The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow, I could not put this book down, I loved (and hated) all that happens with Lucy. Lucy is strong, a leader, and daughter of a pastor. Her mom is a school nurse and her cancer re-occurs. Lucy is devastated, she is angry at God, her faith is blindsided, and so she struggles big time. Add to this- her boy friend, Lukas wants them to PAUSE for the summer (jerk), her mother wants her to work at the next door camp (rather than the one her parents own and run) for high risk kids and Lucy does not want to be away from her mother now but she also wants to grant her mom's every wish. So she does it, and from the first day at camp with her 3rd graders and the other camp counselors, she is challenged, questions herself constantly, worries about her mom BUT she also begins to change her mind about the campers and the counselors and very soon, she is finding herself completed by these kids & teens. I loved the way Emery Lord dealt with the faith issue- it was so real and believable from Lucy, her mom and dad's POV. She lived her faith, loved her faith, practiced her faith but she also questioned, railed, and anguished about/over her faith. The other counselors have all attended this camp as kids and now as counselors and they all have "a checked bag" (their issue) - they too are real and thoroughly supportive. Anna quickly becomes Lucy's best friend and confidante, Henry wears his heart on his sleeve - settles Lucy with his trumpet and his conversation and caring. Keely and Tambe round out this group and they all SAVE Lucy with their honesty, inclusion, and friendship (weekly discussion of "highs" and "lows") but through it all the reader sees such much inward and outward change in Lucy and an acceptance of what life is going to throw at Lucy and her family as long as there is love. I thought Emery Lord could not top When We Collided, but this book is such a gem with diverse characters, kids dealing with tough lives due to illness, death, sickness and learning coping skills at this camp from the counselors. Highly recommended!
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