When We Collided explores young love, grief and mental illness through the lives of Vivi and Jonah, who meet the summer after the death of Jonah’s father and Vivi’s move to California. Vivi’s free-spirited, adventurous nature brings much needed light and colour to the lives of Jonah and his five younger siblings however her grip on reality begins to slip when she stops taking her Bipolar medication which has dangerous consequences.
‘But I’m better now. I’m best, even! Besides I still take my other pill because that one keeps the shadow creatures at bay. Last year, they curled their inky arms around me until my Technicolour world became crackling gray static. Until I felt nothing but blankness.’
The Start of Me and You follows Paige as she embarks on her junior year of high school after her boyfriend Aaron tragically drown, leaving her heartbroken and suffering from nightmares.
‘Romeo and Juliet manage a double suicide, Beth dies and Laurie marries Amy, Rhett leaves Scarlett… The point is that we already know it doesn’t work out, but we reread them anyway, because the good stuff that comes before the ending is worth it.’
In order to move on with her life, Paige creates a list of things to do which scare, excite or please her such as swimming, joining a club at school and applying for a summer programme in New York. Along the way she gets closer to her long-term crush Ryan Chase and his nerdy cousin Max.
The Names they Gave Us is about Lucy who appears to have the ‘perfect life’ as she has loving, supportive parents and Lukas a long-term boyfriend who shares her christian beliefs. However when she discovers that her mother’s breast cancer has recurred on prom night everything changes.
‘Cancer is like seeing all the magic of Christmas stuffed into clearance bins. The beautiful pine tree stripped to rust-coloured needles in a garbage bag. White candles melted to stubs, blackened with scorch marks.’
While being a counselor at a summer camp for troubled children Lucy learns about lives very different from her own, helping her cope with her anger regarding her mum’s cancer and the subsequent questioning of her faith.
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