Friday, 14 March 2014

ARC Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer
Release Date: May 13th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss
Pre-Order: Amazon | Book Depository
Goodreads Summary
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.
The Secrets of Lily Graves can easily be summed up as addicting. Can I pack my bags and go now? Drat. I have to say more? But I don’t know what to sayyyyy because really, while The Secrets of Lily Graves was fun, it wasn’t anything special. It was a quick read and I finished it in around 2 hours and the ending confused me a little but other than that, I never really thought about it as soon as I put it down.

The author makes use of common tropes but she does it in a way that doesn’t grate on you, so while there are the popular mean girls and there the girls who are bullied by these ‘mean girls’ they also see each other as humans. When Erin dies, the main character is shocked; this person wasn’t nice to her, at all, but a young life was lost and Lily understands the significance of that.

Lily as a character was really fun. She is original, she likes weird things and she is proud of it. She doesn’t want to be normal and it doesn’t matter how much crap people give her, she aien’t gonna change. Hell she dressed up as a normal human being for Halloween because that’s the scariest thing she can think of. I mean doesn’t that make you like her already?

The love interest, Matt is definitely one of the better love interests I've come across. The author takes the jock trope and puts a spin on it. He’s a jock, he probably isn’t all that smart, but he isn’t a complete bully. When one of his friends was bullying a girl for her weight, he started making fun of his friend in a friendly manner to take the attention off of the girl. This also happened before Lily registered on his radar so he gets the brownie point. He isn’t an asshole either! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? He doesn’t pull the passive aggressive shit. He does have depth to him but it doesn’t turn him into a character you pity but instead one you cannot help but like because it makes him more human than his status as a jock does.

I love her family too. They are an odd bunch with her mom being over protective, her aunt being really cool and her grandma just being silly. They don’t play a major role when it comes to the actual happenings but I like that the author attempted at making them seem somewhat normal seeing that they live in a funeral home (which by the way is kind of awesome).

The romance is adorable. It’s almost non-existent but that’s because there is a mystery to solve. These two are not a case of insta-attraction or even opposites attract. They became friends over the course of the summer when Matt asked her to tutor him for a history re-take because he failed the first time around. When Erin is found dead, he is the number one suspect and Lily doesn’t doubt him for a second because she knows him well enough to know he wouldn’t kill her. He hardly had the guts to break up with her, why would he kill her? So over the course of the book, little by little, they become even closer. Don’t go into this book looking for a lot of romance, go into this book expecting a nicely developed romance that is adorable.

The plot is where things get interesting. You have a bunch of amateur sleuths trying to figure out the truth behind how Erin was murdered. The primary suspects are Matt and Lily because everyone assumes they were an ‘item’ and so one of them might have ‘offed’ Erin so the two could be together. Lily, who aspires to join the family business, knows that only a professional could have done it because of the accuracy of the cuts on her wrists. The problem is that no one is telling the whole truth, everyone is hiding something and it’s up to Lily to figure out who murdered her since the police is too busy looking in the wrong direction. Slowly, Lily starts unravelling the mystery.

It’s the twist at the end that kind of throws you off; it’s not so much as unpredictable as it is just… awkward. The author puts hints throughout the whole book so it doesn’t come out of nowhere but at the same time, I am not completely sure how I feel about it. Even after thinking it through I am not sure whether I am annoyed or whether it makes sense. I’ll figure it out one day when my mind wanders to this book again.

All in all, if you’re looking for a quick comfort read, grab this and devour it like I did. It’s fun, it’s got good characters, no slut shamming and the romance was cute. The mystery was pretty fun too and really, what else can you want from a comfort read?


  1. I do enjoy a book I can devour! Great review!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. This sounds like a fun read, I might pick it up sometime. Especially for a sweet romance! Great review! I'm glad you didn't pack your bags and leave in the beginning. :D

  3. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)14 March 2014 at 20:28

    Sometimes all I need is a book that's both entertaining and entirely forgettable. At least I don't have to get too emotionally invested. The confusing ending would bother me, though, I like my endings neat and precise.
    I'm not sure about this one, I think I'll save it for a sleepless night. Sounds like an excellent way to pass the time.

  4. "Growing up in a house full of female morticians, Lily Graves . . . "

    PUNS *snickers* So I have a question--how can a book that you make sound as awesome as you do, only rate 3 stars? It donna make no sense. I don't think I've ever read a book and liked it as much as it sounds like you did, and then POOF it's gone. But I'm definitely going to read this one, so maybe I'll find out ;) Excellent review!

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Rashika! The synopsis didn't interest me that much, but now I'm looking forward to reading this one after your review. I love non-stereotypical characters, adorable romances, PLUS a mystery that needs to be solved. Adding this to my "to-read-soon" shelf, ha! Fantastic review!

  6. LOL
    I suck at opening phrases to I say whatever comes to mind (without filter) :
    Thanks Charlene!

  7. Me too. I like clean cut endings but I also like some openess so that my imagination can flow free but yeah. The twist was just... yeah.. the ending was not that bad but the twist kind of killed it since it was RIGHT before the end.

    IT WAS. I actually finished it because I was having a sleepless night!

    I hope you enjoy it whenever you get around to it Maja!! :)

  8. IT'S SO PUNNY ISN'T IT?? (and it took me longer than it should have to get it).

    ... It was the twist.. I was going to give it a 3.5/4 but the twist made me lower the ending some because I was so confused about how I felt about it.

    I know you don't like Dan Brown but that would be a good example. I mean his books FLY BY and then as soon as you put it down you forget what happened and move on to your next read :P

    Thanks Jessica!! :)

  9. ME TOO! :D
    I hope you enjoy it, Aimee!! :D

  10. I really hope you like this one Rachel!!! :D
    I am probably going to be stalking you to see whether you did or not :P

  11. I don't remember ever seeing this one but I'm glad I know about it now! Mystery and a good love interest? Sounds pretty fun! I've always had luck with Balzer + Bray books so will probably check this one out.

  12. Balzer + Bray books usually work out pretty well for me too so I kind of went into this not expecting to be disappointed and I was pleased ^_^
    I hope you enjoy this one Alise! :)


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