Monday, July 19, 2010

Blog Tour Review + Vlog: Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala

I am thrilled to be part of the month-long virtual tour for Holly Cupala's debut novel, Tell Me a Secret! In this post I have my review of TMAS, followed by a special vlog from Holly. Read on!

Tags: YA, teen pregnancy, sisters, family, death


Miranda’s outgoing older sister Xanda died mysteriously when Miranda was twelve. Since then, Miranda has tried to figure Xanda out, but no one talks about her, least of all her parents, who blame Miranda’s boyfriend at the time for her death.

Miranda has always been the good girl, but when she is offered the chance to have the cool best friend and the ideal boyfriend, she falls into a life that hardly seems like her own, but more like her sister’s. But then Miranda’s world is turned upside down when she gets pregnant. Now, Miranda must figure out her own problems, instead of chasing afer her sister’s.


Wow. Just…wow. An unassuming concept for a story glows in the talented hands of Holly Cupala, who captured my attention on the very first page.

Miranda’s narration is easy on the eyes and mind. Through her, problems that could’ve been easily overdramatized become painfully real expressions of emotions that anyone can relate to: grief, fear, desire, and more. While there is never much physical movement throughout the story, the emotional arc is so poignant that, towards the end, I found myself bursting into tears at certain lines or gripping the book with shaking hands as I rushed to find out what would happen, if things will turn out alright, in a way that reminded me of the frantic and passionate mood swings of PMS.

It’s true that very little seems to happen, and that Miranda’s past with her sister doesn’t entirely convince me that it’s driving her present-day decisions. Miranda herself is definitely a quiet protagonist, so those who like their female main characters snappier and wittier will not find that here. Still, there is a way about Miranda that endears her to readers, that draws us into her problems and concerns and misconceptions. Quiet, “good girl” Miranda is a fully realized character: we see her flaws but love her all the more for them.

TELL ME A SECRET is a heartwrenchingly good contemporary YA read. Holly Cupala proves herself to be a powerful writing force with this one, and I can’t wait to see what Holly will write next.

Similar Authors
Sarah Dessen
Nina de Gramont
Jenny Han
Jillian Cantor

Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - Now that I've read the book, I'm not sure how much I feel it applies appropriately to the story, but it does match the title very well, and it was one of the reasons I looked closer at this book months earlier!

HarperCollins / June 22, 2010 / Hardcover / 304pp. / $16.99

ARC sent by publisher at author's request. Thanks, Holly!


And now, here's Holly:

Hi, everyone, and thanks for stopping by the TELL ME A SECRET Virtual Tour at Steph Su Reads! I’m really excited to be here—I got to meet Steph in person at the Teen Author Carnival, and I was thrilled when she wanted me to drop by. She asked me to tell you about some of the TMAS writing spaces, so we put together a little video to show you… Our daughter was a baby when I started writing, so I hired a sitter one day a week to watch her while I went to the library to write the first draft. When I wasn’t at the library, I’d head for the wi-fi at Grateful Bread. At home, I love to work at the dining room table, and I even show you a little glimpse of the YA shelves. Last but not least, I give you a sneak preview of the super-cool prize I’m giving away at the end of the tour! I hope you enjoy!

Thanks, Holly, for that fantastic look into your writing process, and for satisfying the bookshelf lust in all of us. :) Be sure to check out the full tour schedule here, and follow us to Miss Erin's blog tomorrow for the continuation of the tour. Don't forget to comment at as many official tour stops as you can for your chance to win a multitude of prizes!


  1. Oooh, this one sounds good! I'll have to pick it up if I see it!

  2. Loved your review and am really intrigued by the sound of this book!

  3. Gorgeous review and this video is so cute.

  4. Nice video! Lol. I love reading these reviews but they're making me sooo jealous.

  5. I totally agree about what you said, I didn't know what to expect when I first started reading and then before I realised, i'd tore through the book so fast, i'm suprosed i didn't have friction burns on my fingers. I loved how it was just so raw and never shied away from the harsh truth of reality. amazing debut if i say so myself, fab review!

  6. I loved TMAS, and this vlog is really cool!

  7. Great review. I can't wait to read this.

  8. Hi, everyone! Thank you all for stopping by, and many thanks to Steph for her beautiful review and for hosting today's blog tour stop! I feel like we're all friends now, which I have to say is probably the very best part of having a book on the shelf. Thank you for that!

  9. I loved this book! And isn't Holly the cutest!!

    Great review!

  10. I'd love to read this book!

  11. Ha! I just came and am laughing because your response to TMAS was exactly the same as mine "Wow!" So good.

    Loved the video :) Holly you are adorable :)

  12. Well! Definitely adding this one to my wishlist -- it sounds awesome. And if you had such an emotional reaction to it, that makes me want to read it all the more!

  13. now that's what i call a great bookshelf love that you showed us the places that inspired your book :)


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