Annike: Hey guys, so I’m here today with a book review on The Names they Gave Us by Emery Lord. I LOVE Emory Lord – particularly The Start of Me and You that she wrote but I also really enjoyed When We Collided too. So, I had been really keen to read The Names They Gave Us ever since it came out. I am SO SO happy to report that this book lived up to my hopes and I adored it so much!
Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.
Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counsellor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.
It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.
I really really loved this book. I’m not usually the kind of person to give contemporary books 5 stars, but I don’t think I can’t give this book a 5 stars because it was just so beautiful! Okay, so getting onto a bit of information about this book – the storyline centres around Lucy who is notorious for being the successful good girl, in touch with her faith, has a handful of friends and excels both inside and outside school. I feel like the good-girl character can often be overdone but I thought it was really cool having Lucy also be religious because I find this quite uncommon in YA nowadays. Most of the book focuses on Lucy’s life after her Mum’s cancer reappears and she goes to a summer camp for ‘troubled’ kids or kids looking for help. From here, we watch Lucy get to know some of the other kids and the camp counsellors who help her discover who she is and who she wants to be, and yeah that is the main gist of the story.
I really loved Lucy’s newfound friends at the camp she went to, they were one of my favourite aspects of the story. Jones was unbelievably sweet, Anna was so accepting and beautiful towards Lucy, Mohan was so carefree and funny and Keely, while she was more standoffish was so wise and selfless in her own ways. I thought it was really interesting and original to have all of these characters with burdens in their past or present that really affected them or weighed on them in some way. And the same with all the kids at the camp. It brought a deep kind of feel on the book but in a really positive way.
Emery Lord’s writing was simple but beautiful. She has an amazing style of writing which I adore and there is just something about it that really draws you in. The story is full of so many different emotions and Lucy was a great character who you really felt like you were experiencing her journey with her rather than just reading about it. I loved getting to read about how Lucy was dealing with her faith after she had been going through such hardships. She tried to punish God and punish herself and it was interesting to read about this aspect of her life that was so obviously central.
So yeah, overall this book is great and really diverse in the range of characters and all their situations. I loved reading about how Lucy grew throughout the book and became so much more open minded, breaking out of the bubble she seemed to be in before. Lucy’s parents were amazing and while the book is obviously heart-breaking, dealing with the topic of cancer – it was all really well dealt with and discussed. I would most definitely recommend this book to all young adult readers, even better if you love contemporary. Emery Lord is an amazing author so definitely go and check out some of her other book too because they are great!
Let me know if you have read this book or want to down below! Enjoy your week and thanks for reading 🙂