Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

I am a sucker for camp stories, so of course I loved The Name They Gave Us. Lucy is a pastor’s kid. She’s always been good. She’s dating the perfect gentleman, and they’ve done nothing more than kiss. But when Lucy’s mom’s cancer comes back, she gets angry. Everyone’s platitudes aren’t cutting it anymore. It’s just not fair. She starts swearing, and her boyfriend can’t handle it. It’s seems a little crazy, right? Unless you grew up in a conservative church, this part of the story might be ridiculous. I completely got it.

Lucy’s mom persuades her to take a last-minute job at a camp for troubled kids instead of helping out at their church camp like she normally does during the summer. That camp is right near the church camp, so she is still able to see her parents on Sundays.

Lucy is taken in by a group of other young counselors almost immediately upon getting to camp. She has normal friends for the first time ever, and she is stunned by their honesty and by all of the things they’ve dealt with. She also connects right away to some of the campers. It’s a very touching story. And of course there’s an adorable romance.

The ending is a bit ambiguous, which I think was kind of nice. It’s up to the reader what happens to Lucy’s mom, but that’s not really the point. The point is the truth Lucy’s learned about herself and her own parents. I really loved this book. Parents make mistakes too, and it’s so important to share those with our children, when the time is right.

Rating: 4 Stars

The Names They Gave Us
Emery Lord
Young Adult Fiction
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
May 16, 2017

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.

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