Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
"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."- summary from Amazon
I was angry during a lot of this novel, not because I hated the book or anything, but because of how bigoted and ignorant many white people were during this time in our country's history. It made my blood boil reading how African-Americans were treated and what sorts of things they went through to make integration and equality happen. But it is inspiring to be reading from Sarah's point of view, going through the days with her and feeling her thoughts and emotions during this whole process. And Linda's perspective is great too- seeing her change over the course of the novel and making realizations about herself, her family, her peers, the black students, and others around her was handled so beautifully by Talley.
Talley's writing is engrossing and compelling, and she makes both Sarah and Linda very distinct and their attraction to each other very real. The book is told in five different parts (Parts 1 and 3 are Sarah alone, Part 2 is Linda, and Parts 4 and 5 go back and forth between the two) and takes place over the course of a few months.
Overall, an extremely stellar debut and I urge everyone to go check it out. I cannot wait to see what Talley writes next!
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.