YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for September 28, 2010

Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala

Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 22nd 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Gold star (4/5 stars)

Synopsis: 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.

Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda 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.

Review: Every once in a while, a good book comes along and sweeps me away. Tell Me A Secret is one of them. Tell Me A Secret is an excellent character-driven book. It is because of Miranda that this novel shines so brightly – because of her frank, painfully honest voice. Told in the point of view of a pregnant teen, this novel was heartwrenching, utterly saddening yet full of hope. Hope that Miranda will overcome the ordeal and move on, and become the best teenage mother out there.

Throughout the novel, there were many flashbacks to scenes before the pregnancy and when Xanda was still around. They were interesting to read about and I appreciated how they were woven into the story and fit nicely in place. Miranda’s interactions with her family (especially with her mother) were heartbreaking but wholly genuine, as is her relationship with her school friends. Her family problems were relateable and well depicted. In a book like this, the parent role is important so thankfully there were no absentee parents. Everything was brilliantly done and I applaud to Cupala! She has written a book that touched me deeply and it was one that actually that made me care so much for the characters’ future.

As the book progressed, the layers are slowly peeled back and we see the true colors of some of the characters. In some ways, readers could see it coming but to see it actually happening was very saddening. In the end, Cupala wraps the story up nicely, giving room for readers to imagine how Miranda’s future will be like but at the same time reassuring readers that the worst is over and life will get better. However, I do have to complain that sometimes the flashbacks were confusing and I had to refer back occasionally to see if Miranda was talking about the past or present.

Overall, I absolutely loved this novel. Cupala perfectly captured the turbulent roller-coaster ride of being a pregnant teen in spare, truthful prose. Readers will be taken on a truly unforgettable journey. You’ll probably enjoy this book if you liked Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (in a way, Miranda, reminds me of Melinda in Speak), Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles and After by Amy Efaw.

Now that you’ve read my review, why not check out the amazing trailer?