Lies We Tell Ourselves – Robin Talley

Fun fact: this was one of the book club picks for the Spinster Book Club that I am a member of! It’s run by Lydia at Something LikeLydia and the goodreads link is here if it sounds like something that interests you! 🙂

Title: Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Robin Talley
Published: 2014



It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah Dunbar’s first day of school, as one of the first black students at the previously all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda Hairston, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. Sarah and Linda have every reason to despise each other. But as a school project forces them to spend time together, the less their differences seem to matter. And Sarah and Linda start to feel something they’ve never felt before. Something they’re both determined ignore. Because it’s one thing to be frightened by the world around you – and another thing altogether when you’re terrified of what you feel inside.


I wish I could write books like this. This is an incredible debut from Robin Talley. From the first page, I was hooked. All I wanted to do was continue reading about these characters. This is what a really great coming-of-age novel looks like. Talley weaves a handful of themes such as racism, sexuality, religion, family,relationships and position of power into a 350 page book. I really liked that the book is told in alternating points of view between Sarah and Linda, because you can see how both characters react to particular situations. I found they often paralleled each other which made their relationship development a whole lot more effective. I also really enjoyed their character development. Sarah and Linda are both flawed and curious characters as they try to understand the world they’re living in. And why things are the way they are.

I will say though, from the blurb, it seems like the love story is the main focus but, for me at least, I didn’t think so. Not to say it’s not an important part of the book but I get that in a lot of YA novels the stereotype seems to be that romance is the main focus of most YA novels and in this case it isn’t. It’s a really well written book. It packs such an emotional punch. I wish I could say more but I’m worried of spoiling. This book deserves the hype it has, I highly recommend this book.

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