“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.”
– Taken from Goodreads
I’d like to thank NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
I’ll be blunt: this book made me angry. Not at the author nor at the characters, for they are fictional. It made me angry at human stupidity. While I do not live in the United States, my country also had a long and dark period in its history where slavery was legal. Even though slavery was abolished more than a century ago, society still bears the scars in the form of racism.
This book, by dealing with the beginning of the end of segregation in the United States made me angry. I know a lot has changed, but still, I can’t help but being angry at a society that blindly believed that Negroes (as they are called in the book) are inferior and dumb. Not only that, but that society felt entitled to treat these supposedly inferior individuals as animals. I don’t know how Sarah could keep her cool in the situations she was put through. I would have stabbed someone with a pencil in the second chapter of the book.
Another thorny issue dealt with in this book is sexism. While Sarah’s main struggle is with segregation, Linda struggles with sexism. Her main goal in life is to graduate high school and get married. Hold your horses, get married straight out of school? Yes, she has no thought of going to college. She just wants to get married so she can move out and leave her abusive father behind. In essence, she would be replacing her father with her husband.
While both are very serious issues, racism was the one that caused me the most anger. Maybe it’s because I have more experience with racism than with sexism (remember that first paragraph in this review?).
The ending, however, made all that anger go away. Not all the problems are solved, far from it, but it’s astounding to take a step back and see how much the characters matured, particularly Linda. I wasn’t expecting her to grow that much, so that was a pleasant surprise.