by Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher-Balzer + Bray
Released- May 13th 2013
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:
Already thought of as a freak for living in a funeral home and dressing up in Goth that would make Morticia Addams proud, Lily Graves isn't exactly the most popular girl in school, but it makes things so much more complicated when Erin, the towns saint thinks that Lily is to blame for Matt breaking up with her and attacks Lilly because of it. But when Erin is found dead the next day it turns out that it wasn't suicide that killed her, but murder and Matt and Lily are the main suspects.
You know, I never really expected to enjoy The Secrets of Lily Graves the way I did. It surprised me in the best way possible which is always a huge plus in my book.
In a way this is pretty much your standard whodunit mystery. Conflict happens, someone dies, someone gets blamed for it and then we try to figure out who did it and why, but that's the beauty of these kind of books, when done right, it's challenging, it's consuming and it's dame fun trying to solve the case before you hit the last page.
This would be my first book by Sarah Strohmeyer, but it wont be my last, I really enjoyed her sharp take on this genre. It was clever, calculating and very unpredictable and had me on my toes trying to guess who the culprit was throughout the story but was mighty shocked once we found out who it was and why.
But what I found so interesting about this particular mystery was the way Strohmeyer took her time and gave the readers a good look into the entire situation before the death and after. The beginning felt like the calm before the storm, nothing seemed to stand out and it never felt dire or intense, but once we hit a turning point in the plot, it instantly changes the tone of the entire story making it intriguing and suspenseful. I also loved the fact that I could never quite grasp who the murderer was, it seemed so obvious, but then the author throws in a loop that I nevah saw coming!
I really enjoyed all of these characters. They are all well developed and played their parts well. Lily's family of female morticians were quirky and caring and brought amusement into the mix. I didn't even seem to mind the mean girls in this one. I mean, I hated how they treated Lily, but I liked that they had a bigger role then just being the spiteful mindless minions we usual find in books.
But it was Lily who was the easiest to connect with and like. She's the kind of girl that owns who she is. She doesn't care what people think of her. She's smart and brave and despite how people treat her she never sinks to their level and tries to help them deal with their loss. I also loved that Matt turned out to be more then your typical jock. He's sweet and funny and protective and yes, adorable.
The romance is on the light side, but given the very busy murder mystery, anything more would have felt rushed or fake. Still, the moments we did get were perfectly wonderful and made my heart happy.
All in all, I had a lot of fun with this book. It has a great blend of mystery and romance with exciting twists and unexpected turns and has a brilliant cloud of doubt lingering throughout the novel. It was exciting and entertaining and even quite disturbing. This is the stuff that makes this escape so fun and I look forward to reading more books by Strohmeyer. Well done!
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