Emery Lord Shines Again With A Powerful Story: The Names They Gave Us

Emery Lord Shines Again With A Powerful Story: The Names They Gave UsThe Names They Gave Us
by Emery Lord
Release Date: May 16th 2017
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 400
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five-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake.

But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, 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?

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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A few minutes after finishing The Names They Gave Us, with a teary face, I sat down and thought to myself “How does she keep doing this to me?”. She being, Emery Lord, author who likes to destroy me with feels. I’ve read all four of her books now and every one of them has been an emotional and memorable read that I will always cherish. The Names They Gave Us, was just … gorgeously written, and for now, it is my second favorite book from her.

Despite being religious, I always think to myself that I won’t enjoy books that have a focus on faith and religion. Having read several books now, I know that there are actually authors who can write stories about faith without coming across as preachy. I honestly think that it’s important that there are books out there for teen about teens and their relationship with faith, which is why I think The Names They Gave Us will resonate with many readers. Grace has a complicated relationship with her religion, and I absolutely loved how Emery Lord depicted that here. A lot of her doubts, the sometimes shaky foundations of her faith, the strength of her relationship with God resonated with me on many levels. I saw a lot of my teen AND current self in Grace. Grace wasn’t just all about her religion. She was a sweet girl, really struggling with the resurgence of her mother’s cancer and how that affects her relationship with her religion. Deep down, she was an inherently good person and throughout the book you really see her goodness come out in the small, but consequential scenes.

The Names They Gave Us wasn’t just Grace’s story of coming to terms with the ongoing changes in her life. Her family life, the new friendships she forges and the romance she finds, all add to her story. Grace’s parents were such important figures in her life. I loved how much of a role they played here, and how involved they were in her life. Not only that, but they were not portrayed as the stereotypical pastor and pastor’s wife that you sometimes see. They were open-minded and kind and absolutely loving. Some of my favorite scenes in The Names They Gave Us were Grace’s scenes with her parents. The new friends that she makes at her camp, were another highlight for me. This was such a diverse cast in race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and personalities, and I absolutely loved that. They were all very different from each other, but they still fit together seamlessly. They made me laugh, think and sometimes, tear up. Then there was Henry, Grace’s love interest, who as with all Emery Lord book boyfriends, made me swoon with his charm, kindness and loving nature. Henry was a sweetheart, and his slow growing relationship with Grace was awkward, sometimes complicated, but so sweet and swoony. Their kisses and conversations made me positively giddy.

The Names They Gave Us was an emotional roller coaster of a book – it made me smile, laugh and by the end, cry. It has to be one of the most honest books I have ever read, and that I will wholeheartedly recommend. In fact, if you’re a YA contemporary fan and have yet to read Emery Lord, I demand that you read her books right away.

Have you read any good books with the theme of religion?
Let me know in the comments below!

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Nick
  • This sounds amazing. I loved my first Emery Lord book and super excited for this one now. I am all about emotional roller coasters 🙂 Great review!

    • This is totally a Grace book! Can’t wait for you to read it. 🙂

  • Laugh smile and cry! Nice. Mostly with a crying book I just cry, I’d like to smile too

    • I wouldn’t be able to finish if I were just crying.

  • kindlemom1

    Dang it, I totally passed this up and it looks like I seriously shouldn’t have, I hate it when that happens but I’m so excited this was a five star read for you Nick!

    • Aww! I hope you can still nab a copy, Ali!

  • Nick, such a beautiful review!! You had me with ” I honestly think that it’s important that there are books out there for teen about teens and their relationship with faith” because it’s so true! I need to try Emery Lord and show these reviews/books to my daughters as well! Thank you 🙂

    • Thank you, Kim. You and your daughters should definitely give this book a try.

  • I have a love hate realtionship with YA contemp these days, but you have convinced me to read this one with your powerful and beautiful reivew, Nick.

    • I totally understand! I have been reading some pretty terrible ones, but there are some good ones out there as well. We just need to wade through the not-so-great ones first.

  • Amazing review. You have piqued my interest and I am curious to learn more about this story. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Thank you very much!

  • I love when an author affects you like this Nick. Lovely heartfelt review!

  • Oh man, I’m very interested about this one now that you mention how it delves into faith! I’ve only read one other Emory Lord book, and it was so-so for me. But it sounds like I should definitely consider picking this one up now. I’m especially drawn to the fact that the mc’s parent is a pastor and how that affects her life. Wonderful review Nick!

    – Aila @ One Way Or An Author

    • Which one did you read, Aila? I think you should try it. You’d appreciate the diversity here too. The LI is a POC and there are other diverse characters too.

      • I’m always up for diverse contemporaries, hehe. 😛

        I read The Start Of Me And You and while it was good, it wasn’t memorable for me. Hopefully this one would be different!

  • I am excited that you loved this so much, it sounds deep and wonderful. I have an ARC of this and will be reading it soon so, very nervous here

    • Ahh I hope I haven’t hyped this too much for you!! Can’t wait to see what you think. 🙂

  • What a gorgeous cover. Every
    time I see it I just stop and stare.

    I’m a little bit weary of books
    dealing with faith and religion for the reason you’ve mentioned: many of them
    came across as preaching stories. But I’m sure Lord can pull it off with grace.

    I’m definitely going to follow
    your advice and read this book as soon as it will be released. By the way what
    is your favorite book by Lord?

    • It is a very lovely cover! I can understand, but it’s done very well here. 🙂 My favorite by her is Open Road Summer.

  • Well, you’re reminding me why I requested this book from Netgalley. I haven’t read yet because it’s not out until next month here but I seriously need to read ASAP. I know what you mean about Emery Lord making you emotional, she gets you every time with her books and I just don’t know how she does it. I’m intrigued to see Grace’s faith is questioned in the book because that is something you don’t see often in a book. I can’t wait to start it now.