The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (ARC Review)

17934095_748034068690827_2473799728253370368_nThe Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Release Date: May 16, 2017

*An e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review – thanks so much for sending me over a copy!*

Clearly, if you’re in the book blogging contemporary world, you’ve heard the name Emery Lord once or twice. Personally, I had heard of the name, but I had never really knew any of her books or what they were about. When I saw this book pop up on my Goodreads recommendations, I thought I would give it a looksie, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much it appealed to me…and even more surprised with how much I was into it. This book was adorable, angsty, and all the right things for a contemporary!

Once Upon a Time…

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?

Books that talk about cancer and religion typically get put into two different categories: they either become “cancer books” or “Christian fiction” and you don’t see too many crossover into something in between. However, this book doesn’t fall into those set genre types. It’s not a cancer book. It’s not straight up Christian fiction. This is a book that has a character struggling with cancer and Christian issues. But it’s focused on our lovely narrator, Lucy and her struggles as a person, and it’s not just a filler for these genres.

Lucy really is the star of this story. She grows so much throughout the story, and I grew to like her quite a bit. In the beginning of the story, she starts off so solid, but after the emergence of her mother’s cancer and being forced out of her bubble, she becomes a whole new person who now understands so much more. She has a wonderful redemption story, and it was so easy to root with her as she continued on.

I also loved the aspect of her faith in this. To be honest, I didn’t know how it was going to be dealt with. I’m really not a religious person, so sometimes books that tend to have a Christian fiction sense don’t always strike a certain cord with me. However, this book really doesn’t focus on that, and even though Lucy and I differed, it was done in a way that was relatable and realistic. While Lucy maintains her faith, her questioning is so realistic and heartfelt. Her life is completely upturned, and to see how she reacts to something so massive especially in regards to her religion was great.

The diversity aspect was wonderful as well. There was a lot of diversity in this book and far more than what I was expecting which was even cooler. Lucy has had a sheltered life, and it was interesting to see her experiences. There is a lot of different cultures in this book (the lead dreamboat, Henry is African American, etc.), and LGBTQIA is here as well (there is someone that is transgender in the book).

The romance was so adorable as well. Henry and Lucy were so cute, and Henry – oh, Henry, was a dream. He was so sweet and sensitive. Every time he was hanging out with the kids, I would just squeal because he was just so cute. Lucy and him were wonderful together, and I loved the slow burn of the romance.

The friend group was great as well. I loved how different and unique they all were. They just weren’t the usual undeveloped characters that are just there to make up the background. They had their own hopes, dreams, and personalities. I loved how they stuck up for each other and were fiercely loyal and protective. I totally wanted to be part of their group.

There were just two slightly bigger issues I had with the book. The first one is more minor. I just felt some times it just got too fluffy? Like, the plot was kind of lost a bit, and we just were given Henry and Lucy being cute together. Don’t get me wrong – I love me some fluff, but it seemed a little too cheesy at times when there was literally nothing going on besides them being together. This was totally minor and didn’t detract from the story really at all.

Ariel is ready to get for a splash into some camp water…or maybe not. Too many people might pee in that pool.

The second issue I had was with the ending. No spoilers really, but it just ends. I could see the story was ending, and I kept thinking, omigosh, Netgalley cut off the story, they deleted the last two chapters! Where is the epilogue?? Until I realized…there was none. I felt there was no real resolution given – it was too open ended. There was a lot going on at the end, too. There was a HUGE plot twist given about two chapters before the end that was never really dealt with and there was a lot hanging in the balance. I get Lord was giving us a way to create our own ending since we know now how much Lucy has changed, but I felt like there needed to be SO much more said. Imagine getting to all the juicy bits and then…having nothing. I still really liked this book, but I needed a more finite ending.

Overall, though, this story cute, feely, and definitely a contemporary to add to your list! I really enjoyed it even though the ending rocked me a bit. I will definitely be checking out Emery’s further works (I literally bought one on sale right after I finished this), and I can understand a bit better why her name is constantly coming up in the contemporary world. Also, camp books rock. Four crowns and an Ariel rating – especially because Lucy does love a good splash in the pool and has some rebellious tendencies like a certain mermaid.


Check it out:

What do you think? Have you read an Emery Lord book? Have you recommendations for me? Are you excited for this book? What do you think about non-endings? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


27 thoughts on “The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (ARC Review)

  1. I’ve seen this book around but I’ve never really thought of reading it because contemporary and I don’t always mix (its a struggle!) But this does sound cute, maybe, perhaps, possibly I shall read it XD! OMG non-endings are the worst. I’ve gone through it before with a specific book I had been waiting ages to read. The ending-that-was-not-an-ending left me so lost and confused. Its not just about wanting more it is NEEDING more to finalize and complete the story! Lovely review Mandy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was a bit hesitant at first with it since it is quite different, but it was really a good story. It does get a little too contemporary at parts, so you may need to be warned about that ahead a time and know that going in. But it was really good. And OH NO. What book was it?? Because that sounds so mean. D: I just want a ending – it may not even be a happy one but just one. XD But thankies, Rendz!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nah. No death. He walks away. (So they don’t end up together…sad) And she says “Well that’s it.” And stares at his fading figure. No idea what happens to her in regards to the actual plot and point of the story. She just stares. o__o

        Liked by 1 person

      2. AHAHAHAHA. Omigosh. I…I have no words. That’s so weird and random. What a horrible way to end it. XD I was actually interested in reading that series but I might wait on that because I don’t think I could handle that. XD I just can’t get over this, Rendz. XD

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I just finished this one this week too! I also gave it a four star rating! It had such GREAT characters, like you said above. I was actually down with the ending. I kind of liked being able to interpret and imagine the ending myself. I think if it was a plot-driven book instead of a character-driven book I wouldn’t have been. But I felt like the book ended right as Lucy’s character arc reached its conclusion if that makes any sense. I struggled more with the beginning, because it got heavy SUPER fast, and I just couldn’t relate to Lucy in the beginning! This is a great review! Awesome points here, Princess Mandy! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, so funny, Krysti, we ended up with the same rating but for different reasons. But I can see your point. I do feel like the character arc was executed perfectly for the ending. I just wanted more. But I do agree. At first, I wasn’t super crazy about Lucy for those reasons too. But thankies! 😀 Glad I can finally talk about this ending because it totally messed with me. XD

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is funny that we came up with the same rating for the exact opposite reasons. I do totally see what you’re saying about the ending though. Plot-wise, it is like WAIT!!! I’m not done yet! LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely review, Mandy! ^^ I haven’t read or heard about this author before… I think… Am I living under a blogger rock? Sigh.
    I enjoyed reading about it, however, and I totally get you. Fluff is awesome but when it completely overshadows everything else, it just feels too much. The great thing about some stories is that there’s just so much anticipation and romantic tension, you keep craving it! It’s the best! Offering it all the time with no reason at all is just disappointing, I find.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was living under the same blogger rock, but I had vaguely seen the cover for When We Collided over and over again until I finally sort of came out from under it.
      YES! That’s exactly what I was thinking. I’m all about the tension. XD which is kind of crazy.


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