the names they gave us by emery lord
Rating: 5/5 stars
Published: May 16, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 440 (hardcover)
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Summary from Goodreads: 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?
I’ve fallen in love with Emery Lord’s writing after reading both this book, and When We Collided. And as much as I loved When We Collided, wow, this book was about a million times better. The friendships and family relationships were amazing. This book was just so full of love and emotion. I felt the same when when I read When We Collided, Lord does such a great job of weaving these incredibly important family relationships and friendships into such a powerful story.
Lucy Hansson has grown up the daughter of a pastor and a nurse. She’s always been trying to be the perfect daughter, to make her parents proud of her. When her mother’s breast cancer returns though, Lucy’s world goes spiraling. Suddenly, she’s finding herself struggling with her faith as her family is going through a hard time. On top of that, her boyfriend of two years decided to “pause” their relationship and Lucy’s mom wants her to spend the summer at Daybreak, a grief camp right across from their family’s church camp.
I really liked Lucy. You could tell she was trying so hard to be perfect for her parents and to make them proud, but not in an annoying way. I loved her personality too, as she was so kind and full of compassion and understanding. With her mother’s diagnosis, she’s struggling with her faith, as she doesn’t understand why God would let this happen to her family. But she’s also struggling to find herself and to figure out who she really is, especially now that she and her long term boyfriend are over and she’s meeting new people at Daybreak.
All the side characters were amazing as well. I loved the friendship between all the Junior counselors at Daybreak, and how Lucy finds herself apart of their group too. All of them are so close, having been going to camp together for years (with the exception of lucy) and they have all been through so much. Everyone at Daybreak has though. And Lucy realizes that as she gets to know the other counsellors and campers, that none of their lives are easy and that as much as she and her family have been struggling, there are people who have gone through much worse.
The romance was so cute too! I didn’t like Lukas at all when he was first introduced, and I was kind of glad they broke it off. Well, he originally puts their relationship on pause, which devastates Lucy, but she is able to figure it out and realize that maybe her and Lukas weren’t right together. But then she meets Henry Jones at Daybreak and I immediately loved them. How they started off as friends but then started dating. The romance was just so sweet and cute, I loved it.
I loved the story so much. This book deals a lot with grief and hardships and what it’s like, and it also deals a lot with religion and how Lucy is struggling with her faith. She didn’t originally want to go to Daybreak and leave her mother, but she goes because of her mother. Because she knows it’s what her mother wants her to do, even though it means leaving her for most of the summer. It’s hard for Lucy to make friends at first too with the other junior counselors, who are so close. She’s great with the kids, though originally isn’t too sure how to act with them. As the summer goes on, she’s able to find herself more, figure out her place in life. Lucy loves all the little girls in her cabin and becomes close with her fellow counselors. I just loved the whole coming of age story to this book. Even though Lucy is having a hard time with her mother’s diagnosis, she’s able to do what her mother wanted for her, to make go to Daybreak and make friends, get her mind off everything else.
Overall, I absolutely LOVED The Names They Gave Us! It was so emotional and powerful, and this book honestly brought me to tears (which rarely happens). I loved every bit of it, the characters, the story, the setting. Even though this book is a bet deeper and heavier than most of your normal summer contemporaries, I still definitely recommend it for when you need a contemporary book or something to help you out of a book slump (because that’s just what this book did for me). I’m so excited to read more of Lord’s books too, now since this one most definitely did not disappoint.