The truth about white lies

Olivia A. Cole

Book - 2022

"An unflinching story about Shania, a white girl who, after moving to a gentrifying city, reckons with her role in racism there, the historical and present day effects of white supremacy, and the danger in silence"--

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YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Cole Olivia
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Subjects
Genres
Young adult fiction
Published
New York : Little, Brown and Company [2022]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
375 pages ; 22 cm
Audience
Ages 14 & up.
ISBN
9780759554122
0759554129
Main Author
Olivia A. Cole (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* When 17-year-old Shania's beloved grandmother dies, her mother moves them to the city of Blue Rock. There, Shania, who is white, finds herself a student at the prestigious Bard Academy, where she is instantly smitten with rich golden boy Prescott, whose erratic, often strident sister, Caroline, befriends her. She also meets Michelle, who is Black, and the two begin a tentative friendship, only for Shania to discover that Michelle and Caroline detest each other. Can she be a friend to both? And then there's Prescott and Caroline's brother—steady, quiet Ben—who seems interested in her, too. Despite these tensions, Shania begins to settle in, but then an epidemic of lies begins to emerge that involves everyone she knows, even her mother and grandmother. Shania is shaken when she begins to discover the truth behind the lies, most disturbingly the endemic racism that affects her new friends. Things come to a head when a local homeless Black man is beaten to death. Who is responsible? Cole has done a brilliant job in this book of dealing with the ugliness of white supremacy and its vile impact on young lives. Not only is the book powerful, it is beautifully written, bringing its nuanced characters fully to life. It is, altogether, an important book, deserving the widest possible readership. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Following the death of her grandmother, 17-year-old white Shania Hester is uprooted from her rural life to the city of South Blue Rock, where her grandmother lived, to help her mother settle her affairs. There, Shania finds herself caught between new friend Michelle Broadus, who is Black, and popular white siblings Catherine and Prescott Tane. Shania is challenged to confront her unconscious bias toward the gentrifying community while repeatedly denying her white privilege. Tired of "walking through the minefield" of being white, Shania befriends the Tanes, who seemingly move through the world unaffected by the racial turmoil surrounding them. But after a devastating revelation threatens the image of both her grandmother and Prescott, Shania must acknowledge how her family's history affects her present, and choose to either return to the safety of ignorance or forge a new path forward. While Black characters suffer violence and are relegated to unwilling participants in Shania's journey, Cole (An Anatomy of Beasts) portrays Shania's justifications of racism, and her resistance to examine her privilege, with unapologetic gravity. Through astute narration, Cole thoughtfully unpacks the costly consequences of passivity in the face of racism and the "little white lies" told to maintain the status quo. Ages 14–up. Agent: Regina Brooks, Serendipity Literary. (Mar.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"An unflinching story about Shania, a white girl who, after moving to a gentrifying city, reckons with her role in racism there, the historical and present day effects of white supremacy, and the danger in silence"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Moving to the gentrifying town of Blue Rock and thrust into Bard, the city’s wealthiest private school, Shania discovers the truth about her family, forcing her to make a choice and face the violence of her silence. 30,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

For fans of I'm Not Dying with You Tonight, this gripping YA novel digs into the historical and present-day effects of white supremacy and the depths of privilege. Shania never thinks much about being white. But after her beloved grandmother passes, she moves to the gentrifying town of Blue Rock and is thrust into Bard, the city's wealthiest private school. At Bard, race is both invisible and hypervisible, and Shania's new friends are split on what they see. There's Catherine, the school's queen bee, who unexpectedly takes Shania under her wing. Then there's Prescott, the golden boy who seems perfect...except for the disturbing rumors about an altercation he had with a Black student who left the school. But Prescott isn't the only one with secrets. As Shania grieves for the grandmother she idolized, she realizes her family roots stretch far back into Blue Rock's history. When the truth comes to light, Shania will have to make a choice and face the violence of her silence.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

For fans of I'm Not Dying with You Tonight, this gripping YA novel digs into the historical and present-day effects of white supremacy and the depths of privilege. 

Shania never thinks much about being white. But after her beloved grandmother passes, she moves to the gentrifying town of Blue Rock and is thrust into Bard, the city's wealthiest private school. At Bard, race is both invisible and hypervisible, and Shania's new friends are split on what they see. There's Catherine, the school's queen bee, who unexpectedly takes Shania under her wing. Then there's Prescott, the golden boy who seems perfect...except for the disturbing rumors about an altercation he had with a Black student who left the school. 

But Prescott isn't the only one with secrets. As Shania grieves for the grandmother she idolized, she realizes her family roots stretch far back into Blue Rock's history. When the truth comes to light, Shania will have to make a choice and face the violence of her silence.