ARC REVIEW: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Monday, August 25, 2014
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Published by: Harlequin Teen on September 30th, 2014
Series: No
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: For Review
Rating: 4/5

FROM GOODREADS: 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 "seperate but equal". 

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truth's 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.


Dear Lies We Tell Ourselves,

How do I even begin to talk about you? You broke my heart to begin with. Shattered it. I struggled reading the first few "parts" of you, specifically because kids are so cruel. No, not just kids. People are cruel. They are monsters. Especially to the poor integrators. My heart ached so much for Sarah and her sister and friends. The thought of being treated that way because of the color of my skin just flabbergasts me. I've never understood racism. It sickens me. What sickens me even more is the fact that stuff like this actually happened in the not so distant past, Lies We Tell Ourselves.

You are not a light read at all. I picked you up for a buddy read with my dear friend, Pili, and even she struggled with you. Not because you aren't good, because that isn't it at all. You were fantastic. Your author is fantastic. You are simply a wonderful debut. I think, you are just a little bit difficult to swallow, if that makes sense. Some parts of you were horrific. I have never read a historical fiction book quite like you before. Not only do you cover the bad parts of integration, but also some good parts that take awhile to see. I urge readers to pick you up, because you teach a lesson. A valuable lesson that reminds us to never treat others as if they are beneath us because of their race or sexuality.

Ah, yes. You were my very first venture into LGBT territory. I've never read a book about a girl with feelings for another girl, but it was refreshing! It's a breath of fresh air to read a diversified book like yourself. 

I didn't realized until I started reading you that you were told from two POVs, Sarah and Linda's. *smacks head* However, I loved reading from Sarah. Sarah is as hard-headed and outspoken as I am, even if she bites her tongue most of the time or tries to. I tend to do the same, which is maybe why I enjoyed her so much. She had spunk, and I love spunk. As soon as I saw I was going to be reading from Linda's POV, I was less than thrilled. At your beginning, she's not very favorable, and I dreaded hearing the racist thoughts in her head, but after awhile, she grew on me. There's a lot more to Linda than I expected, and I enjoyed watching her growth throughout each chapter, or 'lie'. You aren't told in chapters. Your chapters are cleverly called, "Lies", which is awesome!!

Again, even though you were tough to get through at points (because how in the world did people live with themselves when they treated others they way they did?! and I also cringed at every single explicative name every single time), you are a book that shouldn't be missed, Lies We Tell Ourselves. Great debut. Flawlessly executed. Fabulous job, Robin. I'm curious to see more from your author soon, Lies We Tell Ourselves, and I leave you with FOUR hearts. 

Not lying to myself at all about how much I liked you,


Are you looking forward to Lies We Tell Ourselves?
Have your read it already?
What did you think?
Let's discuss!

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  1. This was such a tough read indeed! And whenever I say that I feel like I'm doing a disservice to the book, it's not like it's not an engaging and very well written book, it's that the content of the book is very tough! I felt so sickened some times! *hugs* So glad you were my buddy read for this one!

  2. Thanks for sharing your review, I like this style!

  3. Great review. This one is on my list to read but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I gotta say, I'm kind of looking forward to the grittiness and the opportunity to experience the book from the two perspectives. Thanks for the review!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

  4. This book sounds like a really great read! And I love the chapters idea, and we should take a moment to admire this cover, pure brilliance.


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