Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves

Lies We Tell OurselvesAuthor: Robin Talley
Series: Standalone
Published: October 3rd 2014
Publisher: Mira INK
Length: 336 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

It's 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it's Sarah Dunbar's first day of school, as one of the first black students at the previously all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda Hairston, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. Sarah and Linda have every reason to despise each other. But as a school project forces them to spend time together, the less their differences seem to matter. And Sarah and Linda start to feel something they've never felt before. Something they're both determined ignore. Because it's one thing to be frightened by the world around you - and another thing altogether when you're terrified of what you feel inside.

Lies We Tell Ourselves is more than just a book; it’s a reading experience, and a painful one at that. On page 7, I started clutching the book tightly, bracing myself for the pain it would inevitably bring. On page 11, tears were already streaming down my face and I wasted no effort in trying to suppress them.

Lies We Tell Ourselves is a story about two girls, as different as they can possibly be, but both incredibly brave in their own ways. Sarah is one of the first students to set foot into a previously all-white school and Linda is her exact opposite – a privileged white girl determined to make Sarah’s life miserable.

As hard as it is to like Linda at first, one can’t really blame her for her attitude. It’s all she’s ever known, all she’s been taught by her parents and other authority figures. Given the chance, she quickly realizes that her worldview makes little sense and the slow changes in her attitude start. How things unravel from there is both beautiful and extremely painful and the girls have to fight more than just prejudice if they’re to live the lives they both deserve.

Lies We Tell Ourselves is a heartbreaking book, but it is also filled with hope and love and eye-opening moments. I loved Sarah’s family, their courage and integrity. I admired Sarah for her strength and resolve and in the end, Linda completely won me over with her willingness to do what’s right at any cost.

I’ll admit that the romance seemed a bit superfluous at times, but by the end, it brought the point home nicely. Just because we’re fighting one big battle doesn’t mean we’re somehow exempt from others that may come our way and when they do, the first one has either broken us or prepared us to fight whatever we need to in order to survive. Linda and Sarah chose to fight for their lives and their love and while the world may not have been ready for them, they were certainly ready for each other.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.

Each chapter of this book is prefaced by a lie one of the girls has to tell herself in order to survive. I don't lie to myself that often - I'm very analytical and self-aware - but every now and then a girl needs a white lie to get through the day. 

I have been challenged by the lovely ladies at Mira INK to share one of those lies with you. 
Challenge accepted, ladies!


  1. I have always hated that saying because it is so untrue. I think sometimes words can hurt worse than anything else.

    This book sounds fabulous Maja and heart wrenching. Something I just know I will want to read at some point in time.

  2. Oh it sounds like an intense story! I didn't know about it and it's the first time I see a review but I confess that I'm curious now. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great review!

  3. It seems like a deep and powerful story! Thank you for the review!

  4. You bring up a good point about the romance. For the most part I wasn't a fan - it wasn't bad, but felt odd at times and I wondered why the author didn't just focus on the racism and gender issues. I didn't think about it that way, but I do agree the romance worked well at the end. Thanks for helping me view this book a little differently! And I'm glad you did enjoy this one, Maja! As you said, reading it really is an experience.

  5. I've heard so many good things about this book, Maja. I'm happy to see it was as powerful as the blurb made it out to be. It's a shame about the romance, but I'm glad it improved for you.
    Lovely review! :)

  6. Yeah, that saying has never worked for me either Maja!!!! Words hurt not matter what anyone says. I remember reading a negative review a bride had left of my business a few years ago and it had a profound effect on me even though everyone said I shouldn't take it personally.

    My mother in law read this one (the review is posting soon) and she really enjoyed it, so I hope to have time for it myself!!!

  7. Sounds like an intense and heartwrenching story! I totally enjoyed your review, you made me very curious to read the book now.

    And I completely agree with the lie you shared with us (I mean, with the fact that this lie is a lie ^^). Sometimes a sentence can hurt much more than a punch in the face.

  8. Oh gosh, I don't do well with heart-breaking stories. This sounds truly inspirational though. It sort of reminds me of Love Letters to the Dead in a way as I found that to be quite revealing and emotionally compromising as well. A friendship like no other. Great review, Maja. I need to get this one soon! :)

  9. I have this one on my TBR. I'm definitely expecting an emotional read. Wonderful review, I'm super eager to pick it up!

  10. I saw this one on NG and was a bit hesitant to request it, but now I'm regretting that decision. While an intense and emotional read, I like that it is eye-opening and there seems like a lot to discuss. I ordered a copy for my library and will have to check it out.

  11. This is my first encounter with this one and it looks like such a powerful read. You are so right about your little lie. Words can and do hurt sometimes more than a slap to the face. Beautiful review, I am going to have to check this one out.

  12. I'm so with you! Words do hurt, but we do tell ourselves that lie. I don't know if I can handle this book. I love that it is positive in some ways but I so hate to cry! Darn it... you make it sound so good. I'll put it in the tear-stained maybe pile... :)

  13. Maja, now I hate myself for not downloading this book from NetGalley when I had a chance. It looks just like something I would like.
    Amazing review!

  14. wow wonderful review, first time hearing of it, but boy does it sound so very emotional. I'd probably cry as well.

  15. I've heard of this one, but I think it had a different cover. I like this cover!

    I also tagged you in the Opposite Book Tag. You can see my post HERE.

  16. The reviews for this one have been so positive, Maja, and I've had it on my wishlist but kind of forgot that it's finally been released. I'll have to get around to ordering a copy now :)

    Also, great choice of a lie we like to tell ourselves. We might all pretend that words don't hurt and that we can rise above them, but sometimes that's just not true.

  17. This sounds like such an incredible, powerful novel and one that really deserves to be read too but, I just don't think I'm up for this right now. I hope I'll finally be able to read this at some point when I really need it but I hate picking up these kinds of saddening stories sometimes. Gorgeous review, Maja, and I completely agree with your lie! ;)

  18. Ooh, I've never see this cover before, though I'll be honest, I like the US cover more this time around. I really love how diverse this book is, I have a copy on my kindle, so I am defintiely gonna get around to reading it hopefully this Christmas.

    Lovely review, Maja! <33

  19. I completely agree, this is one amazing and tough book to read, it flared my anxiety with the first Sarah's chapters! Heart pounding, hyperventilating... the works! This book should become mandatory reading for school curriculums!
    Great review, Maja!


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