Friday, 17 October 2014

Review for Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Release: 3rd October 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, LGBT
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"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 segregationist.

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 thing to stand up to an unjust world – but another to be terrified of what’s in your own heart."

It’s 1959 and the world is changing for two teenage girls who are thrown into each other’s paths as Jefferson High introduces black students to its halls for the very first time. Lies We Tell Ourselves is told between Sarah and Linda two girls who at the start of the book appear to be very different but little do they know are actually the flip side to the same coin in the battle for civil rights.

Sarah is one of the first black girls to be integrated and right from the first chapter I was equally horrified and heartbroken for her and the abuse she had to go through. Linda is a popular white girl who’s been told all her life that black people are beneath her and so when she gets to know Sarah during a school project she’s confused and torn by what she herself is learning to be true and wanting to uphold her family’s reputation and please her father whose career is built on segregation. Both girls are equally interesting to read about as they go on a tremendous journey to figure out for themselves what’s wrong and what’s right.

Lies We Tell Ourselves is set at a point in history where people’s minds were slowly changing towards equality and so I found it really interesting that author Robin Talley decided to take a look at gay rights as well for comparison. I thought this was well explored through Linda’s best friend Judy who’s one of the only white students to accept Sarah yet sees homosexuality as sinful and wrong. It was interesting to read about how minds move and at what pace especially when it comes to equality.

There’s a lot of important messages and themes throughout Lies We Tell Ourselves but my personal favourite is one that I believe stands the test of time and is at the root of all good change and that is to do what you feel in your heart to be right rather than what you’ve been told is right. Seeing Sarah and Linda find their own way and the strength it takes to do that is an incredibly empowering thought to take away from this book.

Every now and then a Young Adult book comes along that I want to push into every readers hands both young and old and Lies We Tell Ourselves is that book for 2014.

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