This review was originally posted to my blog readingthroughthenights!
In Emery Lord's newest release The Names They Gave Us we are introduced to Lucy Hansson, a high school student who has her summer all figured out but then things don't go quite as planned. Her mother's cancer returns, her boyfriend puts their relationship on pause in an effort to figure if this relationship is really what they both want going forward and on top of all of that, Lucy also isn't working as a counselor at her childhood bible camp and instead helps out at Camp Daybreak, a neighbouring camp for troubled kids.
We join Lucy as she tries dealing with her new normal of working at Camp Daybreak, Sundays with her mother and her developing relationships with her fellow counselors at Camp Daybreak.
The plot for The Names They Gave Us sounded really intriguing to me when I first read it and I knew I wanted to read this book and see how Emery Lord would tell this story, even though I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy the religious aspects of the story as that is not something I usually gravitate towards in books I want to read. But I have to say, it wasn't something that felt like it was being pushed down your throat at any given point in the story. Religion was an important part of who Lucy was, yes. But it wasn't all Lucy was or what this story was about. I really appreciated that!
This story truly was about friendships and the relationships Lucy has build with the people in her life. Her parents are active participants in her life - even though they do keep secrets from her. And once Lucy arrives at Camp Daybreak she immediately gets along really well with Anna and through her connects with Jones, Keely and Tambe, a group of counselors who have worked at Camp Daybreak together before. I really enjoyed watching their dynamic!
This was my first novel by Emery Lord and I didn't know what to expect from her writing because of it. But I really enjoyed it!
I enjoyed that she took the time to introduce us to Camp Daybreak and it's daily rhythm; that we got to experience a day in the life with Lucy and her group of girls. We also get to explore the surroundings of Camp Daybreak a little bit, which was a fun addition to the story and allowed the characters to show a different side of themselves, which is definitely something I appreciate a lot in a story!
I've already talked a little bit about the characters, so I am not going to repeat all of it again here. What I do want to add is that I really appreciated the diverse set of characters that Emery Lord introduced us to in her story.
And just how Religion wasn't Lucy's defining character trait, none of these characters were just the aspects that highlighted them as diverse. It was never the black character XY or anything like that. Yes, character XY was black but also caring and loving and talented and so much more and I really loved seeing that!
The Names They Gave Us was definitely a well-paced story for a majority of the book. It had really small moments where I wished the author had taken more time to deal with situations that came up, but those weren't major story points or drawbacks for me.
To be completely honest, I was a little bit concerned that I might not enjoy this book as much as I would a different book with characters who weren't teenagers, but those worries were for nothing! I actually really enjoyed reading about these characters and their day to day lives as counselors at camp but also as just teenagers on their nights and days off.
Maybe that was because these characters didn't feel like teenagers most of the time? They felt they were mature for their age which definitely influenced my enjoyment!
This was a really quick, easy read and highly enjoyable! And now that I've read this, I definitely want to check out the author's previous works!
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