Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley.

It has been so long since I’ve written a book review but this little book has snapped me out of it. I need to write a review about this. Let’s get down to it.


It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah’s first day of school as one of the first black students at previously all-white Jefferson High.

No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationalist.

Sarah and Linda are supposed to despise each other. But the more time they spend together, the less their differences matter. And both girls start to feel something they’ve never felt before. Something they’re determined to ignore. 

Because it’s one this to stand up to an unjust world – but another to be terrified of what’s in your own heart.

Book Facts

This book was realised in September 2014 by Harlequin Teen. It’s 368 pages long, I read it in two sittings and about 4 hours. This book has a current rating of 4.10 stars.


I in two minds about this book. I think this spans from how uncomfortable I feel that this isn’t an own voices book. I don’t personally have a problem with people of different skin colours writing about people with different skin colours and although this book felt incredibly well researched it made me feel awkward that a white person writing the feelings of a situation she has never and will never encounter.

The upside of this book is that I do think it had the best intentions. I was so saddened with the things these characters went through and the correlations between the monstrous things that happened to black people in the 50s and our current political climate. This book reinforced the notion for me that you can’t just let things happen, you have to stand up. You can’t just say that’s terrible, you have to do something about it. This book didn’t hide any horrors, which is so important; we should feel that uncomfortable with every page turn because this was our history and is our current climate in a lot of ways.

I liked that this book also represented the LBGT. I think it is  so important to understand that people aren’t just one thing, that people are many layers. Still I have another complaint, why would you fall in love with a racist? It made me so angry that things seemed to be brushed aside because Linda saw something in Sarah despite her skin colour. No one should fall in love with someone who likes them despite something. Someone who is fighting against who you are. 

So this book is flawed but still a story that will resonate with me for some time. 3 Stars.


4 thoughts on “Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley.

  1. dreamingofcats says:

    “It made me so angry that things seemed to be brushed aside because Linda saw something in Sarah despite her skin colour.”

    Yep, that’s the thing that put me off – I already was hesitant because the synopsis sounded upsetting (I need to work on being less sensitive, there are some types of books I just can’t read because of rampant racism or sexual abuse, etc), but then the love interest basically doesn’t become less racist, she just sees something in Sarah that makes her worth liking because she’s special, ‘not like those other blacks’. Um, no, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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