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Booktalking: "The Names They Gave Us" by Emery Lord

The Names They Gave Us book cover

Lucy Hansson thinks she's going to have a great summer with her best friend and her boyfriend, Lukas. Then, her plans begins to fall apart. It doesn't look like either of her buddies will with her during the summer, and her plans do not nearly coincide with her mother's.

Bad news #1: Her mother's cancer is no longer in remission. It's back with a vengeance, and almost more than Lucy can take. 

Bad news #2: Lucy's mother wants her to be a counselor at Camp Daybreak, not Camp Holyoke, the bible camp that Lucy is used to attending.  Camp Daybreak is a place for kids with holes in their hearts, stories to tell, and minds to untangle.

Bad news #3:  Lucy's boyfriend has "paused" her, saying he needs time away from her to reassess their relationship—which effectively means an unceremonious dumping has taken place.

Enter Anna, Keely, Jones, and all the other counselors and kids from Camp Daybreak. Swimming, beads, life skills, heart-to-heart talks and, of course, s'mores, become the stuff of Lucy's daily existence during the summer. It takes her mind off the fact that her mom's hair is falling out—it is hard to see her mother sick, and the camp kids' problems also take a toll on her. A crush on Jones lightens her mood and, despite herself, Lucy starts to feel that she belongs at Camp Daybreak.

Lucy begins to talk about her mother's illness and feel more lighthearted. She gets caught up in the drama of the counselors' night out, and having little kids glued to her side definitely gives her life a different perspective. She loves her faith and the way the counselors of Camp Daybreak care for one another.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord, 2017

I love the diversity, cultural and otherwise, of the counselors and the supportive nature of the kids' summer camp.


Books about cancer

Emery Lord's website



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