The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord


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?

I nearly DNF’d this book:

The Names They Gave us ended up being so much better than I originally thought it was going to be.

I was pumped for this book because I love Emery Lord, I was lucky enough to receive an arc so when I started it and was not feeling it at all I was so disappointed and ready to start a new book, I’m so glad I decided to push through another 50 pages instead.

The huge glaring thing about this book that I knew would push me was the religious aspect of it. I am not religious and I was scared it was going to be preachy. Luckily it wasn’t, it was just an addition and showed a different aspect to a main character I’ve never seen before and once I got over myself it was actually interesting to see Lucy’s thought process.

The Story:

Our main is religious but she’s struggling with her beliefs now her Mums cancer has relapsed. Her Mum, wanting her to have a fun summer vs. one spent worry over her has decided she’s to go to the camp across the lake from their regular church camp and work as a councilor there. This camp is for kids dealing with grief, struggling families, life changes, basically its a home away from home for many of the kids that go there as well as a life saver.

It’s when Lucy gets to the camp I started to love the story because all the other characters were introduced and Lucy developed a lot more. The other counselors, the camp kids, the romance! All of it was just amazing and everything I hoped from a summer contemporary.

This book deals with grief and all types of home, family, and life hurdles in such a way that my heart ache and feel full and happy all at once. SO many important themes were discussed and shown.

My favourite things:

Diverse cast, great story arc, lots of character growth, LGBTQA+ rep, Lucy’s best friend at camp is a trans girl, the romantic interest is poc, there are Orphans, pregnant teens, kids stuck in hard places and all the issues were discussed and fleshed out in a way where it never felt untrue.

A Summer camp was the perfect setting to talk about important topics and would have just lacked it’s soul without all the side characters putting the heart into this story.

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If you loved Emery Lords other books or if you like the idea of a book set at a summer camp I highly recommend this! 3.5/5 stars

Have you read this? Do you plan to? Any recommendations for more Summer Camp stories?

If you’re like me and a bit er about the religious themes but want to read it anyway I’d say just push through the first 50 pages I promise it picks up once the rest of the characters are introduced!

Thank you so much to Bloomsbury for giving me an arc in exchange for a honest review

Grab yourself a copy here

7 thoughts on “The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

  1. I was worried about the religious aspect myself, but I’m glad to hear that it’s not a major part of the story. I have another book of Emery’s on my shelf and I was curious about this one as well. Good to hear it’s better than I thought it would be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Which other one do you have? My fave from her is Open Road Summer 🙂 The religion becomes more of a character trait then a theme which helped me forget about it if that makes sense but it’s part of the mains personal journey is. battling with her mums illness vs. beliefs in god etc… The side characters really made the story for me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When We Collided. I got it awhile ago, though I can’t remember why or on whose recommendation. 😅 That happens sometimes.

        It’s good that the side characters are so well developed. I think that can really help a story because I see a lot of the time that they get neglected and that brings a story down.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read it yet but I plan to do it after reading your review. I love diversity among characters 😉


  3. I haven’t ready anything by Emery Lord yet, but I have heard great things about her books. What is it about the first 50 pages which left you wanting more? And what inspired you to continue? I’m just glad you enjoyed this book in the end! Summer camp is a great setting to explore all these ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t that I wanted more it was that I don’t really like religious heavy books and the start was very focused on the characters beliefs. I really only continued because I like the Author and atleast wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt which I’m glad I did 🙂
      Summer camp was the perfect place to include so many heavy themes it worked perfectly

      Liked by 1 person

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