Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala

Holly Cupala Tell Me a Secret

292 pp.  HarperTeen  2010 ISBN: 978-0-06-176666-4

Full Disclosure: Won signed, finished copy from author

Summary (From the publisher): It’s tough living in the shadow of a dead girl…

In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

When two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears, Miranda is stripped of her former life. She must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.

In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

Over the summer I won a two-chapter preview of this through Holly’s blog.  I read the preview as soon as I received it and desperately wanted to finish it after the second chapter.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find a copy at any of the book stores nearby, and I’ve been looking since this summer!  I don’t know why, but I don’t really care for ordering books online, so I’ve been holding out for as long as possible.  I can’t describe my excitement when I found out that I won a signed copy through A Good Addiction!

Now that I’ve finished Tell Me a Secret I’m really kicking myself for waiting so long to read this!  The first two chapters hooked me enough to want to keep reading.  The remaining chapters only got better.  If you like a book with layers of story and strong characters, then get yourself a copy of Tell Me a Secret pronto!

Holly Cupala is a genius in how she chooses to reveal important details and pieces of the plot.  Pieces of Rand (Miranda’s nickname) and her mother’s complicated relationship come to light, just as we learn more about Xanda’s secrets before she died.  Rand goes through trying times with her pregnancy as we find out more about an important night shortly after school got out.  These scenes are written in such a way that it’s impossible to stop reading.  On the back cover of the book, a blurb from Deb Caletti says “I dare you to set it down during its last hundred pages.  I dare you.”  That’s a dare I certainly lost!

The character development is extraordinary!  Rand’s best friend–well, so-called best friend, Delaney absolutely made my blood boil.  I swear I’m not a violent person, but there were times that I wanted to cause her physical harm.  **This may be spoilery** The way she treats Miranda is atrocious!  It’s bad enough that Miranda is pregnant and feeling lost without her sister, but for her friend to turn on her and leave her behind is just rotten.  It really takes a talented author to make me react to a character this way.  I had strong feelings about Miranda’s mother as well.  She’s incredibly cold towards Rand about the pregnancy.  I’m sure any mother would be upset and disappointed about their teenage daughter getting pregnant (I know my mom would have been!), but I’d certainly hope that a mom would be more supportive of her daughter.  It’s understood that Miranda’s mother is very religious and worried about appearances, which effects her attitude.  Girls who are faced with a situation like Rand’s, or just girls who have difficult relationships with their mothers will be able to relate to this relationship.  Hopefully they’ll learn from it also.

It’s hard to say more without being overly spoilery.  Plus, I’m finding it difficult to put into words how fantastic this book is.  As the story of Xanda unraveled, Miranda’s story became more complex.  The characters stayed with me a while after I finished reading it.  Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to the juicy secrets in Holly’s fabulous debut Tell Me a Secret.  I can’t wait to read more from this insanely talented author!


  1. *coughs at mother-daughter relationship comment*

    This sounds like a fantastic book!! Mind if I borrow it sometime? 🙂

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      Of course you can borrow it! One of my seniors just grabbed my “regular” copy. I can bring my signed copy into school for Harley to pick up for you. Would that work?

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