Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord
Date Started: May 16
Date Finished: May 17
Format: ebook from the digital library
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 won’t lie. I was still a little bit disappointed from Emery Lord’s last novel When We Collided, it was lacking something for a contemporary novel. And when I started The Names They Gave Us I was a little bit skeptical because I’m not a very religious person. Don’t get me wrong I do believe, but I’m not the type that goes to church every Sunday. And sometimes I get a little wary of books that talk about religion. That being said, once I got past the first few chapters of this novel and Lucy started at Daybreak – the alternative camp across the lake from her usual Bible summer camp – things got rather interesting and interesting fast. I loved how slowly Lucy got out of her comfort zone and made friends with the others in this book. I loved how Lord casually dropped that these were not all white characters, but multi-racial and gender fluid too. I also loved that for a contemporary novel the drama did not involve the main character’s love interest, but her family dynamic.
However, there was one thing that I didn’t like and it did have to deal with Lucy’s family drama in this novel. Her mom gets diagnosed again with Stage 3 breast cancer about the same time that summer is approaching. In fact, the whole reason Lucy goes to Daybreak instead of her usual summer camp is because her mom asks her to. And the reason I didn’t like Lucy’s mom having cancer, is the fact that it hit a little too close to home. I’ve been there with my mom – it didn’t help that both my mom and Lucy’s mom’s first name is Marianne – and luckily it wasn’t Stage 3, but still. This book made me want to go home and hug my mom really tight.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The only two reasons it’s not getting five is because of what I mentioned above and because the book ended with no clear resolution. Lucy’s mom takes a turn for the worse, Lucy follows her dad out to the car where she catches him swearing, and she realizes that her brief disbelief in God when the summer started was okay. Um…what about the rest of the summer? What about her mom?
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