Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Names They Gave Us

by Emery Lord

From the acclaimed author of When We Collided comes a vibrant, compelling story of love, loss, faith, and friendship.

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.

Reviewed by Kelly on

4 of 5 stars

Lucy Hansson finds glory in the inspiration of Our Father, a passionate parishioner honouring thy father and thy mother. A wonderful community of support for the sixteen year old high achiever. Lucy's character is delightful. She's a wonderfully positive young woman with a tremendous sense of community for her fellow parishioners. Her strong Christian beliefs extend to her relationship with fellow Christian Lukas until Lucy challenges the boundaries of their physical relationship.

Daybreak is a summer program for children and teens enduring grief, displacement and despite Lucy's reluctance, she accepts the position of counselor to satisfy her mother. The Names They Gave Us explores adolescence grief and acceptance. Lucy's mother is breast cancer survivor although in the summer of Lucy's senior year, her mother is rediagnosed and scheduled for surgery.

Lucy begins to challenge her Christian ideology, an aspect of the narrative I found fascinating. Lucy is a compassionate humanitarian but her ideology often leads to the judgement of others, including a pregnant young lady seeking guidance. Lucy's character encounters a diverse and wonderful company of counselors who have all experienced trauma or loss throughout their young lives. In particular gentle Anna and the magnificent Henry. The delicate romance between Lucy and Henry was captivating. Daybreak is a positive and maternal environment and the counselors all share a wonderfully affirming perspective.

Although Christianity and illness are components of Lucy's narrative, The essence of The Names They Gave Us is compassion. Through her interactions with fellow councilors, Lucy experiences a sense of belonging and immeasurable admiration, now accepting of new experiences guided by the group of diverse, young individuals. African American adolescents, transgender, exploring sexuality, displacement, socioeconomics, race, religion, anxiety, grief, adoption and illness. Both children and councilors were wonderfully representative of our diverse communities.

Unfortunately it ended rather abruptly and I needed closure.

Emery Lord is a prolific contemporary author, creating socially conscious characters with compassion and consideration. The Names They Gave Us is marvelously delightful, beautifully written and enchanting.

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 6 June, 2017: Finished reading
  • 6 June, 2017: Reviewed