The Lies We Tell Ourselves
Publisher: Mira Ink
Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend Jefferson High School in Virginia, where she and the other black students are forced to attend remedial lessons despite their straight A records, they are excluded from all extracurricular activities and are subjected to constant threats, abuse and physical attacks from the white students and their parents.
Pretty, popular Linda Hairston, daughter of the local newspaper editor, parrots her father's beliefs that integration goes against the natural order and is as outspoken as her father on the subject. But behind her tough exterior is a petrified girl who will do anything to escape her abusive home life.
When the two girls are thrown together for a school project they find surprising delight in one another's company in spite of their differences. As they grow closer, however, they realise that underlying this fragile new friendship is a passion that both of them are terrified to acknowledge.
This exceptional novel of first love and sexual awakenings is set against a backdrop of shocking racism and prejudice. It is incredibly well written as the tense, riveting story seamlessly combines fiction with historical fact, allowing the reader to experience this period of time from both girls' point of view. Talley's characters are strong and proud, so that rather than feel pity you are incredibly inspired by these pioneering black students who were braver than any child should ever have to be.