The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord ~ Review by Allison

The Names They Gave Us
Hardcover390 pages
Published May 16th 2017 
by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: ARC Provided by the publisher at ALAMW
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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 have been a huge fan of Emery Lord since I first discovered Open Road Summer. Every year I look forward to her newest release. The Names They Gave Us did not disappoint. It was a beautiful book about family, friends, love, and new beginnings.

Lucy grows up a faithful Christian as the pastor’s daughter. She is an only child and she grows up in church. She grows up having friends in church and those are her only friends. She goes to the same church camp every year with her same friends. She discovers that her mother is diagnosed with Cancer again and she goes through the period of grief and questioning her faith because of it.

Her mother decides that Lucy should go work at a different summer camp that is just across the lake from the Christian camp. Lucy calls it a “hippie” camp because it is similar to a true summer camp. It is a true summer camp experience where the other campers sleep in dorms, participate in outdoor activities, swim, play group games, etc. Lucy quickly gains friends and new experiences at her new summer camp.

Through her new summer camp experience, Lucy learns to come out of her shell a lot more and be confident in herself. She meets new people outside of her church friends and family. She embraces her new adventure and discovers her love of being teaching children. Lucy comes to terms with a lot during this summer at a new place.

Lucy discovers so much, not only about herself, but her mother at her new summer camp. She did not know a lot about her mother’s childhood. She soon discovers why and it is so upsetting to read about.

The ending to The Names They Gave Us was so sweet and emotional. There is a part in the last couple of chapters that you just realize and look back on everything that happened during the summer. You understand what Lucy went through and how much she grew. The last chapter was so nostalgic of her summer and the memories she made. She not only let go of her first love and came to terms with it, but made new friends and a new love interest that showed her what real love was like. She was able to find independence and not rely on her faith and to branch out and trust herself.

I really enjoyed how religion was brought into The Names They Gave Us because it was so relatable. I grew up Catholic and I grew up with religion as being a side part of my life. I was brought up in a traditional school with normal friends and most of them did not go to church. I have many friends at the other side of that spectrum, though. They grew up with church being their second home and their church friends being their only friends. I am able to fully understand Lucy’s experience with her religion and her family and friends.

Overall, The Names They Gave Us was an amazing book and I do not know why I didn’t pick it up sooner. This book was so well written and probably my favorite of Emery’s so far because I was able to relate to Lucy so much. I highly recommend this book for anyone that is a fan of Emery.

Rating: 5/5

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About the Author:

I'm Emery, and I write books about flawed girls who are really trying, complicated families, friends who show up even when everything's going down in flames, and the moments that change everything.

I don't check my GR inbox, but feel free to get in touch via ways listed on my website!


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