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The Names We Take

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Never leave someone behind: it’s a promise easier made than kept, especially when seventeen-year-old Pip takes the headstrong twelve-year-old Iris under her protection in the wake of an earth-shattering plague.

After an unspeakable tragedy, the duo must navigate the nearly unrecognizable remains of Spokane, facing roving slave traders, merciless gangs―and worse. Pip and Ir
Paperback, 242 pages
Published May 19th 2020 by Ooligan Press
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  55 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Amy Barton
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Plan to read this on a weekend when you have plenty of time. It’s fast paced and intense-you won’t want to put it down.
I found Pip to be such an engaging and relatable character-one I would have been glad to read about in my teens when I didn’t feel like I quite fit anywhere.
The story is wonderful, and leaves room for hope and just a bit of magic in a difficult world. I look forward to Trace’s next book.
Kelly McWilliams
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of reading this debut early! It’s beautifully written, well plotted, and offers much-needed LGBTQIA+ representation in the dystopian fiction space. I felt deeply invested in Pip, Iris, and Fly. Strong post-pandemic world building and a deep engagement with what it means to claim and defend our own identity—even and especially during chaotic times—makes The Names We Take a highly relevant read! It comes out next week, so don’t forget to preorder!
May 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Left all but alone after a plague takes 95% of humanity, Pip has promised to never leave someone who needs help again. But in this strange new world, that promise might be a death sentence.

The subject matter was interesting. Plagues and dystopia are very much in my wheelhouse. I was looking forward to reading it.

However, it just didn't snag me. Maybe I wasn't in the mood; maybe it's the fact that it mostly tells, not shows. Maybe it's the fact that for me, the most emotional death was an offscre
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
In the aftermath of a pandemic, Pip finds herself relying on the kindness of strangers for survival. When she finds Iris who has no place to go, Pip's promise to "not leave anyone behind" is challenged and strengthened. Together they begin to form a bond built on respect and love. Pip and Iris contiually face challenges which they meet with resilance and courage. I liked how "The Names We Take" was a testament to one's strengths and standing up for what was right even at the cost of danger. If y ...more
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
My Recommendation: It doesn't matter your age, gender, sexual orientation, or any other box you fit (or don't fit) into, this is well worth the read. It's beautifully written and approachable, and as harrowing as some parts are the ending leaves you with a smile and a hopefully feeling which is all you can really ask for in a great book.

My Response: By no actual planning on my part I'm posting this on the release date of The Names We Take, which never happens. To be completely honest, the publis
Trace Kerr
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Had middle school flashbacks of grading my own papers while clicking 5 stars! Back in the day when the teacher asked what grade you should get, I'd always say an A- just to hedge my bets. ;)

I wrote TNWT for my youngest child, Dane. They wanted a queer story with kickass female characters who love and fight for each other and oh yeah, make it gritty, fast paced, and raw.

I hope you fall so hard for Pip and Iris and Fly that you push on into the night, reading TNWT all in one gulp.

Angela Sorenson
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was so phenomenal it reminded me a little bit of the hunger games but it was a bit different. I love the way the characters all interacted with each other to get to their ultimate goal of safety and kindness from an adult. Their is a lot of loss in the story and the book is intense to where you are on the edge of your seat until the very end. The relationships the characters form without having grown up with each other is very neat. I cannot wait to read more by this author.
Gracie (greyreadsbooks)
Thank you Ooligan Press for providing me with this ARC on Edelweiss.


I truly believe this book had a lot of potential, but unfortunately it didnt live up to that. The writing was not great in a way where it tried to be sophisticated but it was actually simple and told everything that was happening very directly. The characters were interesting I guess but they did not seem like really people. You wouldn't meet anyone like them in real life except for maybe the child, Iris. I love LGBTQ+ repr
☆ kritika ☆
(recieved this book from librarything's early reviewer program)

this was honestly one of the best books that i've gotten from an advance readers program. it is fast paced, but i could not put the book down once i started it.

i was stunned by the lgbtqia+ rep in this book, and their struggles are heartbreakingly expressed. the emotional connections between pip and iris really warmed my heart, which sets this dystopian novel apart from others. the character development was great, and it made the b
Diana Pinguicha
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story about survival, acceptance, love, fighting for what you believe in, and being who you are.
Rachel Howe
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
My recommendation for this book is 8/10.

The Names We Take follows seventeen-year-old Pip as she struggles to survive in a post-apocalyptic world after One Mile Cough wipes out most of the population. After saving thirteen-year-old Iris, the pair is soon captured and taken to Thistle Hill, a community of survivors on the outskirts of Spokane. Unfortunately for Pip, things at Thistle Hill are not what they appear to be, and she is forced to hide her true identity in order to protect them both.

Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Received an arc from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

This book just wasn’t for me.
I liked the plot, but it was kind of flat. What happens after the disease? Do some people still get sick? There was really no threat in this book and that was something I missed.
I just don’t understand why the people would kill each other if there was no real danger.

In the middle of the book it finally started to peak my interest. Having a creepy farm where people live normal lives, but with some mys
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 7-8-and-9
Thanks to Ooligan Press for providing a digitial ARC of The Names We Take via edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.

I've been pushing The Names We Take down my reading plan because I've been so excited to read this book and wanted to use it as a literary pick-me-up but it just didn't do it for me. For a book with a description about a post apocalyptic world very little happened.

That in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. I love character driven, deep stories and using such a world can be
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book as part of librarything's early reviewer program.

The Names we Take is not the type of book I usually read at all.
For more than half of this novel I just felt so stressed out constantly waiting for something worse to happen to Pip, and it just kept happening. It's a goddamn miracle she doesn't die at multiple points throughout the book.
I cannot find it in me to recommend to this to any trans readers because of how distressing it was to constantly be worried a
Feb 03, 2021 rated it liked it
DNF after 2 chapters. I'm not really the intended audience for this book; they would be much younger than I am and into post-apocalyptic lit. So why did I request this? The synopsis made it sound great - and indeed it may well be for the right reader. I don't usually read dystopian but, now and then, have really enjoyed one (eg Station Eleven). I thought this might be one.

What didn't I like? It felt derivative to me. I've seen only one Mad Max movie, years ago, but wow - semi-automatic weapons,
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program)

I really loved this book. I was a bit wary as I began to read it, because it takes place in the wake of a devastating pandemic and that felt a bit close to home for the moment. I'm so glad that I kept reading because it was such a beautiful story of survival and chosen family. The book has dangerous, heart-pounding scenes, sweet and tender scenes, and everything in between. I really apprec
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a well-written book with a great cast of characters. The main character, Pip, is particularly interesting, full of contradictions, but fully herself. I love the way she keeps commitments and stands up for what she thinks is right.

The story line is a touch more violent than I prefer, but it's easy to see how people would need to develop these types of skills in the type of post-apocalyptic world described here. The world-building is great and makes me kind of wish I'd had the chance to vi
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this beautifully crafted story about a young lady who is pushed to her limits and beyond to fight for her and her friends' survival. The main character, Pip, has faced so much loss in her life - some of it due to a pandemic that has swept through and killed the majority of the population, and some of it due to prior events that she had no control over. This is a story of her overcoming the seemingly insurmountable barriers that are in her way and finding herself free to ...more
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pip is the kind of friend you hope to have - someone who won’t give up on you. Since this reviewer is living in a time of a pandemic (2020), the premise of the book [set in the aftermath of a plague that wipes out whole populations and leaves the rest in competition for what resources are left] seems sadly more possible than ever. Set in my fair city, Spokane, WA, this YA book promotes lessons for us all about staying true to your own identity (living an authentic life even in times of struggle) ...more
L. Leah
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading The Names We Take by Trace Kerr. Thank you to LibraryThing and Ooligan Press for my copy!

From the first few paragraphs I was all in! I really liked how Trace used detail without droning. I felt for the characters who needed it. I’m a little thrown about the tiger/cougar/lion (?) but I think other distractions IRL may have had something to do with that (I didn’t backtrack). I gave a solid four stars. The pace, holding interest, character/world building... loved it!
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly beautiful, heartwarming, and heart-wrenching post-apocalyptic tale. Trace Kerr was able to take a relatively popular genre and make it new, relevant, and powerful with the characters of Pip, Iris, and Fly. I've read my fair share of post-apocalyptic lit and LGBTQ+ lit, and the intersection Kerr created with Pip was magnificent. Having an intersex character who had to decide whether she wanted to pass as someone else for the safety of her found family and all the dysphoria and tra ...more
Dec 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Great ideas and important topics but everything was too fast. It didn’t feel believable that everyone was so close after so little time and it easily could have. I had a lot of issues that stacked up to me not really enjoying this book but I’m hopeful for the future of the author with more writing experience.
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting blend of contemporary and post-apocalyptic story with a blend of LGBT! It was the perfect combination that I was looking for! The characters had great dynamics between them and the family they created. Take a stand and find out who you are and fight the things you care about. It had a real feel of the goonies and I loved every bit of it.
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Despite the pandemic setting being a little too close to home, this book had a lot to say about gender, intersexuality, and important questions we should be thinking about today. Good take and very interesting characters.
Diane Hamilton
Dec 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: a-2020-have-read
I have mixed feelings about this book. I guess you have to expect violence in a post-apocalyptic book. And the tugging at your hearts strings emotion is probably expected in a teen book. So judging it as a teen book, it was pretty good. Generally it lacked depth and actual self realization. It was pretty immature.
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I read this book in 2020 and it's setting in a time shortly after a pandemic wipes out most of the population seemed incredibly apt. Pip is doing her best to stay alive in a Spokane that has become a ghost town except for isolated survivors. Roving gangs move through the city, looking for anything that has not already been looted and killing or abducting other survivors. Pip happens upon Iris on a scouting trip gone awry and ends up taking her under her wing. The book moves fairly fast. I found ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Unrelentingly fierce. Kerr’s novel is a gut punch in all the best ways. I ached for Pip, a girl desperate to live as herself in a ravaged, unforgiving city. Her quest for safety and belonging may be set in a post-apocalyptic world, but it’s 100% relatable. Forced to choose between identity and survival, love and friendship, Pip—like all of us—must decide when to fight for herself and when to stand up for someone else. Devastating and hopeful, Pip’s urgency pulses off the page.
Nov 01, 2020 added it
Shelves: librarything
Thrilling, brilliant, inspiring.

A strong, independent protagonist navigates a world ravaged by a pandemic gone wrong. Pip is not a character who needs to be saved, rather, she sets out to protect all those around her. The Names We Take holds heartwarming representation and hard-fought survival. Wonderful writing and dynamic characters.
rated it it was amazing
Jan 10, 2021
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I'm a bisexual misfit mom of two who writes action packed magical stories that celebrate queer teens (and I'm ALL ABOUT happy endings).
If you love The Raven Cycle, The Fifth Season, Six of Crows, Trail of Lightning or anything by Terry Pratchett--you might like the kind of stories I create.
When I'm not adding to my massive TBR pile, I can sometimes be heard on Spokane Public Radio as the producer

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