Lies We Tell Ourselves Review

Title: Lies We Tell Ourselves

Author: Robin Talley

Publisher: Harper Collins


Genre: historical, YA, fiction, LGBTQIA,


This is the story of two girls Sarah Dunbar and Linda Hairston who go to school in Virginia in the first school to be integrated in 1959. Sarah is from a black family fighting to end segregation and to achieve equality. Linda is from a white family who firmly believes in segregation. However, a French project pushes them together. Can Sarah help Linda see her side of the world she lives in and will feelings develop between the two of them?

Style of Writing:

I loved the style of going between Sarah and Linda’s thoughts and seeing both perspectives was so interesting. For me it helped me understand the history a bit better as it was clear she did lots of research. The way she wrote both characters thoughts and emotions were done beautifully because you felt so closely connected to the characters.


WOW there are so many themes and issues to talk about here first lets go for the gun segregation. I think the book explored segregation in a respectful and educational way because I felt coming out of this book, I understood both sides and how it impacted and changed society. The theme of friendship was done beautifully as it showed all sides to friendship but also how it can question your societal ideas. The LGBTQIA theme was done very respectful for the history of that time by seeing both sides to how it was looked at by society. Its so hard to write those relationships in those times as its such a restricted time and you just wanted them to be able to be out in the open.


Sarah I loved her as a character she was so headstrong and opinionated and fun to read. I really enjoyed how she stood by her principles and never backed down it showed the difficulty of the time for black people. But also her sheer will power just inspired me. Linda I spent half the book being so annoyed at her because she was so blind to the injustice right in front of her. But I do love her character because I understood how difficult it was for her to break free from her family’s thoughts and when she did you just felt so proud. Sarah’s parents wow just the model parents for their kids showing them the way it should be. Linda’s parents wow a mother that was non-existent and a father that just couldn’t see the hurt and catastrophe his belief of segregation was doing. The other kids in Sarah’s group you felt so sorry for them especially Chuck I just cried when he was beaten so awful and it was wrong. Judy is one I just couldn’t believe either the hypocrisy that she didn’t mind Sarah but what Linda did was unspeakable. At first I kinda liked her but when she turned on Linda I just got so angry.


It was done beautifully that build up to graduation and what the future will bring with those side stories like Chuck and the school choir made it so full and thrilling. Having two sides to the story gave the plot more suspense through the reactions. The ending was perfect because it ended on the promise of the future for the girls to be together which was so nice after the heartbreaking other parts of the book.

My Thoughts:

This book is such an important book because of its discussion of segregation which it explores the issue in a respectful way looking at both sides. This book broke me emotionally and physically it just made me so angry and cry so much because you just connected so much with the characters. This an important and fabulous read for adults and YA readers it will keep you hopeful and emotional all the way through.

5 stars

If you prefer to a video review here is my Youtube 5 minute review

If you are a fan of the Robin Talley’s work let me know in the comments below I would love to hear your thoughts on this book!

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© 2018 Emily Claire Cannings

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