Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord
Publication date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: e-ARC from Netgalley; physical ARC blogger exchange
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?
When summer hits, my “READ ALL THE CONTEMPORARY BOOKS” alarm goes off. From there I’m in the world of swoons, tears, laughter, and sometimes heartache. And when I want to read the most realistic and heart-fulfilling contemporary book, I always turn to the QUEEN OF CONTEMPORARY WRITERS, Emery Lord. Emery Lord is one of my favorite contemporary authors, at least in my top three, so suck it (Pam Beasley quote there, sorry, I had to do it). And once again Emery’s words have made my eyes water, my heart ache, and my soul feel like it needs a giant hug. So friends and fellow book lovers, I’m going to tell you this now, Emery Lord’s The Names They Gave Us is going to put you on an emotional, reading roller coaster but luckily there is the comfort of campfires and s’mores to warm up the pages.
One of my favorite parts about reading Emery’s books are how relatable her characters are. Once again she has created a main character, Lucy, who is realistically flawed and easy to connect with. Throughout The Names They Gave Us, Lucy questions her motives and choices when it comes to awkward, stressful, and guarded social situations. As the daughter of a preacher, she questions God but at the same feels shameful with her intentions. Although it’s heartbreaking to a see Lucy struggle throughout the pages, it is also reassuring to see a character encounter and confront the unfair realities of life.
I don’t want to give too much away from this book’s plot, because I honestly think, everyone will come into this book with differing world views and then leave this book with a different emotional contemplation. The Names They Gave Us is not a “cancer” book, but the novel does bring in the emotional charge that comes with cancer: a brutal black hole that inevitably swallows up happiness and light. The solidity of cancer tests the main character’s willpower, her faith, her family, her friends, and her future. In The Names They Gave Us, cancer is the driving force that sets the main character on a new path: a path that brings her to a summer camp which helps her meet a diverse group of people, adapt to new beginnings, and a new perspective on life.
At camp, Lucy is able to “people watch,” ponder and observe past lives and choices, and contemplate her own future. Overall, this novel is an emotional package about self-discovery, forming meaningful friendships, and finding ways to emotionally cope and face difficult situations. In The Names They Gave Us, Emery writes with such raw passion and puts so much courage and sincerity in her characters; in the end, she has created a story about honesty, compassion, forgiveness, and fully living.
In The Names They Gave Us, there’s a part where the young camp counselors gather around a campfire and discuss their highs and lows of the week. So I thought I would break the rest of my review down into the high and lows of the book. The highs are my most beloved topics that the Emery Lord touches on and lows are self-explanatory.
Lucy and Henry Morris Jones IV
Stories within stories.
“Posy and the Dreaming Tree”
CANCER REALLY SUCKS!
CANCER REALLY, REALLY SUCKS!!!
NOTE: Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.