Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves

 Title: Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Robin Talley
Genre: Young Adult // LGBT // Romance // Race // Social Issues
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: September 30, 2015
Format: Physical
Source: Borrowed (Library)

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.
Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.
Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town's most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept "separate but equal."
Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.
Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it (goodreads).

Lies We Tell Ourselves was painful to read, but it is a book that needs to be read. 

 Plot: In American History class, we've all gone through the pains of segregation and how difficult and dangerous integration was. There is something so much more powerful about reading from the perspectives of individuals who are actually living it, fictional or not. Robin Talley does not sugar coat the hardships that African Americans suffered (like some high school history know...the ones that tell you that slavery wasn't that bad), and I actually broke down and cried in some scenes.

Characters: Sarah and Linda are our two main characters and the chapters alternate between their two POVs. It's interesting because these two girls come from different worlds and it is no where  near love or even like at first sight. They both have a lot of growing to do, but Linda's transformation is the most remarkable. She's apart of the group of kids that throw pennies at the African Americans as they walk down the halls and slings every slur in the book. I'll admit that Linda was a hard girl to like, but I thought she was a good complement to Sarah and their ending was all sorts of precious!

World Building: One thing that's for sure is that Robin Talley did her homework when it came to researching. I felt like I was living in white dominant Virginia where the shop owners glare and the African Americans have to keep their heads down if they want to get by in life. Everything was described so vividly that it allowed me to take the time to look around my surroundings and think critically about how far we've come as a society in regards to race and sexuality, and how much further we need to go. Any book that makes you sit and think is a winner in my opinion.

Short N Sweet: Lies We Tell Ourselves is equal parts beauty and pain. This is a book I think should be in every high school classroom.


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