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The Names They Gave Us

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  9,045 ratings  ·  1,597 reviews
When it all falls apart, who can you believe in?

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 ov
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Jules I think it's because the book is centered around a camp for troubled kids. Daybreak has everything from pregnant 14 year olds to transgenders to abuse…moreI think it's because the book is centered around a camp for troubled kids. Daybreak has everything from pregnant 14 year olds to transgenders to abused children. Everyone at this camp would have been called names at some point; been judged and given a label. The pregnant 14-year old, perhaps would have been called "whore" maybe the transgender was bullied relentlessly. But at Daybreak, each and every one of these people-whether they are counselors or campers- are respected and not defined by their struggles. The names they were given are no loner meaningful at this safe haven in the woods.

That's just my take on it. Feel free to add comments of your own :) (less)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

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Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow...that was fantastic! I really didn't think I would connect with this story because I usually shy away from stories focused on religion, but I was so wrong. This story was beautiful, heartbreaking and powerful. Definitely my favourite Emery Lord novel I've read. Highly recommend it! ...more
I am shocked by how much I liked this book.

More accurately, I am shocked I liked this at all. Emery Lord and I have a mixed history, for one thing (I hated two of her books and thought one was fine).

Also, nothing about the synopsis of this sounds particularly Me. While I do like contemporaries, especially ones set in summer, I tend to like the ones that focus on banter-y groups of friends more than Grand Realizations About Life. A dollop of coming of age is to be expected, but this one was...rel
Emery Lord is an auto buy author, so I don't even read the synopsis of her books any more. I just know I'm going to love them.

Love love loved Lucy. She's an amazing character: strong, loyal, curious. I truly enjoyed being in her head and reading her struggle. Her found group of friends were fantastic and I adore the way Emery writes every friendship like its ride or die. And her parents were perfection.

The underlying theme of this story is Lucy and her faith. I'm not particularly religious, so w
♛ may
Full review posted

DNF @ 80%

I’m gonna try and run through the reason why I wasn’t particularly a fan of this book real quick for y’all


- The characters are great, wonderful flowers, vibrant and strong
- All of them that is, except for Lucy our mc
- She’s kinda like a plain jane x 10
- She’s just really boring and whiny and boring and I just couldn’t keep up with her
- Now this is a personal thing but I just never found I connected with emery lord’s writing and THAT’S TOTALLY FINE I’m sure you’ll
Dannii Elle
I have always found the faith of others to be a beautiful thing, but also something that has always been distant from my own life, asides from one summer when I was nine-years-old where I convinced myself I was going to become a nun after seeing Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'. Through Lucy's exploration of Christianity the reader is invited to experience faith from an inside perspective. And through Lucy's loss of it we are also invited to analyse our own opinions and stance on religion. ...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
This is a really hard one for me to review. While I enjoyed this book for the most part, I found myself to be really bored most of the time and had a hard time connecting to the characters. HOWEVER, I definitely think this is a personal preference thing and I feel like other readers could get much, much more out of this than I did.

Here’s hoping that Emery’s other books fare better for me!
Sarah Elizabeth
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) and NetGalley.)

“We don’t want you to worry,” my mom says. “Surgery is scheduled for Monday morning.”

This was a YA contemporary story about a girl whose Christian faith was tested when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time.

Lucy was an okay character and I felt really sorry for her and her family. Going through a breast cancer diagnosis must be super hard, and to h
Andi (Andi's ABCs)
This review was originally posted on Andi's ABCs
Sometimes you read a book and you just don’t know what to even say about it. It is pretty much perfect in all the ways that surprise you yet don’t surprise you at all. It will make you feel things as you read, make you cry, make you laugh, make you swoon. That is what The Names They Gave Us did to me. In typically Emery Lord fashion I was blown away by this books beauty and realness.

I’m not really sure how to describe what I felt and loved about th
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
Lucy's mom is sick. She has cancer. Her long time boyfriend puts their relationship on pause. Her dad is a pastor. Religion and faith have always been a key part of their lives but this fateful summer instead of attending church camp Lucy's parents encourage her to become a camp counsellor at another camp. A camp where everyone has a past... As Lucy struggles with her faith, with judgment, and with discovering who she truly wants to be in this life she somehow learns more about herself in a few ...more
Farhina ↯↯ The Wanderer Of Inked Adventures

“You can be okay again. Just a different kind of okay than before.”

This is one of my favorite contemporary. And here's why :

1: Set at Camp: 

One of my favorite bookish trope is books set at camp at summer. I don't ever since i was kid camp stories just make me happy. And this one is no exception. It has a bunch kids, being counselor, camp activities. And obviously a bunch of amazing cast of characters that our mc makes friends with.

2. Relationship with faith and religion:

I just started reading Emery Lord last year and she has gradually become an auto-buy author for me. She has such a way with words and characters that each book is utterly unputadownable. This story does deal with tough subjects such as cancer and religion, (I know what you're thinking - ugh cancer, ugh religion - no thanks) but don't let that scare you off! If you've read any of Lord's previous work then you know that the hard subjects are what she excels at. Cancer stories hit a little too clos ...more
Lea (drumsofautumn)
What can I say - this book deserves every single positive review it gets. It's so beautiful, so full of amazing character development, wonderful friendships, an absolutely heartwarming romance. It's a melancholic, sad Contemporary but never fails to make you laugh.
While I think anyone, at any age, can read YA, I feel like this is a YA book in particular that I would recommend to everyone. I think there's something eye-opening in here for everyone.
Mariah Roze
Feb 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Read this book for my hometown book club.... It was meh.

"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
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is hands down my favorite read of the year. I hope everyone will give this book a chance if reading hard-hitting contemporaries is your thing. I rarely rarely rarely read a book that makes me cry, and this book made me cry five times like a big fat baby. It was so beautiful, so heart-warming, and so sad. The writing was amazing and lyrical, the protagonist was relatable, well-developed, unique, and showed a great character arc throughout the story. The secondary characters all had their own ...more
Book Riot Community
I’ve shied away from contemporary YA over the last few years, only rarely dipping my toes back in if someone recs me a specific book. The subgenre has been dominated by first person narrators of late, and that’s something I often struggle to connect with, but I’m always looking for more YA to read. Emery Lord came highly recommended by a friend, so I jumped at the chance to read The Names They Gave Us. It was astonishing. This book is a very tough, emotional read handled with a deft touch and cl ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-arc, 2017-release
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

The Names They Gave Us is a moving story in which we follow Lucy, as she is challenged in her faith when her mother is diagnosed with cancer - after already beating it years ago.
Instead of going to church camp with her parents as she does every year, her mother wants Lucy to go to Daybreak camp, which is a camp for kids and teens that have been through a lot. Lucy is hesitant but very quickly she
Jen Ryland
UPDATE May 14: I did read this and overall I'm glad I did. But for those of you who are hesitant to read a cancer book, here's a heads up that illness and other types of loss and the sorrow and despair that go with them were a thread that ran strongly through the entire story.

As always, Emery Lord's writing is lovely. Most of the book takes place at a camp for kids who have suffered some sort of loss or trauma. Lucy's mom asks her to go there for a bunch of reasons, one of them being that Lucy's
Caroline Talton
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, favorites
in honor of two weeks until pub date, here is my review!

Thank God for this book, honestly. And thank Emery Lord for writing it. I... am in awe. Every word of this was like a balm to the soul. I really don't have the words to talk about it right now, but I felt the full spectrum of emotions reading this, in their purest forms. Glee, giddiness, love, sorrow, pity. I felt surrounded by the love of friends and family, found and born with. I just... I'll post a review closer to pub date, but you guys
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
This book started off really slow and pretty boring for me I was seriously think I wasn't in the mood for it and about to put it down for another time THEN something magical happened.

We get a whole freakin cast of amazing character that had heartbreaking back stories and amazing relationships with each other.

This camp, these character, the diversity (that should be in EVERY contemporary) every character had a backstory, every character was messy and lovely, the romance was so cute, and the stru
Stacey (prettybooks)
I raved about When We Collided for months after it brought me out of a reading slump and became one of my favourite books. I wanted more of Emery Lord's beautiful writing and so I couldn't wait to get my hands on The Names They Gave Us. (I still haven't picked up her first two books, but I very recently bought The Start of Me and You!).

Lucy Hansson has her life all figured out until her long-term boyfriend 'pauses' their relationship over the summer and her mum's cancer comes back. To help her c
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I FLEW through this book. Nearly in one sitting.

It was beautiful and full of character growth, the cutest relationships, and gorgeous writing.

I loved loved LOVED the friend group in this book. Our main character Lucy finally figures out what it means to have deep, meaningful friendships and it made my little heart ache for her. All of the characters in this book are going through a lot. It's definitely not an easy read in terms of hard topics, but 100% an easy read when it comes to time.
Shahirah Loqman
Thanks Pansing Malaysia for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4.5
Read my full review here:

One of my favourite YA contemporaries ever! My god, Emery Lord sure can write. I love how poignant and emotionally explored this book is. Such a gem. I highly recommend it!
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, bloomsbury, 2017
Beautiful, emotional and raw. I appreciate the care with which the author depicted faith - it's struggle and resolution. Somehow the story manages to be somber yet funny without feeling heavy. Ah, how I felt for Lucy! Read this one ...more
nick (the infinite limits of love)
A few minutes after finishing The Names They Gave Us, with a teary face, I sat down and thought to myself “How does she keep doing this to me?”. She being, Emery Lord, author who likes to destroy me with feels. I’ve read all four of her books now and every one of them has been an emotional and memorable read that I will always cherish. The Names They Gave Us, was just … gorgeously written, and for now, it is my second favorite book from her.

Despite being religious, I always think to myself that
The Names They Gave Us is tied with The Start of Me and You as my favorite novel by Emery Lord. I enjoyed Open Road Summer but When We Collided made me re-evaluate whether Lord and I had gone our separate ways. We haven't; not yet, at any rate.

Lord's latest follows Lucy, from the night of her junior prom when she finds out that her mother's breast cancer is back after two years, to her boyfriend "pausing" their relationship for the summer, just as Lucy goes off to be a counselor at Camp Daybrea
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favsof2018
oh this book was beautiful!

we follow the tale of lucy who goes into summer knowing her mother’s got cancer again, her boyfriend has put their relationship on “pause” & has agreed to become a counsellor at a camp for troubled kids.

i did not think i’d love this book as much as i did! i loved the main character and how this story was a lot about her and growing up and finding herself as well as her faith.

i loved the friendship between the main character and keely & anna & mohan & henry.

and the rel
I have read all of Emery Lord's books so far and it's beautiful to see her development as a writer. The Names They Gave Us is by far her best book in my opinion, though I thought When We Collided was amazing, and I have a special place in my heart for The Start of Me and You.
But this one is on another level. I might even write a review once I've recovered from this overload of feelings.
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bloomsbury
Lucy Hansson finds glory in the inspiration of Our Father, a passionate parishioner honouring thy father and thy mother. A wonderful community of support for the sixteen year old high achiever. Lucy's character is delightful. She's a wonderfully positive young woman with a tremendous sense of community for her fellow parishioners. Her strong Christian beliefs extend to her relationship with fellow Christian Lukas until Lucy challenges the boundaries of their physical relationship.

Daybreak is a s
Jaime Arkin
Books that deal with faith and religion are not typically my thing… not for any particular reason, I just am always afraid they might get a little too into religion and faith and that’s not usually my thing. That said, how am I supposed to pass up an Emery Lord book?

I’m so glad I didn’t let the word “faith” in the summary scare me away because this was such a beautiful story and one I think only Emery Lord could have told. She just has an amazing way of portraying family and friendship and the
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I'm Emery, and I write books about flawed girls who are really trying, complicated families, friends who show up even when everything's going down in flames, and the moments that change everything.

I don't check my GR inbox, but feel free to get in touch via ways listed on my website!

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