The Book of Lost Names – Kristin Harmel + You Have A Match – Emma Lord | A Double Book Review

Hello again, dear readers. I hope that this post finds you somewhere sunny and springy. The weather here has been decidedly un-springlike the past couple days, but it seems that we are returning to spring today. I must say that I am thrilled that the sun has returned in full force, and that we will be able to spend time outside – as anyone with a large family and a relatively small house can understand, being able to run around outside (or rather being able to let your younger siblings do so) is so helpful.

I have had a pretty good week, I read one lovely book (my first unexpected five star read in a very long time) and am currently in the middle of one that has me intrigued. I also just discovered the beauty of the Billie Holiday vs. The United States soundtrack. Andra Day is incredible!

And now, finally, to the reviews: I quite enjoyed both of these books – although one disappointed me slightly – and I am excited to share my thoughts on them!

Title: The Book of Lost Names

Author: Kristin Harmel

Publication Year: 2020

Genre(s): Historical Fiction

Personal Rating: ★★★★

CW/TW: Sexual content, Murder/ Death, Violence | [PG-13]

My Thoughts

There are some books that after spending an hour of your school day reading them, you are left with a strong feeling of regret and emptiness, and then, there are other books that every moment of delaying school is well-spent, and upon finishing you can simply smile and get back to work. The Book of Lost Names definitely falls into the latter category.

To begin, The Book of Lost Names is centered around the French Resistance movement of WWII, specifically the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to give innocent children a chance at life in other countries. Eva, the lovely main character, is a forger – and lover of words – who helps many find their way to freedom by giving them new names and identities. Despite the fact that she feels that what she is doing is right and necessary, Eva struggles with the thought that their true names will be forgotten, and fights for a way to remember, hence the subject of the book’s title, The Book of Lost Names.

Harmel’s writing is deceptively simple and beautifully clear; her writing is simultaneously easy to read and emotionally difficult and powerful.

For many reasons I fell in love with this story. I loved the characters, particularly Eva and Remy, their story was both beautiful and sad. Harmel’s depiction of Eva as an older and then younger woman were moving, and I found her story to be fascinating. And of course, the ending, it was somehow……unexpected and perfect.

Overall, I truly enjoyed The Book of Lost Names and found it to be fascinating and engaging. It is one book that absolutely deserves the hype.

“My room is lined with books, most of them stacked in precarious piles on the bowing bookshelves Louis assembled years ago. They are filled with other people’s stories, and I’ve spent my life disappearing into them. Sometimes, when the nights are dark and silent and I’m alone, I wonder if I would have survived without the escape their pages offered me from reality. Then again, perhaps they just gave me an excuse to duck out of my own life.” – Kristin Harmel

Title: You Have a Match

Author: Emma Lord

Publication Year: 2021

Genre(s): YA, Contemporary

Personal Rating: ★★★ (★)

CW/TW: Sapphric Rep (f/f relationships)

My Thoughts

Let’s just say (1) I had very high expectations for this book and (2) it didn’t live up to them. That said, I did enjoy You Have A Match, it simply was not….amazing.

One of the things that I was highly anticipating was the summer camp setting, as someone who has spent a couple of the best solid weeks of her life at camp, I can hardly ever resist a camp setting. Camp Reynolds was a beautiful setting, the nature descriptions were incredible, but it lacked a real camp feeling. This was largely due to the fact that camp is simply not the focus of the book, but I was slightly disappointed by how little camp figured into the story. It simply felt like a background to the story rather a living, breathing place.

The characters were wonderful. I truly enjoyed Abby, Leo, Savvy, Mickey, Connie and especially Finn! Lord certainly knows how to write an entire cast of characters who I would love to be friends with.

Abby was completely different than Pepper, in many ways her opposite. Abby is both brave and anxious, adventurous and slightly reckless. I love the way that her passion for photography is depicted, and it made me wish that I had somewhere new to photograph. I appreciated the fact that Abby always owned up to her mistakes, learned from them and then moved on.

One element of You Have a Match that disappointed me was the lack of a second POV. I would have loved to hear from Leo (or Savvy)’s POV. Leo was lovely, a strong and intriguing character, and the way that he loves food and cooking was portrayed perfectly: in a way that made me very hungry.

In conclusion, I enjoyed You Have a Match, it was enjoyable, entertaining, dramatic and suspenseful. I just felt that it lacked some of Tweet Cute‘s spark, and that truly is my only ultimate complaint.

“I breathe in the sticky warmth of the air, the pine and the electricity and the ache of something deeper than I can name, knowing that no view I can capture will ever compare to this feeling—seeing it through my eyes while seeing it through his, letting us both bleed into a world where those two things can be the same.” – Emma Lord

Have you read either of these books? Any thoughts?

6 thoughts on “The Book of Lost Names – Kristin Harmel + You Have A Match – Emma Lord | A Double Book Review”

  1. I’m really glad you liked The Book of Lost Names! I really liked it too especially because we have a main character who adores books haha. You’re definitely right about the ending! It caught me off guard!


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