Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Names They Gave Us {by Emery Lord}

Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Contemporary
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
source: NetGalley

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?

Oh man, I loved this one. Now I haven't read all of her other books (only 1 1/2 others) so this may be premature, but it is probably my favorite of hers. I flew through it, that's how invested in it I was.

I loved Lucy. Emery Lord does such an amazing job of crafting such complex, deep characters. They are flawed, but real. Lord isn't concerned with making them "likable" per se, but allowed to be deeply human and complicated. Lucy was strong, even when she didn't think she was or could be, and I think she is a character so many girls can relate to.

Also, we definitely need more YA that talks about religion. Teens are religious too and it was SO great seeing that on page. Lucy is figuring out what she believes in vs. what she has always been told to believe in and I think that is such a huge part of life for a lot of teens. Lord shows it in a nonjudgmental way; what and how you choose to believe is up to you and there's nothing wrong with that. I loved how she showcased that throughout the story. Not a religious book, but a book about a girl, who is also religious. Definitely something that we need more of.

As with any Emery Lord book, it will also give you all the feels. It is very much a character-driven book, so the plot does fall a little flat. I also felt that there were maybe too many secondary characters in that they didn't really get fleshed out the way that they deserved, just existing to move along Lucy's story. But I did still enjoy them and what they brought to the story.

Of course there is a romance, although that is not the main focus. I felt it was there in the right amount, not taking away from the focus of Lucy and her story. Lord also writes grief really well; although Lucy's mother has cancer, it isn't a "cancer book", but does bring in those themes of Lucy having to learn to deal with her mother's diagnosis.

I feel like there was a lot that happened at the end too quickly, and it does end a bit open-ended if that's not your thing, but I did really enjoy this one.

Other books by this author:

Emery Lord:

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