Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Release date: May 16th 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

When it all falls apart, who can you believe in?

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.

*I received a physical ARC from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.

I finished this book a few weeks ago but was still iffy about my final verdict toward the story. For the most part, I liked the writing and the premise. Lucy is a likable character and I could relate to her in some ways, especially in regards to her faith and how she'd have doubts in what she believes in at times. I also liked the camp and the various characters she came in contact with. They each taught her something new and opened her eyes to certain situations that she may have misinterpreted prior. And in the end, I feel like her character experienced growth and was better able to understand and accept people that may not share her faith, yet realize that like her, many were going through horrible things too.

Speaking of horrible things. Cancer sucks. Whenever Lucy spoke to her mom or thought about her, it truly tugged at my heart. It was sad being her head or reading scenes where her mom is described. I could envision her sickly appearance every time, so much so that I kept hoping she'd beat it and Lucy's family would have a happy ending, which is one of the reasons why I gave the story three stars. 

I didn't like the ending. I got absolutely no closure from it and feel like I'm left in limbo wondering if there'll be some follow-up or what. Also, there were things that I felt should have been made clear from earlier. For instance, when Lucy's mom sent her to this other camp after she's been going to their church's camp for so long, the truth should've come out from then. At least how her mother is connected to this particular camp. I understand about the rest and why she withheld that big secret from Lucy, but her mom definitely should have told her sooner. 

Like I said, the writing and the story are good, but I didn't love it the way I had hoped to. And being that this is the first Emery Lord book that I've read, I was expecting a lot more since I've heard so many great things about her previous releases. Regardless, I'm still going to give her other books a shot, even though this one didn't have me completely.

Emery Lord
About the Author

Emery Lord is the author of Open Road Summer, The Start of Me and You, and When We Collided. She lives in a pink row house in Cincinnati, with a husband, two rescue dogs, and a closet full of impractical shoes. 
Emery believes in the magic of storytelling, Ferris wheels, and you.


  1. I've been seeing this one around a lot lately! I always find books that have a MC questioning their faith interesting; I feel that's something that happens a lot for people, especially as a teen. Though, the no closure aspect is turning me off a little. Books that have no closure is a pet peeve of mine. Great review!

    1. Yeah, I related a lot to that, especially when dealing with tough issues. As for the ending, for me personally it didn't seem to wrap up well. Maybe it'll be different for you, you never know.

  2. This sounds heart-breaking but like a wonderful story. I hate that the ending didn't give you closure, though. This sounds like a good buddy-read for my teen and me. On the list it goes! Thank you for such a lovely review, Shane :)

    1. It is heart-breaking, with her mom's illness and not knowing if she'll survive. But yeah, I just wanted more from the ending. I think it would be great to read with your teen, for sure. Hope you guys like the story when you get the chance.


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