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Robin Talley grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, writing terrible teen poetry and riding a desegregation bus to the school across town. Robin lives in Washington, D.C., with her fiancée, plus an antisocial cat and a goofy hound dog. When Robin’s not writing, she’s often planning communication strategies at organizations fighting for equal rights and social justice. See Robin Talley on Instagram
Click here to read a Q&A with Robin Talley.
In a Nutshell: Personal awakenings on a transformational summer trip | An insightful coming-of-age story about a bisexual teenager’s first experience of love in all its dizzying bliss and complexity. Fifteen-year-old Aki is determined to stop putting things off, and determined to stop living hypothetically: “If I wanted my life to change, then I had to do something. Or at least try.” With that firmly in mind, Aki and best friend Lori make a pact “to have a fling” during their summer trip to Mexico with her dad’s church mission. And that’s where she meets Christa. While Aki’s known that she’s bi for a while, she’d “never known it was possible for a person to look as cute as Christa did”, and the attraction is mutual. But, as the hypothetical starts to get very real and very intense, the young women have some serious complications to deal with, not least the fact that Christa might just have a boyfriend back home, and very strict parents she’s terrified of coming out to. Alongside its elegant portrayal of sexual awakening and safe sex, the novel also explores Aki’s inspirational political stirrings (she oversees a big debate at the summer camp, and becomes passionate about health care issues). As Aki remarks near the end of the tale, “I could do anything. All of us could. We were only as limited as we let ourselves be”, which is a rather wonderful message of hope to come away with. ~ Joanne Owen
One of our YA Books of the Year 2016. September 2016 NewGen Book of the Month. In a Nutshell: Deadly Ambition | Scheming with Spirits | Descent into Darkness Thrilling, chilling, supernaturally-charged retelling of Macbeth set in a prestigious southern state high school. While Lily can’t wait to try out her antique Ouija board, her girlfriend Maria is less keen. She has history when it comes to the spirit world. But it's been a while since she's tried to talk to them so “maybe they'd forgotten her,” she hopes. While Lily and Maria are engrossed in the proceedings, their friend Brandon translates the Ouija messages from Spanish and Latin, one of which mentions their prestigious college’s Cawdor Kingsley Prize, which everyone is certain will be awarded to gorgeous golden girl, Delilah, with Maria, as usual, coming second, always the princess to Delilah’s queen. The Ouija’s messages are disturbingly ominous. “That which is second shall be first,” it spells. It turns out that Lily had hoped the Ouija board would spur Maria into believing that it was her destiny to come first and win the prize. She's set on going to Stanford University and is desperate for Maria to go there too, but the only way she's guaranteed a place is if she wins the prize. While the message has got under Maria’s skin, when Lily concocts a plan to ensure she wins it, she doesn't want to go through with it. “It isn't right,” she says, but Lily urges her on, like Lady Macbeth coaxing her husband. It’s not fair that Maria’s talents and efforts aren’t being recognised, and besides, Lily reasons, “this is what the spirits said would happen anyway, right?” So Maria agrees. But soon there’s no going back and Maria descends down a deadly, dark path, dragging her friends and peers with her. This really is an inspired idea - Macbeth converts so well to this exclusive high school setting - and I especially loved the La Llorona strands, the Weeping Woman ghost of Mexican myth whose eerie influence has spread throughout Hispanic culture. This super-smart Shakespearean adaptation is a read-in-one-sitting page-turner. ~ Joanne Owen Robin Talley's new novel Our Own Private Universe will be published on 9th February 2017 - it has been selected by the Lovereading editorial team and a review and extract will be available to view from early February.
October 2014 Debut of the Month. Fascinating, commanding and stimulating; this work of fiction is steeped in the history of the American school integration struggle in the late 1950’s. The author has clearly done her research and written a provocative and yet somehow irresistibly beautiful novel. Talley picks you up and hurls you down in the middle of the brutal pack mentality, she spins you around, then gently slips hope and love inbetween the clamour and hatred. Sarah and Linda feel substantial and real; their dreams and fears, writhe and pulse from the pages. This is so thought-provoking it almost hurts to read it, yet every word is needed, is necessary and consequently this is a novel that lingers long after you've finished it. ~ Liz Robinson
The brand-new novel from the 2020 CILIP Carnegie medal nominee and New York Times bestseller, Robin Talley. ************************************************************* 'I'm just so sick of blending in...' It's 1977, and the USA is tearing itself apart. And so is Tammy Larson. Seventeen and scared, Tammy has a secret that her strict community and conservative family must never find out; one that she's only ever shared in unposted letters to her hero, Harvey Milk. She's gay. Hundreds of miles away, Tammy's new pen pal is dealing with a few secrets of her own. Sharon Hawkins lives in foggy San Francisco, an exciting city full of protests and punk music. But as the letters pile up in her desk drawer, Sharon begins to realise that her world might not be that different to Tammy's after all... Set to a soundtrack of Bowie, Blondie and a whole lot of Patti Smith, the girls' worlds converge in ways they could never have imagined. With a fierce sense of rebellion and a feminist attitude to boot, Tammy and Sharon soon discover what it means to be their true selves, and one thing's for sure: they're both sick of blending in. The perfect empowering and life-affirming read for fans of Caitlin Moran, Becky Albertalli and Meredith Russo. ************************************************************* Praise for Robin Talley's previous novels: 'The main characters are terrific in what is a moving novel. And an important one.' The Telegraph 'absolutely loved it - romantic and funny and gripping and just generally excellent!' Tom Ellen, author of Freshers 'touching, clever and absolutely hilarious' The Herald 'I really loved the book... it was just a lovely, refreshing read for me, and I'm so glad there are authors like Robin Talley out there.' Bookseller 'One of the most interesting and informative LGBT books I've read recently!' Reader 'I read it in one sitting!' NetGalley reviewer 'a must-read for anyone interested in LGBTQ+ history' NetGalley reviewer 'a very timely novel' NetGalley reviewer
From the award-winning author Robin Talley comes an inspiring new novel about the power of love to fight prejudice and hate. Two women connected across generations through the power of words. In 1955 eighteen-year-old Janet Jones must keep the love she shares with her best friend a secret. As in the age of McCarthyism to be gay is to sin. But when Janet discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in her. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a new-found ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself - and Marie - to a danger all too real. Sixty-two years later, Abby Cohen can't stop thinking about her senior project - classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. She feels especially connected to one author, 'Marian Love', and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity. Is Abby prepared for what she will find? A stunning story of bravery, love, how far we've come and how much farther we have to go.
Amnesty Honour winner Robin Talley is back with a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair. From the acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves, Robin Talley, comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair. Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school's ultimate power couple - but one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. But Delilah doesn't know that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything - absolutely anything - to unseat Delilah for the scholarship. After all, it would lock in Maria's attendance at Stanford - and assure her and Lily four more years in a shared dorm room. Together, Maria and Lily harness the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school. But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what's real and what's imagined, the girls must attempt to put a stop to the chilling series of events they've accidentally set in motion.
`A moving YA book. And an important one' - The Telegraph on Lies We Tell Ourselves What if discovering who you really are means letting go of who you've been? Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They're hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college they're sure their relationship will stay rock solid. The reality of being apart, however, is very different. Toni's discovering a new world - and a new gender identity - but Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside of their relationship. While Toni worries that Gretchen won't understand Toni's shifting identity, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in this puzzle. Now they must decide if their love is strong enough to last. A powerful new novel from the acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves. Praise for Robin Talley `This is so thought-provoking it almost hurts to read it, yet every word is needed, is necessary and consequently this is a novel that lingers long after you've finished it' - Lovereading `This is an emotional and compelling read that I did not want to put down. It is [...] beautifully written and the tension just simmers on the pages.' - Bookbabblers `This book packs a very powerful punch' - Historical Novel Society `With great characterisation, tough issues covered, and a plot which had me guessing right up until the last pages, this is a must-read. Massively recommended!' - The Bookbag `This exceptional novel of first love and sexual awakenings is set against a backdrop of shocking racism and prejudice. It is incredibly well written as the tense, riveting story seamlessly combines fiction with historical fact.' - Booktrust `Every now and then a Young Adult book comes along that I want to push into every reader's hands, both young and old, and Lies We Tell Ourselves is that book for 2014' - Jess Hearts Books `Talley has mixed two controversial topics together to create a firecracker of a story' - Cheryl M-M's Book Blog *A Goodreads Choice Awards semi-finalist 2014