Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lies We Tell Ourselves {by Robin Talley}

Title: Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Robin Talley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Won ARC from fellow blogger

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.

I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to feel about this one, but Lies We Tell Ourselves is a powerful book. But also one that's going to be hard to review, so bear with me.

This book tackles two huge issues: racism and sexual orientation. Now, this had the potential to go so wrong, but it didn't. Both were dealt with in a way that packed a punch, but was not offensive. Instead, it will open your eyes to what it was really like back then. We all know the history, but seeing it from the perspective of teenagers will make you look at it differently.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black kids to be let into the all-white high school. As a senior, she will be the first black student to graduate from Jefferson High School. No one needs to be told how huge this is. But every day is a battle. Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the most vocal opponents of segregation. She thinks she knows what she believes, but being forced to work with Sarah on a project has her rethinking what she thought she knew.

Although there was nothing too explicit, violence or otherwise, there was still enough to pack an emotional punch. (There was a quite a bit of language, but that was to be expected.) Both girls start out just doing what their parents want, what they believe makes them good daughters. But both girls show tremendous growth, especially Sarah. Knowing what we know about history and what is right and wrong, Linda might be harder to swallow. But seeing it from her perspective was interesting. Yes, most of what she thinks was shoved down her throat by her father, but she does eventually start thinking for herself, and that was great the see. I loved the dual perspective, as it really helped add dimension to the story.

I loved how at the end, both characters came into their own (and also Ruth, Sarah's sister) and discovered more about themselves. This book definitely had some great moments, and was a great and realistic historical fiction.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

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