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The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord - Review

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Alright, so I've just been on holiday and when I go on holiday, especially if I'm flying, I like to not take any paper books and to only take my tablet, which I use to read on via the Kindle app. It means taking less stuff, and it also means I get to scroll through books and take my time in choosing them without the paper ones demanding my attention first. I like to read summery things while on holiday, so The Names They Gave Us was perfect. I had already decided to read it because I knew I wanted to review it, so I actually started reading it the night before we left and really got stuck into it on the plane. Perfect summer reading - I recommend it for your holiday too!

Where did I get it? Netgalley, so thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing! I appreciate being able to read this title. 

What's it about? Lucy is in her junior year of high school and is at prom with her boyfriend Lukas when she discovers that her mother's cancer has returned. Having survived it three years before, Lucy is thrown and immediately worried that she will lose her mum. 

Her dad is a pastor and over the summer Lucy and her parents run a Christian camp an hour away from their home, welcoming different church groups every week. Lucy loves it, but her mum encourages her to take a job at a camp just across the lake. Daybreak is a camp for children who have been through difficult times, and Lucy is at first very unsure and quite judgemental, due to her religious background. She arrives and has to quickly get to grips with the different people - her co-counsellors, the kids, and Henry, a boy that she has a crush on. As the weeks go by Lucy discovers many, many things about herself and about her family. She has to confront her prejudices and learns a lot about life. 

The novel is really simple but really deep, if that makes sense. Easy to read, but heartbreaking in a hundred ways. I thought the ending was perfect, too. 

What age range is it for? 15+

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yeah, no spoilers though 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yep, Henry is and his friend, plus some of the kids. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, but again no spoilers. Take care of yourself while reading this though. The characters gave all been through really tough stuff and it's talked about unflinchingly. 

Is there any sex stuff? Not really

Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes, somewhat

Is there any talk of death? Yes, of course. Again, take care of yourself 

Are there swear words? Only a few - Lucy isn't the swearing type!

What criticisms do I have? I felt like a couple of the storylines petered out as the novel reached its conclusion, and in some parts I felt like the narrative was too simplistic. However, this may be because I'm an adult and this is meant for teens, so if I look at it in that way I think it's perfect for the age range.

Would I recommend the book? Yes absolutely. I really liked Lord's other book, When We Collided, but I thought this was a lot better but had the same sweetness about it, especially in terms of romance. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? Because I wanted to review it, for one, and also because I was on holiday and thought the summer setting would be perfect. It was!

What other books is it like? It's a lot like When We Collided, as I say. As an older YA reader it was a lot like Judy Blume and other classics like that. 

How many stars? Eight out of ten. An excellent read. 

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