Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

May 5, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 3 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from Publisher at ALA Midwinter in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Names They Gave UsThe Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher at ALA Midwinter
Buy the Book
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?

Emery Lord is one of my favorite authors, hands down. She has such a way with characters and stories that I find so compelling, making her books an auto-read. When I first read the blurb for The Names They Gave Us, I admittedly groaned with dismay instead of jumping with glee. Why? I usually avoid books with religious themes, afraid they may come off preachy. I was admittedly worried the book wouldn’t be for me but decided to give it a chance anyways because again, Emery Lord, and I’m so very thankful I did because the book was an absolute delight!

Lucy is the daughter of a Pastor. Religion and faith are a huge part of her life in every way. But when her mother’s cancer returns Lucy’s faith waivers and sets her on a path of self-discovery. Her boyfriend ‘pauses’ their relationship and she goes to to work at a summer camp away from her parents for the first time. A lot is happening to Lucy all at once and it is a lot for her to process. I found her voice to be exceptional. Even though she isn’t the type of character I relate to on a religious capacity, I still found her very relatable in so many other ways and had no problems connecting with her. I loved the diverse group of friends to she makes at camp and I love how she was able to break out of her shell and comfort zone as she discovers so much more about the world than she knew before. I adored these new friends and I adored the new romance that develop between Lucy and Henry. Relationships are a huge part of this novel and none compared to the bond Lucy shared with her mother. Lucy’s dedication to her was sincere and there were so many little moments between the two sprinkled in that warmed my heart and broke it all at once.

The Names They Gave Us was one of those reads that I truly enjoyed as I read but it wasn’t until I finished the last page that I realized the pure impact it had on me and I was left an emotional mess. If you are wavering on this one because of the religious elements, please don’t let that turn you away. I am so very thankful I didn’t let it deter me because this journey was worth all the smiles and tears.


About Emery Lord

Emery Lord is a 20-something Midwestern girl who writes stories about high school and best friends and weird families and the crushes that make you feel combustibly alive and also more awkward than you thought was possible. If you’re not sure how to pronounce Emery, try slurring the name “Emily,” and that will get you really close.

She lives in Cincinnati in a 100 year-old pink row house with her BFF/husband, a closet full of dresses, and lots of books. If karaoke-ing in grocery store aisles or guzzling coffee while impulse shopping were illegal, Emery would be writing her overemotional YA books from jail. Also, she makes up words sometimes. Like combustibly.

OPEN ROAD SUMMER, her first YA novel, is out April 15th, 2014. A second YA novel TBD will be released Spring 2015. You can contact her at

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

3 Responses to “Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord”

  1. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    I must have never read the synopsis for this book because I had no idea it was about Bible camp!! I’m not big on religion books because I always feel like some kind of agenda is being pushed– either the author is trying to convince the reader that religion is important or the author makes the character question their religion showing the reader that religion isn’t important. Either way– yuck! I hate other people’s opinions on that stuff and wish we’d just let each other be when it comes to religion or lack of one.

    ANYWAY, this one sounds like it might be one of the few that I could stomach. I LOVE the cover of it, so I kind of can’t say no?? haha.
    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books recently posted…The One Memory of Flora Banks Blog Tour Review, Quotes, & GIVEAWAY!My Profile

  2. Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

    I am going to start on this soon AND I CAN’T WAIT! I’ve heard such fantastic things about it and it seems like an incredible read! I love books where you don’t realise how much it’s impacted you until the end because those stay with me the longest! Thanks for the review Sara!

  3. Kelly @ Here's to Happy Endings

    Awesome review! I’m so glad to hear that you liked this one, and that the fact that it has religious aspects going on didn’t ruin it for you. I tend to shy away from books that deal with religious topics, too, but in this case it might be worth checking out. I have yet to read a novel by Emery Lord so I’m thinking this will be my first!
    Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings recently posted…Blog Tour: Seeker by Veronica Rossi – Review and Giveaway!My Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge