The Secrets of Lily Graves
Genre: Mystery, YA
Publication date: May 13th 2014
by Balzer & Bray
With the intrigue of Pretty Little Liars and plenty of romance, bestselling author Sarah Strohmeyer weaves a story of secrets and lies—set in a funeral parlor.
Growing up in a house of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. She knows that perfect senior-class president Erin Donohue isn’t what she seems. She knows why Erin’s ex-boyfriend, hot football player Matt Houser, broke up with her. And she also knows that, even though she says she and Matt are just friends, there is something brewing between them—something Erin definitely did not like.
But secrets, even ones that are long buried, have a way of returning to haunt their keeper.
So when Erin is found dead the day after attacking Lily in a jealous rage, Lily's and Matt’s safe little lives, and the lives of everyone in their town of Potsdam, begin to unravel. And their relationship—which grew from innocent after-school tutoring sessions to late-night clandestine rendezvous—makes them both suspects.
As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim.
-A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review-
After having a long stint of bad luck when it came to murder mysteries The Secrets of Lily Graves came at me like a breath of fresh air. It’s engrossing, it’s twisty and it managed to take me completely by surprise.
Lily Graves hasn’t had the most traditional of upbringings. She’s been raised in a small home attached to her families business which just happens to be a funeral home. She’s grown up fascinated with the dead and has even worked on embalming bodies at a very young age. I loved how quirky and unconventional Lily was. She had a good sense of humour and she was really smart. Sure she got a little love sick over Matt (the boy she’s crushing on) but what teenaged girl doesn’t go through that. Making this matter much more complicated is the fact that Matt is the longtime boyfriend of perfect poster-girl, Erin. Once Lily starts tutoring Matt for him to pass a make up exam and to continue to be able to play football their feelings start to grow until everything takes a turn for the worse. After attacking Lily in the cemetery over Matt, Erin turns up dead of an apparent suicide. But things can’t be that clean cut in a YA murder mystery, it soon comes to light that Erin’s death was a homocide that was staged to look like a suicide.
What was so perfect about this book was that I wasn’t able to see any of the twists coming. I can honestly say that I had pretty much no freaking clue at any point in the novel who was responsible for murdering Erin. I knew for sure who DIDN’T do it, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, put my finger on who DID do it. What’s even better is that when it does come to light it is so perfect and makes everything that happens in the novel make so much sense. Helping this mystery keep you engrossed is the pacing, it’s very quick and doesn’t really let up. Even in the chapters where Lily is remembering her budding romance with Matt things stayed interesting and didn’t slow down at all. At first when I had seen that there were entire chapters dedicated to her remembering things I was worried that I would get bored but in the end that was a silly concern because it just didn’t happen. I think every little minute detail that added to the mystery was revealed at just the right time and as I said, the way it all comes together is just perfect.
If I had to say that anything was a bit lacking in The Secrets of Lily Graves it would probably be in the way of character development. We don’t really get to the heart of our characters here but that wasn’t something that left me wanting more because the focus was on the mystery of the story. I felt like I got to know Lily really well and I even came to really like Matt. The character who I thought was the most fun was Lily’s aunt Boo. Seriously, what is it with quirky aunts? I always end up loving them and wanting so much more from them! This novel is deliciously dark and supremely twisty and I think anyone looking for a good murder mystery will appreciate the ride it takes them on.