Thursday, 18 May 2017

Blog Tour: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord - Review and Author Q&A

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord 

Publishing Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 400
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom's cancer reappears, Lucy falters-in her faith 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?" (Bloomsbury).

My overall thoughts and review: This was my second Emery Lord book and after reading When We Collided, I knew I wanted to read this instantly. I really enjoyed that book and I just really love Emery as an individual. She is an amazing advocate for mental health awareness and I really appreciate the authenticity in her writing. I never attended summer camp myself, so I knew going into the text, I was really excited to see how that was going to be written. I honestly felt like I lived vicariously through Lucy's experiences. I just loved seeing how honest everything was portrayed. I felt like I was there at the camp with everyone as I was reading. I must say, I really enjoyed Lucy's interactions with Thuy (a camper) specifically and how she handled her? I also really loved how despite Lucy's faith, she was incredibly open-minded and I loved how religion was handled in this context of things. The reader got to see how Lucy questions her faith at times because of the reappearance of her mother's cancer. She also learns some new secrets along the way which definitely could've shattered things but what I really appreciated most, was Lucy's character. She's just, a good individual. She loves her parents dearly and despite circumstances she attempts to be strong and is a pillar for some of the characters. She is resilient and open-minded and the whole time I was reading, I couldn't help but think, that most protagonists should be portrayed this way more often. She is flawed in some aspects, but you can really see her growth as a character. Her willingness to learn and change is amazing. I especially liked how she was with Anna and how the text handled a trans character. Overall, my only criticism is that I felt the book ended quit suddenly. I felt like the final few chapters escalated pretty quickly and I really felt like I needed a bit more closure? I know it ends in a nice bittersweet way, but still. I really wanted more. Overall, I think fans of Lord's writing will definitely enjoy this read. It packs a punch by touching on many aspects: family, friendship, anxiety, LGBTQ, grief, and more. Lord's writing continues to amaze me with the way she handles certain situations with such accuracy and honesty. I can't wait to see what Lord writes next.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)

Author Question and Answer

1. Which character do you relate to most?
In this book? Hmm. Anna and I both lead with friendliness, and we share an anxiety disorder and all that comes with that. But I probably am mostly like Lucy—trying my best and figuring it out, but always trying to grow.
Thank you so much, Emery, for taking the time to answer this question for me. I definitely see what you mean about Anna! Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour and check out what questions other bloggers have asked.

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Raincoast Books for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

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