Monday, December 08, 2014

Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

Title: The Secrets of Lily Graves
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: May 6th 2014
Pages: 298
Genre: Young Adult contemporary mystery
Source: Bought
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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 rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I'd never read a Sarah Strohmeyer book before, but I'd heard they were a ton of fun, and that's exactly what I got from The Secrets of Lily Graves. I've read a lot of bad reviews of this one, complaining that the story is unoriginal and predictable, and I can totally see where those reviewers are coming from. But... I just didn't care. This novel was so much fun to read that I didn't care about the little things and just flew right through it, and that's all that really mattered to me.

I really enjoy mysteries, and because I haven't read a ton of them, I think I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to mystery storylines - I don't care if they're not the best thought-out, but I love these fun YA mysteries. I liked the mystery in The Secrets of Lily Graves, and I didn't see the resolution coming at all; others thought it was predictable, but I for one was on my toes throughout the novel. Looking back, the murderer isn't the most creative choice, but I didn't see it coming, and I thought it was suspenseful throughout.

My favorite part of The Secrets of Lily Graves was, by far, the setting of the funeral home. I've read one other book about the daughter of funeral home owners, but I felt like I learned a lot more about the business in this one. I know it's kind of morbid, but I found the little details we learn about her family's work fascinating! I especially liked reading about her aunt's work of getting the bodies ready to be displayed - I never knew how much of a science that was! 

The characters in this novel are pretty good. Although she's a very typical YA heroine, I really liked Lily; she has a very strong voice that I really enjoyed. Her whole family is great: I loved reading about her mom, her badass aunt, and her grandma, who are all involved in the morticians' business. One element of the family that is underdeveloped, though, is Lily's father: we learn that he's dead, but that's all, and I wish that had been explored more. Then there's Matt, the love interest. He's okay - he has some redeeming qualities, but he's still a very cookie-cutter, stereotypical popular jock who's secretly nice and falls for the outcast girl. Sara, Lily's best/only friend, is a really unique and interesting character, too. The only issue I had with her is that her name is Sara, almost like the author's name, which I just thought was kind of strange...

That's pretty much all I have to say about The Secrets of Lily Graves. No, it's not going to be a book that impacts my life or that will stay on my mind forever, but it was a fun (if somewhat generic), quick read, and I really enjoyed it. If you're looking for something quick and fun that doesn't require a lot of thinking, you should definitely give The Secrets of Lily Graves a try.


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