Review: ‘Lies We Tell Ourselves’ by Robin Talley

Review: ‘Lies We Tell Ourselves’ by Robin TalleyLies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Published by Harlequin Teen on September 30th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Historical, LGBT, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: borrowed from the library
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.

Chapters/IndigoThe Book DepositoryAmazon CanadaGood Reads



This book you guys.. I find that it’s probably one of the most important reads I’ve read in all my time since I’ve been blogging. Dealing with such a heavy topic like racism can be hard to take. But this one really made me feel like I was right there alongside these characters and seeing everything and experiencing everything they were feeling. There was so much hate. So much anger. You can feel it leap off the pages. I found the two different viewpoints to be extremely informative. Both are excellent portrayals from each side.


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.



We don’t believe in race mixing in this class. So you best turn around and run back to Africa. (38)
Everyone used to say if you touched a coloured person the black on his skin would rub off onto yours. (130)
God made white people and colored people different, and he put them on different continents. Everything was fine until the races started to mix. That’s what caused all the problems we have today. (133)
Coloured people aren’t the same as whites. They aren’t as smart. They haven’t accomplished the things we have. They aren’t as good as we are. (141)
He said coloured people weren’t as good as we were. That was why they lived in different neighbourhoods, went to different schools, worked at easier jobs for less money. (298)
Why does everything have to be about colour? (327)
Other people will always try to decide things for you. They’ll try to tell you who you are. Remember, no matter what they say, you’re the one who really decides. (368)

reading progress






  1. tonyalee

    February 29, 2016 at 12:23 PM

    I’ve been on the fence about this one since BEA 14. I know it’s an important read but there’s a small part of me that can’t bring myself to read it.
    tonyalee recently posted…Middle Grade Madness | The Grimm Legacy by Polly ShulmanMy Profile

    • giselle

      March 1, 2016 at 12:07 AM

      Aww that’s okay.. I do think it’s a very important read for anyone though. As tough as it is..

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