This month we’re once again hosting the book club chat, and we hope that you’ll be prompted to put the book on your TBR list; we promise you won’t regret it. Many thanks to Harlequin Teen for sending us all review copies of the book!
Talley’s first novel takes a close, honest look at school integration and sexual identity in a small fictional Virginia town in 1959. The story unfolds through the alternating narratives of two high school seniors: Linda Hairston, the white daughter of a journalist who writes editorials opposing integration, and Sarah Dunbar, one of 10 new black students at their recently integrated high school, where racial tensions are running high. When Linda and Sarah are forced to work together on a class project, they are immediately drawn toward one another and mutually terrified of their attraction. Linda, as a result of her abusive father’s influence, views integration as an irritating disruption, while Sarah eloquently debates Linda’s negative perceptions. Chapters begin with lies that Sarah and Linda disprove, such as “I’m not brave enough for this” and “None of this has anything to do with me.” Talley details the girls’ growth as they learn to form their own moral codes, while steeping readers in a pivotal moment of history. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. -Publishers Weekly
Teen Lit Rocks: Yes, that made sense to me. Because there was no place for gays and lesbians at the time, whereas at least blacks weren’t all bad — even in the mind of a girl born to racists. She did a good job capturing the difference between general attraction and desire, I thought.
Reading Date: Ennis was really sweet. And you are making me appreciate the Jack/Linda storyline.
Reading Date: The descriptions were very vivid. Too vivid in some cases. But I liked the fashion and hairstyle descriptions too.
Reading Date: One of the discussion questions is Why does Sarah fall for Linda. And I have to say I wondered that as well.
We Heart YA: *nods* And too many Americans who like to think racism and discrimination are over. This book does a great job of using the past to illuminate the present.
Reading Date: Agreed. I talked to my teen about this book and I think that this book is totally relevant to their studies and makes it more personal.
Interested in the book? Make sure to read our Q&A with author Robin Talley at The Reading Date and We Heart YA’s post “4 Lies We Tell Ourselves — and Shouldn’t.” Also check out our past book club selections and pick up Sara Farizan’s “Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel” if you want to join us for our November Book Club!