Publisher: Balzer +Bray
Publication date: May 13th 2014
My rating: 3 stars
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.
Lily Graves lives amongst a family of morticians and plans on becoming one as well. Add in her dark, gothic sort of wardrobe and it’s no surprise that she’s regarded as a freak in school. This doesn’t bother her at all.
Life gets complicated for Lily when Matt, a jock and part of the popular crowd, asks her to tutor him in History. They form a friendship and more through their tutoring sessions, but Matt has a girlfriend, Erin. Erin is part of the popular crowd as well, and she’s far from nice to Lily or anyone not part of the “Tragically Normals”. Matt breaks things off with Erin and Erin hunts down Lily to confront her, which turns into an ugly meeting. Soon after Erin turns up dead and all eyes turn to Matt and Lily in suspicion.
The Secrets of Lily Graves was a mix of mystery, romance and some suspense. I had some fun with the mystery, but I had some trouble with the romance. I wanted Lily and Matt together of course, but I never really felt the mega swoon factor. There weren’t any moments I really felt a strong chemistry or longing come through, so their romance never conjured strong emotions in me.
A couple of things didn’t make sense to me either (highlight for spoiler): I didn’t get why Erin went ballistic on Lily in the opening scene after discovering Erin’s status with Matt. Also, how did Erin not know the true situation with Matt’s History grade when they were all in the same class and sitting next to each other? How did he justify the tutoring sessions? Maybe I missed a few things, I don’t know. I also felt like I missed out with these two in the end because things felt rushed.
I liked the side characters but no one besides Lily was really fleshed out, IMO, not even Matt.
I will say the mystery was fun. I had suspicions and there’s enough clues to keep the reader feeling engaged and part of the sleuthing. With some fun suspense and a dangerous reveal, I enjoyed this part of the story.
Connect with Sarah Strohmeyer: