Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 16, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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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. But when her mom's cancer reappears, Lucy falters-in her faith 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?
Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord's storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life's biggest challenges.
So as I mentioned in my introduction a while back, I am a huge fan of YA contemporary novels, and this one was just that, plus so much more that I expected from it. I saw this book on my “recommended for you” on both Amazon and on my local library list, and every time, I would click on it, read the description, and find myself not in the mood for the book. Just by reading the summary, it can be felt that this book comes fully locked and loaded with an arsenal of difficult topics, and at most times, I’m simply not ready to get into those topics. However, I downloaded the book before a flight recently, and fell in love with the book.
I have read ‘Open Road Summer’ by Emery Lord earlier this year, and absolutely loved how she writes, (I don’t believe I have a review for that on my personal blog yet, but hopefully I can get it up for you guys here soon). I went searching for more of her books, and finally settled on The Names They Gave Us. And just like in previous books, Emery left nothing to be desired (in a good way of course).
A rundown of the plot: Right before main character Lucy Hannson was supposed to spend the summer at her parent’s church summer camp, her boyfriend decides it’s appropriate to put their relationship on pause (he’s not a great guy, in my opinion) due to some unfortunate news that Lucy received. With that, Lucy’s mother receives contact with an old friend about a opening as counselor for a camp, only a mile away from the church camp, and Lucy takes it reluctantly. The camp is for troubled kids, most of whom have family problems, and Lucy finds herself in the midst of it all. In the end, Lucy learns not only about herself, but also about her mother’s past, and what lead her to where she is now, and what influenced the decision to send Lucy to this camp for troubled kids.
There are so many emotions to be felt in this book, and I’m amazed at how wonderfully Lord was able to incorporate them all seamlessly. I was laughing, sympathising, near crying, and just wanted to hug the characters (tell me I’m not the only one who’s wanted to do that). I feel like my emotions for most of the book was like denial, you know, the ‘I’m not crying, you are’ type. 🙂
The feelings that the author captured in the book were all so real. The struggles, the excitement, the fear, the wondering. Even though Lucy is at this camp as a counselor, we soon find out that all of the counselors started out attending this camp, and has worked and are currently working through their past problems, which is what makes them strong enough to work with these kids on a daily basis.
I always love a good book about summer camp, or any camp really, and this was a perfect fit that I didn’t see coming. Usually reading about these certain topics is something I tend to shy away from but everything connected in the best way possible. While this book does touch a bit on religion, it’s not a prominent part in it, or at least it wasn’t to me. It affected the story plot a little bit in some of the decisions that the main character made, and the mindset that she was in, but nothing over the top that I couldn’t stand. Romance is usually another thing that I love in contemporary books, and in this book, there was a small part that romance played in it.
Overall, I give the book a 4 out of 5 stars (or as Gabi does it here, hearts). The book was extremely well written, and I loved all the characters and the development of the book. I am definitely looking forward to getting the chance to read other books by Emery Lord soon.
One question before I end this post, what YA book would you recommend to someone who’s been in a bit of a reading slump lately? (asking for a friend, of course 🙂 )