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Lisa Ann Sandell, our current Author-in-Residence, will be hanging out with us through the end of the month. Check our her posts at the readergirlz blog, then learn more about Lisa and our author-in-residence position.


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Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala

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.

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 future.

Download this month's poster and bookmark.


"Will be immensely popular among teens ...[readers] will be captivated by the theme of owning your own path, the persistence of life and closure." - VOYA

"Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous and full of suspense!" - Hunger Mountain, the VCFA Journal of the Arts

"Be prepared for an excellent, emotional read." - RT Book Reviews

"Authors like Sarah Dessen, Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Deb Caletti all have captured the teenage experience in their novels and accurately portrayed the turbulence that many teens deal with. Seattle author Holly Cupala can now add her name to that list." - Seattle Book Examiner

"Five purrs - I cannot remember the last time I was so emotionally invested in a novel." - Sharon at Sharon Loves Books and Cats

"Heartwrenchingly good ...Cupala proves herself to be a powerful writing force with this one." - Steph at Steph Su Reads

Holly Cupala


Things to Know

Holly Cupala

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On the nightstand: Books! A huge pile of books.

Favorite drink while you write: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Or lemonade.

Favorite bookstores: All for Kids, before they retired - I miss them!

Favorite library: Seattle Public Library

Pet: Only in my dreams (sniff)

Place to write: Dining room table, looking out the window

Inspiration: Dreams, friends, books, life

Dream book tour: Book tour world cruise, of course

Writer buddies: The readergirlz, and many more!

Cure for writer's block: Candy, tea, procrastination, and a timer

Favorite outfit: My grey lacy dress - it's cute and comfy and goes with everything

Laptop or longhand? Notes in long-hand, novel in laptop

Stilettos or Uggs? Stilettos...or my brown Converse

Author idol: Italo Calvino

Next up: Street Creed (tentative title) in Fall 2011, about a suburban girl who runs away from dark secrets and finds a homeless band of friends...and a gritty romance with a boy named Creed.

Additional Interviews:
Hunger Mountain
Seattle Book Examiner
Little Willow, Bildungsroman
Teens Read Too
YA Fresh


Book Trailer:

If you can't see the video above, click here.

Produced by Shiraz Cupala and Paul Michael Gordon
Featuring music by Splashdown

Exclusive Video Interview:

If you can't see the video above, click here.

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Special Projects

Operation Teen Book Drop

readergirlz and Teen Read Week

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rgz LIVE!

Discuss the book with the author herself. Join us at Twitter #rgz on Wednesday, August 18th at 6 PM PST/9 PM EST to chat live with Holly Cupala. The chat will last for one hour.


Hope for Sexually Exploited Girls



This month's outreach has a direct tie-in to the book. Here's Holly Cupala to tell us more about it:

"Even though TELL ME A SECRET is not about sexual exploitation, it is about women and secrets and dealing with shame, so I felt there was a connection there.

"Ten percent of my author proceeds go toward World Vision's Hope for Sexually Exploited Girls, helping girls all over the world who have escaped from this kind of abuse - food, medical care, job training, and if possible, a loving family situation.

"Thank you for spreading the word to help support these girls!"

Learn more about World Vision, and about this specific cause.

The following tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.

1. Playground Love - Air
2. Something About Us - Daft Punk
3. Ironspy - Splashdown
4. Gorecki - Lamb
5. Ring of Fire - Universal Hall Pass
6. Beyond Orion's Arm - Symbion Project
7. Fellow Traveler - Ginny Owens
8. Presumed Lost - Splashdown
9. Home and Dry - Pet Shop Boys
10. Cherry Blossom Girl - Air



Discuss the following questions (and more!) with other readers at the readergirlz blog.

1. Have you ever felt like you were living in the shadow of a sibling? Why or how so?

2. Xanda was wild and reckless, while Miranda was more quiet and solitary. Which sister do you resemble? Which do you admire?

3. Miranda has a huge falling out with her best friend. Have you ever had a major friendship blowout, and were you able to pick up the pieces?

4. Miranda is caught between being the good daughter and following the mysterious allure of her bad-girl sister's memory. Have you ever felt torn between two ways of being?

5. Miranda is an artist who draws labyrinths to make sense of her past and present. What's your creative outlet?

6. Miranda's parents have locked themselves behind symbolic doors and left Miranda to figure things out on her own. Do you have someone you can turn to in times of trouble?

7. After her secret is revealed, Miranda feels like an outcast. Have you ever felt like an outcast?

8. Miranda sneaks into a party incognito and finds out more than she expected. Have you ever accidentally discovered something you didn't want to know?

9. Eventually, Miranda makes friends with a group online. Have you made online friends, and do you think those friendships are as strong as the people you know in person?

10. When Miranda finds support, it's not at all who she expected. Have you ever found friends in unlikely places?

11. "We don't always know why things happen until down the road," says Nik. What do you think about that?

12. How do you think you might have handled Miranda's situation? Do you think she handled it well or badly?

13. How did you feel about the ending? Do you think you would have given Kamran a second chance?

14. Many characters in TELL ME A SECRET have devastating secrets. What kind of secret would be most terrifying for you?



Planning your own book group get-together? Here are some party ideas from the author.

Invite: A handmade flyer with a shadowy bird, bidding you to follow

Décor: Miranda's labyrinth art, mysterious photos, safety-pin fashion

Food: Appetizers from Café Shiraz (Kamran's parents' restaurant!): kebabs, hummus and pita, Mrs. Ziyal’s famous stuffed figs, pomegranates.

Movies: Juno, Speak, anything sci-fi for Kamran

Craft: A double-sided collage to show your outer and inner life




Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
For Keeps by Natasha Friend
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Borrowed Light by Anna Fienberg
The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman
The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard

S.E.X: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College by Heather Corinna



Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson




Read ahead! Get ready for our upcoming book discussions:

September: Suite Scarlett and Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson

October: Lips Touch by Laini Taylor, illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

November: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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