The NAACP and a community group have prepared the teens for what to expect when they arrive at Jefferson. Sarah thought she was ready, but the reaction of the white students was something she never could have imagined. Pushing, shoving, tripping amid shouts of "Nigger" and "Go home" exploded around the ten new students.
When Sarah entered her classrooms and found an empty seat, the white students immediately jumped up and moved away from her, even if they were forced to stand in the back corners of the room or sit on shelves. The teachers remained ignorant to spitwads and pencils hitting the back of Sarah's head. In study hall one of her black friends was hit in the neck by a baseball hurled from the back of the room.
Another side of the story comes from Linda. She is the daughter of one of the most vocal opponents of desegregation. Her father's editorials condemn the government's pressure to combine black and white students in schools across the South. Although Linda parrots her father's opinions, she begins to question the separation of blacks and whites when she is assigned to do a group project with Sarah.
Both Sarah and Linda are struggling with the huge change in their educational life, and at the same time they are also attempting to understand a strange physical attraction they both believe is unnatural. An accidental kiss shocks them both and has them frantically searching for some way to explain their growing feelings.
Author Robin Talley brings the tumultuous events of the Civil Rights Movement to life in LIES WE TELL OURSELVES. Today's teens will be stunned by the treatment of Sarah and her friends and the extend to which white community members were willing to go to protect what they believed was their right to keeping the South segregated. This book provides excellent reading to complement assigned books like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and historical texts.