Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Title: Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Robin Talley
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: September 30, 2014
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "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."

My Two Cents:

"Lies We Tell Ourselves" is a historical fiction story that takes place in 1959 Virginia. Schools are just becoming desegregated and as Virginia is in the south, desegregation does not come as easily as it should. The high school where Sarah and Linda attend is especially having difficulty integrating the school peacefully. Sarah is one of the first black students to ever go to this particular high school. Linda is white and her parents to believe that school should not be desegregated.

Going to school where everyone didn't look the same as I did is something that I have always taken for granted. I went to school in Maryland, Virginia's next-door neighbor so seeing what it was like so close to where I grew up just a few decades ago really hit home for me. The news today still has strong undertones of various groups feeling like they are superior to others and wanting to be separate. This book shows us how far we've come but how far we still have to go is striking.

I think it is so important for everyone, particularly young people, to remember that things now are not the way that they were in the past. When you see schools today they're much different than they were back in the late 1950s. It's important for people to remember that there used to be segregation and that it took a long time for schools to come to where they are today.

There is a lot of tough subject matter in this book and the author handles it well without beating the reader over the head so much that the book becomes uninteresting. I think it's so important for young adult fiction to tackle some of these difficult subjects like racism as well as LGBT rights. I thought that the author did a great job of leading the reader throughout this book in a way that makes them both interested in and understanding of the struggles of these characters without hitting people over the head with the lessons found within this book. This was a good story even for those like me who are a little older than the group that this YA book is geared for.



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