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Tell Me a Secret: Review

Title: Tell Me a Secret
Author: Holly Cupala  
Release Date: June 22nd, 2010 
Published by: Harper Collins
Goodreads Rating: 4.08 stars
Amazon Rating: 4.3 stars

Synopsis: Tell me a secret, and I'll tell you one…

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: I have to admit, I wasn't very excited about this one when I initially got it from the library. Sure, I'd heard plenty of exciting things from people and raving reviews, but the synopsis just didn't sound that intriguing to me. I have read a million books about girls that pregnant and two million books about girls who lose a family member, so I wasn't sure how this one could be so different. 

But it was. There were so many amazing things about this book I could talk about, but one of the best were the characters. Rand (the nickname Xanda had given her when she was eleven to make her sound more hard-core) is strong and intelligent, but still not fully mature and we are shown that. She wants to be like her sister was - a "bad" girl, the kind that sneaks out at night and parties and has hot boyfriends who whisk them away from unhappy lives - and it seems like she's close to getting that.

Delaney, her best friend, is a lot like Xanda was and she draws Rand in to the world her sister lived in. She's not exactly the nicest person in the world, and while we learn a little of why she does what she does, it's not to used to say that it's okay for her to be cruel. Rand also gains an extremely intelligent boyfriend, Kamran, and she hopes that she can elope with him like Xanda planned to elope with her boyfriend, before she died.

Except everything goes wrong. Rand gets pregnant, Kamran breaks up with her, and Delaney grows farther and farther away from the model best friend. Her parents are far from supportive of her decision to keep the baby, and then Rand starts to find out things about her sister she didn't know, that she didn't want to know. 

One of the best features of the book was the writing. Each sentence was stark and beautiful and crafted with emotion infused with every word. As I read through this, I kept thinking, This author can really write. Not every book can make you feel like Tell Me a Secret does. 

Overall, this was a fantastic book. At times it felt like the bad things happening to Rand were a little too much, but the prose was gorgeous and the characters well-developed and well-portrayed. I would recommend this to anyone who wants an honest contemporary read. 

Grade: A-


Beth said...

I think I saw an ARC review of this one quite a while ago, but this is only the second review I've seen. It sounds great though. I hope it's a real world look at teen pregnancy like the struggle and the hardships of it.

Julia :) said...

GREAT review! Definitely want to read this book. Especially since the characters are apparently so amazing! The funny thing is they all have such unusual names. I mean Xanda and Kamran??? Yup that pretty much rivals the strangeness of The Hunger Games names.

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