Friday, 4 April 2014

Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

The Secrets of Lily Graves
The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer
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.

My Thoughts: 
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:


  1. i haven't heard the best things about this book though i do love reading cute books now and again (not these days though, totally burned out of them) and this sounds like a fun and cute book with a muder mystery.

    lovely review <33

  2. Eh, I'm sorry this swoon factor was missing for you. I totally get what you're feeling. Sometimes the romance is good, but lacks the elements that make it great. Oh, so the character building is something the author could possibly work more towards in the future? Okay. Um, I'd love to read this someday, perhaps during a warm summer night, but we'll see. I'm glad yuo enjoyed as a whole, Rachel :)

  3. I was all set to say I had not heard of this, but it is on my tbr-list because I like Sarah's books. I don't like that feeling of wondering if you missed something or if the book was just on the confusing side! But, I'll still give this a go because I'm a fan of PLL!

  4. I'm a sucker for books that are titled like this one. I need to know what the secrets are!!! LOL. I haven't heard much about this book at all, but I'd like to read a book by this author at some point because I've heard good things about some of them.

  5. Great review, Rachel! I have to admit, I read the spoiler because I don't plan on reading this book. And, yeah, I think I'd feel the same way as you about that!

  6. I've been looking forward to this one because I love a good mystery. It's a shame the romance wasn't great for you. It's disappointing when a romance doesn't entirely work.

  7. I think I could sacrifice the romance for the sake of a good mystery. I am still on the fence on this one. It does sound good.

  8. aww I hate it when I cannot click with the romance either :( sorry to hear that, sounds like it had potential otherwise.

  9. The mystery sounds good, but sorry that you didn't click with the romance

  10. I didn't want to read your spoilers cause I still might read this one but I can see it didn't work out. Well now that I know I don't think I'd enjoy any book with romance that didn't work so I might spare myself. Great review, Rachel :)

  11. The romance did seem a little sudden to me as well but I just went with the flow because it didn't play a major part.

    Now that I think of it, I don't get how Erin didn't know either O_O. Is she that self centered or?? yeah

    I was a little iffy about the ending. I figured there would be some ridiculous twist but.. I have no idea how to process what happened. It was all so awkward and random.

    This book isn't close to perfect but it was such good brain candy and I am glad to see that at least the mystery was enjoyable for you :)

    Lovely review, as always, Rachel!! :)

  12. Sorry you didn't really connect to the characters or overall story, but it's nice the mystery was fun. Sometimes that's all you need in a bok!

  13. Oh yeah. The most important ingredient of a good romance is the swoon. So that's a fail. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one quite as much, Rachel. I hope your next read will be better. :)

  14. I'm sorry to see this didn't work out as well as you'd hoped, Rachel! While I adore the cover of this, I don't think it's for me and am thrilled you reviewed this as you only confirmed my own assumptions about this book in relation to my tastes. Thanks for such a helpful review, Rachel!(:

  15. I'm reading this very soon and the synopsis really interested me. At first I think I'd like the relationship between Lily and Matt, but adding Erin to the mix really spills out the mystery and I haven't read much like that unless you count The Killing Woods. I think it could have been a great contemporary just with Lily and Matt... great review Rachel! :)

  16. I'm glad you liked this one overall Rachel, but it's a shame that there were some parts of the story that were left unexplained. That's always annoying! :| Anyway, thanks for sharing and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

  17. I remember enjoying Smart Girls get What they Want by this author. If I'm not mistaken this is the same author (?) Anyways, its disappointing that this was an average read. Thanks for sharing Rachel! :)

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

  18. Thanks for letting us know your thoughts, Rachel. I've been curious about the story after reading its blurb and it's good to know that this is a fun mystery.

  19. The only thing I really liked was the mystery, but I never swooned for the romance either. I also thought the beginning scene was a little strange.


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