on May 16th 2017
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Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.
Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counselor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.
It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.
Lucy struggles with keeping her faith throughout the novel when she learns that her mother has cancer again. Her faith in God challenges her and change her as a person as she starts questioning her beliefs about God and basically like even if I prayed would He listen and magically cure my mother? But, I liked that the religion part wasn’t too much of the focus because I’m not the most religious person. When her parents decides that she should go to a different summer camp with kids who faces demons of their own (that’s basically across the river despite her protests) rather than help out with the Bible camp that she normally go to every summer, Lucy at first objects to the idea because she wants to be there for her mother. However, I liked that while Lucy wants to spend time with her parents her parents forces her to live her life, not just constantly worrying about her mother’s health problems. I also loved that even though Lucy has seem to lost faith in God her parents never lose theirs.
So we get to the good part of the review: the romance and friendship. Both were absolutely adorable and fun. The campers take in Lucy with no questions asked and they don’t judge her. They’re loyal and fiercely protective of each other. Even when Lucy first arrives they didn’t just take Lucy in right away. She had to earn their trust. It’s also cute that they called each other by their last name so when we do learn their first names it was hard to remember who was who. I couldn’t stop grinning whenever the counselors got together. Basically these are the kinds of people I would’ve want to hang out with back in high school. They made the book fun even though they all have secrets. I wanted to learn more about their past because they grew up with each other at camp. As the book progressed we learned more about their secrets and some of it is heartbreaking, but it made me care about them and cheer them on even more. Even though you know it’s a summer camp where the children are there to have fun and forget reality for a moment, sometimes reality just hits them hard when they don’t notice it.
Because of this I liked how the author tackled the situations head on instead of avoiding them or being vague. In a lot of books we are only mentioned about the characters’ problems, but I think the author did a wonderful job in making these characters feel real. So before I forget the romance was swoon-worthy in my book. I really enjoyed Lucy’s inner monologues and can relate to them well as she struggles to become not awkward with Henry. There’s an easy friendship between them and Henry is just swoon-worthy.
While I was kind of cautious about picking up The Names They Gave Us because religion isn’t my thing and I wasn’t a big fan of When we Collided, however, The Names They Gave Us took me by surprised as I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. Despite the slightly confusing ending I didn’t want the book to end. It’s definitely the perfect summer time read because not only does it set during the summer time, but there’s also camping, s’mores, and adorable friendship bonding moments involved that makes you want to sit in a circle and sing Kumbaya. Or at least make s’mores.