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.
Talley's first novel takes a close, honest look at school integration and sexual identity in a small fictional Virginia town in 1959. The story unfolds through the alternating narratives of two high school seniors: Linda Hairston, the white daughter of a journalist who writes editorials opposing integration, and Sarah Dunbar, one of 10 new black students at their recently integrated high school, where racial tensions are running high. When Linda and Sarah are forced to work together on a class project, they are immediately drawn toward one another and mutually terrified of their attraction. Linda, as a result of her abusive father's influence, views integration as an irritating disruption, while Sarah eloquently debates Linda's negative perceptions. Chapters begin with lies that Sarah and Linda disprove, such as "I'm not brave enough for this" and "None of this has anything to do with me." Talley details the girls' growth as they learn to form their own moral codes, while steeping readers in a pivotal moment of history. Ages 14 up.
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Wow. This was...wow.
A deeply impressive story that tackles the difficulties of both racism and homophobia and shies away from neither. Well written, interesting, and all around excellent.
One of the best books I've read in my life