Once Upon A Lie – Michael French

Once Upon a Lie is about two strangers who become unlikely friends, only to unintentionally put each other’s life in jeopardy.

Jaleel Robeson, a gifted, eighteen year-old black man, falsely accused of murdering his father in a small Texas town, is on the run. He assumes a new identity in 1980s Los Angeles as a successful student on his way to college.

Alexandra Baten, a restless sixteen year old while girl, lives in a privileged Toluca Lake family but feels trapped by her parents’ values. One weekend, she rides her bike into a run down neighborhood, meeting a young black man selling lemonade.

Thus begins a friendship between opposites, at least on the surface, but they learn they have more in common than they imagine. Told from each character’s point of view in alternating chapters, we become involved in a gripping tale of two Americas where discontent and violence always lurk under the surface. When they erupt, no one is safe.

Once Upon a Lie is both a family drama and a crime drama, as well as an exploration of interracial love, mother-daughter relationships, and redemption through courage.