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The Names They Gave Us

The Names They Gave Us

Book - 2017
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Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. When her mom's cancer reappears, her boyfriend "pauses" their relationship, and her summer job switches to a camp for troubled kids, Lucy falters in her faith. Then long-hidden family secrets emerge. Can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2017.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781619639584
Branch Call Number: LORD
Characteristics: 388 pages ; 22 cm


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Jul 31, 2017

The Names They Gave Us is a fabulous story! It's been awhile since I couldn't put a book down without a looming review deadline. I have only read one other book by Emery Lord (The Start of Me and You) and while I enjoyed it, this one has me extra excited to read the rest of her back list.

Lucy was an amazing protagonist with a compelling voice. I love it when a book has a strong female lead that is consistent and gets stronger as the story progresses. That defines Lucy to a tee. The rest of the characters are a secondary ensemble that support and strengthen Lucy's journey, but are in no way any less important. There are light romantic elements within the book, but the strong friendships are what carry the story. That and the faith element. Lucy is a Christian and with myself being a Christian, I appreciate the care and respect that Emery Lord used with those elements. I can get nervous when reading what some might define as a "secular" story, but have Christian elements/characters. I worry about it looking satirical or as a parody. This was neither. Christianity, along with other faiths are respectfully written about showing the imperfections of all people regardless of religious faith. Since Lucy's mother has cancer, that illness is also a big theme throughout the story. Her mom's cancer is actually the precursor to Lucy questioning God and her beliefs. Again, deftly handled with a beautifully open-ended finish to Lucy's story. An Inspiring, encouraging and gorgeously written YA novel that (I feel) has universal age appeal.

Jul 02, 2017

I absolutely adored this book. I find Emery Lord's works have this way of capturing my attention and making me fall in love with the teens that she writes. They are flawed, imperfect, but lovable people. The Names They Gave Us may be her most powerful novel to date, and easily her most difficult in terms of subject matter as well.

Lucy is a great heroine. She's devoted to her religious beliefs, has the perfect boyfriend, and loves her family deeply to the point of resentment at times. Her mother's cancer reappears and she struggles to grasp that this could be the end for her mother, and ends up at a camp for teens dealing with tougher issues. There she makes wonderful, thoughtful friendships and grows into a stronger person. Lord does a fantastic job of showing Lucy's growth in the story, and I think it shows when she learns about Anna, a trans girl at the camp. Their friendship was easily one of my favourites, and I enjoyed the way in which Anna educates Lucy about trans rights and issues transpeople face.

I also think how Lord deals with Lucy and her faith is very intriguing. It reminded me of my all time favourite novels, Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu, although they are coming at the topic in very different ways. Lucy trying to reconcile her feelings about the people she meets and what the Bible has taught her is played up very well in this story, and I think this is just another area where Lord shows magnificent growth for Lucy as a character.

The Names They Gave Us is a beautiful, smart, sensitive read that offers amazing and thoughtful character development. Lord continues to show readers that she can work with tough issues, make them accessible, and still write a heartbreaking and touching story. While When We Collided still remains my favourite of hers, this one is a close second.

May 29, 2017

This is a well-thought out, heartbreaking book. It is wonderfully done. There is a great overarching theme about growing up and discovering yourself, letting go, being okay and not okay, friendship, family, and faith. I feel as though it is not a story that is told often. And it covered a wide-array of topics in one book, without it feeling disjointed or forced. Emery Lord crafted an ideal situation where these diverse teenagers and children could come together and share their stories. It is well worth a read.

My only reason for it not being a five star is because I struggled with Lucy as a character. I don't know why because she is practically who I was at 17 (save for being a pastor's kid) and her struggles with growing up just came for me in college rather than high school. But I don't necessarily know what it was--it could have been that we were to similar or that I felt like she was adjusting to everything so quickly. I have to forgive that though because a book can only show you so much of a person's life.

I would still recommend this book. I believe it is a necessary read about the real struggles or growing up and seeing your parents are people not just your parents that isn't shown in YA lit often. Or at least that I have read. And it does it in such an honest and real way. It's a good, important book.

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Jun 14, 2019

brcandon thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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