We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…
Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.
Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.
Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.
In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.
Before I go on with this post, I’m going to toss a trigger warning on this. For someone struggling with their own mental health, it might be a bit too much. If the subject of being bipolar can bother/trigger you, I would avoid this until you’re ready.
There are times when reading that you pick up a book about a subject, and end up hating it. Not because the book itself is bad, but because the facts are completely wrong. This book had me crying because it felt so right. It’s not a typical book where someone mentions a character having bipolar, and then it focuses on all of the bad that comes along with struggling with your mental health. Don’t get me wrong, we get to see Vivi’s hard times in the book, but we get the spotlight on the incredible personality and colorful nature that is Vivi. She is the amazing and bright person we get to know and not her diagnosis. THAT is what is truly important in this book.
Vivi sprang from the pages and burst into my mind like paint across a canvas. Her personality shined brightly and it was perfect. Vivi has to be one of the best female leads I’ve seen for personality. She has such a great outlook on life, even though sometimes it may seem like she is struggling. She walked into the Daniels household and brought all of her personality and colors with her, bringing into their house something they hadn’t seen in a while. Happiness and excitement. She was selfless when it came to Jonah and his siblings. She took time the first morning she met Leah to make her feel special and introduce herself. When Jonah asked him to rush to the store to help his mother during a panic attack, she dropped everything and left. No questions asked.
There is a moment at the end of the book where Vivi is discussing mood stabilizers and more with Dr. Brooks. I recently had to have this exact conversation with my therapist when I started on my own stablizer for my BPD. It’s a tough medication to accept needing to take, and it takes some time to find the perfect one for you. It takes a lot of time to accept the diagnosis placed in front of you, and sometimes you just have a bad patch. This bad patch you see in the book is the closest I have seen when someone describes bipolar. It was spot on, and it hit really close to home. BPD and Bipolar are similar in a lot of ways but different in so many more. There were moments in the book when you could see her mood and emotions moving in a different direction that may seem overly dramatic to some, but to someone like myself, it was all too familiar.
Jonah has my heart in so many ways. SO many. First off, his strong heart for his family. He makes each day about his siblings and making sure their needs are all met since their mother is struggling with her mental health. He wanted to make sure that life still moved forward, even though his mother felt like it had come to a complete stop. We learn about his mother’s struggle with depression and moving forward from the loss of her husband. Jonah is frustrated with this, but he comes to understand more as the book moves forward. The second reason Jonah has my heart is because he wanted to stand beside her, even after seeing the fall. The bump in the road. He wanted to stand beside her and move forward in life but she needed to go and take care of herself and he accepted it. It was tough.
You know he was feeling the heartache but it was the right way for the book to end. I was 100% happy with how this book ended. Normally, I would find myself rooting for the couple to stay together but this ended so perfectly. All the loose ends tied up together. I would love to know what happens beyond the story. I want to know if Vivi becomes okay with her diagnosis and I want to hug her and tell her everything is going to be okay.
This book is one of the best I have read when it comes to bipolar. It shows you what can really happen when dealing with this disorder. This is not something you can just write about and toss into a book. It takes learning and knowing. It means taking the time to write something accurate. Bipolar is so stigmatized in the world and we need books like this that people can pick up and read. It shows some of the good times and the hard times. It feels so very real because this is real. Bipolar is something many people battle with on a daily basis and I just wish people would educate themselves more.
To Emery – Thank you so much for writing something so perfect. This book has to be one of my favorites this year. It had me crying. It had me emotional. Most of all, it made me think. I love books based on Mental health so much and I’m so excited to recommend this beauty to anyone looking for YA books based on mental health.