Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.
Vivi and Jonah couldn't be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi's zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there's something important Vivi hasn't told him.
Vivi is new in town and just blows into Jonah's life, taking over creative outlets, helping with the kids, bringing Jonah out of his shell. We immediately see Vivi throwing pills into the sea so there's a hint of something wrong but nothing is revealed. As for Jonah, again there's something immediately off with his family life but it takes a while for him to open up.
Jonah has lost his father, his mother won't/can't get out of bed, and that leaves six kids fending for themselves as best they can. As much as it hurt to see this, I could understand the complexity. I mean, it's not like the mother wants to abandon her children but depression is funny like that. And by "funny" I mean annoying and strange as hell!
I liked how no one's life was perfect. Sure, bipolar and grief and depression are a lot and a little extreme but the point is that everyone has their secrets, their dark sides and that's nothing new. Speaking of, there were brilliant portrayals of bipolar behaviour. Vivi was her own hurricane of emotions, manic and creative but nuts with her priorities and time keeping and... balance I guess, which is the point. Throughout the book, Vivi explicitly says that she doesn't like the label of bipolar disorder and definitely doesn't like the pills that dulls her senses. We see her spiral out of control and it broke my heart to see her so unfocused and literally manic, especially by the end. I liked how it wasn't specifically saying that drugs are the answer but they can help even out your brain chemicals.
All in all, a proper knockout of a book and definitely worth all the hype surrounding it. The mental health stuff was very important and balanced nicely with their characters and the romance. Which I did adore; as different as they seemed, Vivi and Jonah was utterly adorable together and evened each other out.
Published 7th April 2016 by Bloomsbury.