Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala: Young Adult Book Review
July 1, 2010
Review copy provided by the publisher
Bad Girl sister, Xandra, who younger Good Girl sister, Rand, idolized, died five years ago. Since then, no one in the family wants to talk about it. Certainly not her snobby Socialite mother, who feels she married beneath her station, and who blames her husband for introducing Xandra to Andre, the no-good boyfriend who killed their daughter. (Note to reader: My bald description does a disservice to Ms. Cupala's more subtle and literary writing style. The book is emotional, but it doesn't read like melodrama, though my summary does.)
Now Rand is trying to BE Xandra, and to come to terms with what happened by living Xandra’s life for her, instead of her own. She chooses a boyfriend, Kamran who, like Andre, is unacceptable to her mother. She chooses Delaney, a girl who is like Xandra, to be her new best friend. Rand is hoping that together they will replace what’s now missing in her life: dearly beloved Xandra. Rand also had a crush on Andre when she was twelve years old.
A bunch of unexpected things happen: Rand loses her former best friends, Chloe and Essence. Delaney steals Kamran from her. Worst, or perhaps best, depending on your view, Rand discovers she’s pregnant. From that point, this already dark story gets ever darker and rockier, but the ending is hopeful and realistic.
The story is about uncovering secrets. It’s about accepting responsibility for one’s actions and relinquishing blame. It’s about learning to forgive, and to have faith that a bad situation could be a blessing in disguise.
Ms. Cupala is a wonderful writer. Sometimes when I read a debut novel, I have doubts about whether the writer will continue to be published. I have no doubts about Ms. Cupala's talent and future as a writer.
Holly is currently undertaking a massive, six-week blog tour. If you want to follow it, check out the itinerary. Giveaways are also involved. Thank you, Holly Cupala, for your efforts in having HarperCollins send me the book.