Release Date: 1st June 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
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Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.
Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counselor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.
It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.
To be completely honest, I picked this book up without knowing what it was about because Emery Lord has become an auto-buy author, apparently, without me actually realising. I loved her debut, and the other books of hers that I’ve read have been pretty solid, so I had to give this one a go.
For those of you who are wondering, The Names They Gave Us is about a girl called Lucy who goes to a different summer camp than usual because her mum has cancer and it’s what her mum wants. Lucy and her parents are Christians, so Lucy was all set to go to Christian camp, but instead she goes off to a camp for kids who are struggling with all sorts of things.
I haven’t read too many books about characters who actively practise a religion or who question their faith. I avoid Christian fiction, and off the top of my head I can count less than ten YA books that feature religious characters. I think Lord did a good job of balancing the faith aspect of the book with the rest of the story. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was still both prominent and respectful.
I really liked Lucy. She struggled a lot, and it was quite nice to see her doing that. Which sounds super weird, I know, but I guess it was nice to see that she didn’t have everything too easy? Her relationship with her parents was lovely to read about, as was her relationship with the kids at the camp. I didn’t care for the romance, but that’s nothing new. It didn’t offend me, and the love interest was an okay guy so *shrugs*. It’ll do.
The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. So much so that I can’t rate this book higher than 3.5 stars. The ending was too open-ended for my liking. It introduced a few things without wrapping them up or providing any closure. It felt like the publisher just left out the last fifty pages. That was really disappointing.