It's tough living in the shadow of a dead girl. . . .
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.Review:
Tell Me a Secret is one of those books that takes a mundane, overdone subject (teen pregnancy) and puts a new spin on it. A spin that made Tell Me a Secret not only a page-turner in every right way but a novel that felt so close to reality that it was, at times, hard to read, though at the same time so compelling and well-done that you couldn't help but push yourself through every part.
Miranda was a character who haf made quite a decent amount of bad decisions in the past year varying from loosing friends and replacing them with awful people, to having an intimate relationship with her boyfriend for all the wrong reasons, to landing herself in the situation she was in because of it, leaving her to be someone you definitely did not want to emulate. And while I wanted to shake her on the shoulders for being such a fool at times, I also wanted nothing but the best for her, to give her a huge hug and tell her it was all going to get better and that she was so strong in the decisions revolving her pregnancy. Adding to this, it was interesting to see how her relationship with her bad-girl sister, as well as that sister's death, tied into the plot, since while their relationship was complicated, it was also something sweet because of the way they would always stand up for each other no matter how far apart they grew. Also, I have to say Miranda and Xandar's parents were some of the most selfish I've seen in YA, and I was especially ashamed of the mother's way of dealing with things, though I did enjoy seeing the turn-around both did at the end.
The plot of Tell Me a Secret was fast-paced and made this one story that can easily be read in one long sitting because of the addicting nature it had. It was always interesting to see all the secrets that came out and the different relationships/friendships Miranda had with people and how deeply they affected her. I really liked the add-on of the pregnancy board Miranda went on, because it added an interesting side to the story, involving one character that this story would be incomplete without. Also, while Holly's transitions scenes between past and current were always a little shaky, her writing, as well as her world-building, were still well-done for a debut, and something I'm looking forward to seeing more of in future novels.
And the ending had to be one of my favorite parts, since not only had Miranda grown greatly from being a follower to a leader, but Cupala also didn't sugar coat everything, giving Miranda the realistic yet somewhat happy ending that is meant for these type of novels.
In all, while Tell Me a Secret had it's faults, this is one novel I can't help but suggest you pick up because it truly gives you a unique look into a teenage girl's life and how one death can make everything go up in flames.
Tell Me a Secret is now out!
To read a two-chapter preview head on over here and to read some blurbs head on over here.
Source: Publisher. Thanks HarperTeen!
Quick Q & A with Holly....
Tell Me a Secret is told from the view of Miranda, so can you tell us a little bit about her? Also, if you could offer her any advice, what would you say?
For five years, Miranda has been holding her family together after the mysterious death of her bad-girl sister. For five years, she’s dreamed of escape, and learning the secrets of Xanda’s world. Now, just as she has the dreamy boyfriend and a dangerous new friend, she has a secret of her own: a positive pregnancy test that will jeopardize everything.
As for advice, I think you can learn a lot by observing other people’s mistakes, but sometimes the only way is to experience them yourself—head knowledge versus heart knowledge. I hope Miranda would use her heart knowledge to help someone else someday.
In Tell Me a Secret, Miranda has a love of art, so what made you choose to have this be a part of the novel? Was it inspired by your own life?
Yes, definitely inspired by my own passions—I love to make art, and I love metaphors, and I love labyrinth literature. So I guess it was inevitable!
In Tell Me a Secret, Miranda’s parents are very dysfunctional (the nicest way of putting it), and ever since finishing Tell Me a Secret, I’ve been wondering what made you decide to put them in that light… so what was it?
I don’t think it was a conscious decision. The whole story came to me in a flash, characters and conflicts and all. But that was just a starting place, a fly-over kind of view. As I wrote, they evolved. For me, it’s necessary to understand where characters is coming from to write them authentically. So I had a very hard time writing the mother until I realized she had a secret, too, and it had a huge impact on the parents’ relationship and ultimately Miranda’s story.
The Halloween party, especially the Q-tips! It’s a really intense scene, sort-of-but-not-really inspired by something that actually happened to me, and the Q-tips suddenly popped out as the comic relief. Plus, I got to use my favorite word, palimpsest, which means something that has been erased and written upon again in layers of history and meaning.
Is there a specific message you hope readers of Tell Me a Secret take from it?
I’ll let you in on a secret: most of the time, writers don’t even know this (often called the theme) until the book is finished, or very nearly finished. As I was writing, I would hit on some new layer and think, this is the theme…then later: no wait, this is the theme! I didn’t realize until reaching the end that the central messages are, you can’t find yourself in other people, and the past does not have to define the future. But then what I hope the most is that readers will take away what is most important to them.
If Tell Me a Secret had a theme song what would it be?
There’s this scene where Miranda is in the hospital and she sings her sister’s favorite song: “Presumed Lost,” by Splashdown, which also happens to be one of my favorite bands. The lyrics are very telling:
"If they try to clip your wings
Fly away, far away
I know why the caged bird sings
I'll await my next escape to meet with you again”
In fact, a lot of Splashdown lyrics apply to Tell Me a Secret. The trailer features another song, “Ironspy.” The band members are our friends, and I’m really happy to be able to share their music!
How does it feel knowing the book you’ve worked so hard on is now in stores?
Surreal, and still a little bit unbelievable, except that I’ve seen it with my own eyes! I’ve been amazed and incredibly grateful for the warm response from readers.
What were you like when you were Miranda’s age? Were you similar to her in any ways?
What can you win:
•Signed copies of TMAS each week
•Awesome TMAS t-shirts
•Music that inspired the book (Splashdown! Universal Hall Pass! Symbion Project!)
•Bookmarks, buttons, and handmade magnets (made by me!)
•Lots of other cool stuff, and prizes at individual blogs
(*Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only)