Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emory Lord

Lucy has a great life. A loving family, a strong support system at both school and church, a devoted boyfriend…she has her future mapped out. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, her entire world is rocked. She begins to question everything she once believed in. Her faith is no longer enough. Her boyfriend isn’t who or what she thought she wanted. So when her mom decides to send her to a new summer camp, it just adds to her growing list of unknowns. Who would have thought she’d find the answers to all her questions in a group of friends as different from her as possible? This is a sweet, heartbreaking story. I loved Lucy, and I especially loved the strength shown by her mom. A great reminder that everything isn’t always what it seems!

~Thalia

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Review: Camp Dork by Beth Vrabel


Ever been to summer camp? How about summer camp caveman-style, while the campers next door get tech time, fancy snacks, and air conditioning? 

In this sequel to Pack of Dorks, Lucy’s time at camp nudges her on a journey of self-discovery. Lucy explores her feelings about her new best friend who transforms physically and socially, the flush of emotions when she thinks about boys – especially Sam, and her compulsion to arrange couples in neat and tidy relationships. All this while she struggles to get a decent supper and keep everyone from hating her! 

My favorite thing about this book is the dialogue. As I read, I could really hear the kids interacting… their different voices, noisy sound effects, and gurgles of bodily functions… just like kids I know. 

Lucy and her friends are real – kind of like a younger Breakfast Club, where stereotypes and prejudices only get you so far. Like the Brat Pack, Lucy and her Pack of Dorks find that facing the truth about yourself and others is the real prize. 

While my reading tastes skew older (like the 40-something mom I am), I enjoyed Lucy and her friends. Author Beth Vrabel offers insightful nuggets that can drive even grown-ups to make some changes in how they view and treat others. 
– calliope

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