In February 1959, Sarah and 9 of her friends brace themselves for their first day of high school at a new school in Virginia. Rule #1: Ignore anything the white people say to you and keep walking. Rule #2: Always sit at the front of the classroom, near the door, so you can make a quick getaway if you need to. And Rule #3: Stay together whenever you possibly can. Why do they need these rules? Because they’re the first black students to ever attend this high school, and are about to be endure a year of harassment, violence, and hatred simply because of the color of their skin. This fictional work is told through the eyes of Sarah as well as Linda, a popular white teen who doesn’t want her school to be integrated and wants nothing to do with Sarah or the other new students. Forced into the same classes and to work on a project together, Sarah and Linda butt heads with each other and each other’s opinions. But as the year goes on, they realize they may have more in common than they first thought.
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley is a heart-wrenching look at the fight for integration in the late 1950s and the bravery it took to soldier on amidst extreme racism and hate.