{Leah Reviews} The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Posted July 18, 2017 by Leah in Reviews / 2 Comments

{Leah Reviews} The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

The Names They Gave Us

by Emery Lord
Pages: 390
Published on May 16th 2017
by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Family, Friendship, Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Also by this author: Open Road Summer, The Start of Me and You, Open Road Summer, When We Collided

When it all falls apart, who can you believe in?

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 counselor, 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.

4.5 Stars

The Names They Gave Us is my first Emery Lord book and it will not be my last. It’s an emotional roller coaster that held my attention from the first page. This deals with heavy subject matter beautifully and, also, with subtle humor and endearing character arcs. Those of you who love character-centered stories will want to read this book.

Lucy Hansson is a pastor’s daughter. She and her family are close, but when her mom’s cancer comes back, it sends her world in a downward spiral. Her usually loyal, supportive boyfriend “pauses” their relationship for the summer. She questions her faith. When her mom encourages her to work as a counselor at a camp across the lake from Lucy’s church camp, Lucy is reluctant at first, but eventually does go.

Lately, I’ve been surprised by the directions novels have taken their stories (usually for the better). The Names They Gave Us is definitely one of those book that took me by surprise in the best way. Lucy does have to face her mother’s cancer, which is tough to read about. However, the cancer diagnosis is not what this story is about. At first I was surprised–why is this not the main focus of the book? Once Lucy goes to Camp Daybreak, the book shifts to Lucy’s heart opening to new people and experiences. Lucy’s judgmental about the camp’s motives, calling it a “hippie” camp, but once she gets to know the people, it changes her.

She creates connections with the campers. At Camp Daybreak, campers are children who have dealt with trauma, hard home lives, and personal issues, and the main goal is to give the children a supportive, meaningful time with their peers and counselors. Once she starts talking to the children, getting to know them and their likes and back stories, it makes her grow.

She develops a crush on a fellow counselor. Henry’s been to Daybreak as both a camper and a counselor; you can tell how much the camp means to him and the other counselors. The romance between Lucy and Henry happens slowly. I like that Emery Lord took the time to let this romance happen at its own pace. It’s wonderfully supportive and adorable.

Mostly, Lucy makes true friends for the first time. In the past, she had always been fine with acquaintances at school and hanging out with her parents. When her mom got sick the first time, she spent her weekends with her mom. Seeing Lucy and the counselors become friends is the best thing about the novel. These friendships are full of humor and joy. They share their hopes, highs, and lows with each other. When Lucy observes that happiness is being with them, it made me so happy.

The Names They Gave Us is a beautiful contemporary and a definite favorite of mine for the year.


About Emery Lord

Emery Lord is a 20-something Midwestern girl who writes stories about high school and best friends and weird families and the crushes that make you feel combustibly alive and also more awkward than you thought was possible. If you’re not sure how to pronounce Emery, try slurring the name “Emily,” and that will get you really close.

She lives in Cincinnati in a 100 year-old pink row house with her BFF/husband, a closet full of dresses, and lots of books. If karaoke-ing in grocery store aisles or guzzling coffee while impulse shopping were illegal, Emery would be writing her overemotional YA books from jail. Also, she makes up words sometimes. Like combustibly.

OPEN ROAD SUMMER, her first YA novel, is out now with Bloomsbury. Her second, The Start of Me & You, will be released March 31, 2015.



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2 responses to “{Leah Reviews} The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

    • Leah

      Isn’t this cover gorgeous? I could stare at it all day! I’d been wanting to read her books too and this was a great one to start with. 🙂

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