May 10, 2017

Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

The Names They Gave Us by
Emery Lord
pub 5/16/17 by Bloomsbury
YA - Contemporary
Received ARC from pub
I've been singing Emery Lord's praises since I first read Open Road Summer. With each new book she releases, it only becomes increasingly clear why her writing has had such an affect on me (and no doubt, the rest of the YA reading community). It's beautiful and honest and explores a multitude of themes genuinely. And even though her debut novel has remained my favorite since I love a good friendship book, The Names They Gave Us might be tied for the #1 spot now. (Who am I kidding, it's totally tied.)

Lucy Hansson's world is centered around her parents, helping at church and the summer Bible camp they run and a "comfortable" relationship with her boyfriend. In fact, comfortable is a good description for her life in general. But then her mom's cancer reappears, her so-called steady boyfriend decides they need to "pause" and her parents decide that she should volunteer at a camp for troubled kids instead. Everything becomes the opposite of comfortable and Lucy begins to struggle with her faith and her ability to cope with these new changes.

From the beginning, I was immersed in this book and I'm not exaggerating one bit when I say Emery Lord got me to tear up twice in less than 50 pages. Lucy's reaction to her mom's cancer coming back was heartbreakingly real. Then to suddenly be shipped off when all you want is the comfort of home? Again, her reaction was spot on. I liked that we witnessed her crisis of faith and how it was very much a part of who she was. But at the same time, her life needed to get shaken up. So when she goes to this new camp, I was very much invested in seeing her blossom since it's clear she's been pretty sheltered all this time. During this one summer, she meets a diverse group of people and it opens her eyes. She makes friends and a crush on a fellow counselor turns into something more (major swooning here). She grows up and discovers new things not only about herself but the people around her. And I can't say enough how beautifully every moment unfolded.

Do I recommend?
100% yes. It has everything: friends, family, romance and a young woman who grows leaps and bounds during the course of one pivotal summer. I guarantee you will love this book (and probably cry a lot).

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