- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Harlequin Teen; Original edition (Jan. 26 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0373212046
- ISBN-13: 978-0373212040
- Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.4 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 358 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #108,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Lies We Tell Ourselves: A New York Times bestseller Paperback – Jan 26 2016
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"[A] well-paced, engrossing story.... [A] beautifully written and compelling read." -School Library Journal
"A well-handled debut." -Booklist
"A piercing look at the courage it takes to endure...forms of extreme hatred, violence, racism and sexism." -Kirkus Reviews
"The big issues of school desegregation in the 1950s, interracial dating, and same-sex couples have the potential to be too much for one novel, but the author handles all with aplomb. What makes it even better is that both Linda's and Sarah's points of view are revealed as the novel unfolds, giving meaning to their indoctrinated views.... This is a meaningful tale about integration." -VOYA
"I found myself at turns grateful and horrified as I read Talley's fictionalized account of integration.... Lies We Tell Ourselves might be fiction, but the story is true-and it's one we should never forget." -NPR
"A stirring portrayal of the fight for integration in the late 1950s.... Both [integration and gay rights] are touchy subjects, yet Ms. Talley navigates them with grace. She concentrates on her characters, developing their personalities, their conflicting interests, and showing how their experiences affect them.... This is not an easy book to read, but there's a lot of hope at the core of the story.... Definitely a must-read book... I'm sure this book will go down in the young adult canon as a classic." -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
About the Author
Robin Talley studied literature and communications at American University. She lives in Washington, DC, with her wife, but visits both Boston and New York regularly despite her moral opposition to Massachusetts winters and Times Square. Her first book was 2014's Lies We Tell Ourselves. Visit her online at robintalley.com or on Twitter at @robin_talley.See all Product description
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The thing that struck me first and hardest about the book was the alternative viewpoint it offered me. This story is mostly told through the eyes of a black girl, and though it's peppered with passages from Linda's very opposite point of view, they only serve to support Sarah's narrative. Secondly, the dynamic with tension was something I'd never seen before. We have a school environment, and a story of ten kids simply trying to go through an average school day, and yet it's riddled with life-and-death danger. Everywhere Sarah and her fellow black students go, they're insulted, tormented, have things thrown at them, humiliated, and downright abused at every opportunity. Normally we'd see this kind of high-stakes tension in a school environment only in something like urban fantasy, where you can support that life-or-death element with supernatural dangers. But there's nothing supernatural about the danger facing these kids. It's completely realistic and true, which helps to highlight a whole side of reality that many (including myself) can hardly imagine.
The characters themselves were beautifully crafted. They were all very real people, strong and independent but still struggling with their own insecurities and weaknesses. I especially liked the subtle approach to Sarah's character, as she in incredibly strong and courageous, but you can see the cracks that let her insecurities bleed through. Linda was a difficult character to read at times because of her blatant racism and prejudice. I was able to grit my teeth and push through her point of view passages mostly because I knew she was going to undergo a change. The change in her character was very realistic as well, occurring gradually and not without struggle, which made her transformation much more believable.
This story is a romance, and with such a bigoted character as one side of that romance, I understand why some readers might take issue with Linda. The trope of the abuser and the abused falling in love is not only all-to common, but harmful to survivors of abuse. There's no arguing that Linda is an abuser, but I also believe this book properly shows humanity's capacity for change. We are all human, we all have things in our past we regret and have learned from, and it's harmful to everyone to assume we are unable to change. The key component that makes this relationship stay healthy, is not only that Linda strives to change and shows remorse for her past, but Sarah doesn't accept any of the abuse. She calls it out and at times even rises above Linda's trolling behaviour.
This book may be difficult for some to read because of the intensity of abuse the kids undergo, but it is necessary to acknowledge it as part of our past. This book wonderfully captures the courage of kids who sacrificed their sense of safety for the promise of a more equal society. Underneath that, though, is the gentle and beautiful love story of two girls in a Romeo-and-Juliet style circumstance. This is one of those instant classic books that belongs on every reader's shelf.
All in all, 5/5 stars. A beautifully balanced period piece and romance story that makes my heart happy.
Sarah is one of my favourite characters I have read lately. She has the strongest will and determination. I kept applauding her every chance I could get. Not only is she one of the first black students, she's also gay. In the 1950s, liking someone of the same gender would probably give way to a jail sentence. I applaud this character for being brave and strong. As for Linda, I easily judged her to be super ignorant. Then you start to get deeper into the book, and you know she has some issues, especially with her family. Perfection is never easy when it comes to the white popular student.
This is truly one of the most emotionally charged and challenging books I have read. Lies We Tell Ourselves is a must-read for anyone.
The cover of this book has always caught my attention and I've always felt that I need to read this book, but it's been hidden away in my TBR shelf on Goodreads until I spotted this beautiful masterful copy at my school library. Now, that's a perfect place to store this book. Anyone from a school is now able to pick this book up, whether they enjoy reading or not, or if they read constantly or not. Dealing with some feminism, civil rights and human rights and some aspects of LGBT literature, this is a book not be set away or tucked behind the shelves. I must say that it's one of the most diverse reads that have been released in the last little while.
Surprisingly, this is a historical novel. It actually takes place back in the times of the late-1950s, where the battle between different races was common, and every person took a different side. This is a novel that many historical inspirational figures would love to read, since it seems so real and I can just picture and image it happening like it's a story that history teachers will remind their students of year after year. Really, this is just fiction, but I'll tell you that it's more real than anything else I've read for a while. Does the fiction part of this change my opinion any other way? Absolutely not, it seemed like an autobiography or a memoir, for crying out loud! *smacks head of cheesiness*
"Rule One: Ignore anything the white people say to you and keep walking. Rule Two: Always sit at the front of the classroom, near the door, so you can make a quick getaway if you need to. And Rule Three: Stay together whenever you possibly can."
For the whole book, the author divided the points-of-view into two: Sarah's and Linda's. In the beginning, you're unable to tell that these two very different ladies will have to end up being with each other, and even surprisingly, romantically. I won't tell you anything, but I'm just letting you know that things are quite possible in the wonderful literature of today. Authors simply always go beyond the boundaries in magnificent ways and leave readers startled. That's exactly how I felt through most of this, to be honest. Sarah Dunbar is our main-main protagonist, whose story is really the main structure of this whole novel. She's black, and is one of the first students of her race to attend a high school in Virginia that promises a better education for her and her family. The thing is, this high school is all-white. And now, people are beginning to torment her which brings her into seeking for a friend, and this friend is Linda. Since they are practically forced to work together for a project, a bond forms which changes everything between them and others.
The emotions that were found throughout the book crushed me. I just can't go on and tell you how sad everything was and how Talley made me feel. No other book's events left me thinking about historical events so deeply like this one, and the author actually dug quite deep into the true subject matter of racial contexts and unfairness found throughout a lot of America, where their uncivil times were all placed in the same time as this book was taken place. I was left outraged at some moments, close to tears, and in an overall subject, I was left not myself, instead I was one of Robin Talley's characters, witnessing the horrible events and structures that was found all throughout the story and still long and dodge in our hearts.
If we get to the real point of this book, I feel that people might feel that the world is a crazy place. And that's what the wonderful set of characters we had here taught us... or at least, me. I felt that the actual point of the novel was very clear but we have to go deeper into it to actually feel the emotions and get yourself sparked up with gorgeousness and feels and everything that this novel has to share since it has so much subject matter that one can absolutely blow up of thoughts.
"I have to start being more careful around Sarah. I need to make sure she knows I haven't changed my mind about integration or any of the rest of it. I never will. She's wrong about everything. I can't let her gorget that. I can't let myself forget, either."
Going into the plot, that was my only complaint and problem that I have to admit. Yes, the meaning and everything was there.... but the story itself was really slow. I totally understand that it needs the development since things cannot just brighten up and become better and happier with the snap of your fingers. But I wish that there was more fast-paced moments since contemporaries suck when they take forever to get to the point. For the first half of the book where the most action happened, everything was okay, but once we surpassed the middle moments, I got a little bored and questioned the existence of this novel. I'm just kidding, you know.
Sarah and Linda as characters as a whole were wonderful. AGH. I shipped them from the beginning although a love-hate relationship was certainly present between them. They both were similar in so many ways, and Talley made sure to show that they were both actually running away from some source and force in their lives, and being together was the thing that saved them both from going insane and becoming even worse people. I felt so much guilt for both as many people tried to ruin and damage their relationship, but since they were both so close, they tried to accomplish and do whatever it takes to make things better and save themselves from losing each other.
Sarah had to be my favourite character from the two points-of-view. She was strong and a fighter, although there were many people who tried to bring her down because of who she was. At times, yeah, she felt that she couldn't handle anything any longer, but she did this for her sister and for her parents, to accomplish something and make them proud. If this was a true event in history and not just based on true events, this would be in the history books, my friends. She proved the real stuff and side of feminism as well as human rights, all because of this one school project that changed her life forever. And I'll say, it certainly changed YA literature forever as well.
In the end, I can tell you that this was a great read. It was light and heavy at the same time, especially when looking at the subjects and plot of the book. Everyone will have to be in a certain particular mood while reading this because it can go one way or the other for all of you. I think that people will either love or hate this, and nothing much in between because it all depends on what you support and your usual liking. For me, this was absolutely more great than bad, and I recommend it for everyone looking for a diverse read for a night. Friday night read, everyone?
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