The Secret Life of Bees

why didn't lilly tell zach she liked him

she knew blacks and whites couldnt be togeather

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As Lily grows in fondness for Zach, and her concept of the divisions between races is more seriously questioned. She finds him attractive, and she does not know what to do about her feelings. The reader can see Lily being characterized more as a young woman than as a child in this relationship. Lily begins to flirt, and she becomes fascinated with Zach’s tiny details. For his part, Zach understands race relations in his town well enough to know that he is better off not trying to start a relationship with a young white woman.

In chapters 7 & 8, Lily realizes that Zach is the best friend she will ever have. Lily hugs him, and Zach confesses that he likes her more than any girl he has ever met—but that he cannot pursue his feelings because of the racial divide between them. Both Lily and Zach express how sorry they are about the situation.