Sunday, June 20, 2010
With her engrossing, fast-moving debut novel, Tell Me a Secret, Holly Cupala (a most cherished readergirlz) pulls back the curtains on the life a so-called "bad girl" named Xanda left behind—the vacancies that erupt, the questions that go unanswered, the growing up that has now been left to Xanda's younger sister, Rand. Rand is an artist, she's smart, she's a good soul. She's also pregnant and confused, suddenly running with the wrong crowd, not sure who she can trust, who she can turn to. High school can savage a girl with self-doubt, and savages abound in this well-drawn cast of characters. Rand finds allies in the most unexpected places. She learns, too, to trust herself.
Cupala has a terrific knack for capturing the bang and bruise of the high school in-crowd, not to mention the terrible power of gossip. She keeps her story ratcheting forward but never at the expense of character development. She delivers, with Tell Me a Secret, a high-octane tale. It's going to have people talking all summer.