Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

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

Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Page Count: 298
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

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This was such a great book. Who cares if it wasn't completely realistic? It was still so darn enjoyable and had more than a few interesting characters. I really loved the murder mystery aspect. The story has other things going for it too, like friendship and a borderline obsession with death and the beginnings of a love story that unfortunately (at least for me) never really got off the ground. Combine all of these elements with really great writing, and you have a wonderful contemporary that had a touch of darkness to it.

Lily was such a great character and I really liked her. She was quite different and really didn't care what anyone thought of her, and I liked that about her. She worked at her family's funeral home, which was also where they lived. I was kind of creeped out by the funeral home aspect and Lily's desire to become a mortician, but I could tell how comfortable Lily was with it, and how much she enjoyed it there. She was really smart, and I thought it was very brave of her to attempt to discover who killed Erin, even though she didn't even like her!

There wasn't much romance in this story, but I didn't miss it, and it made me appreciate Matt and Lily's friendship even more. Matt was a wonderful character. He was really sweet to Lily and very protective of her. I thought he was really cute at times and he could definitely make a girl swoon.

I must admit that Lily wouldn't have wanted to try and solve the murder if it weren't for Barney Fife and the Mayberry Police Department's total incompetence. Yes, totally unrealistic that the police were so busy picking suspects and placing blame that they overlooked the big picture and couldn't see what was right in front of them. But this just made Lily more determined to uncover the clues herself.

I liked this book more than I ever thought I would. It had a wonderful murder mystery, a touch of romance, and many unexpected twists and turns. The killer's identity remained unknown to me until the reveal, so that really increased my reading pleasure. This was a very entertaining story that was a bit dark and disturbing at times. The book was fast paced, fun and easy to read, and as long as you don't take it too seriously, you'll probably enjoy it as much as I did.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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  1. A contemporary that doesn't have that much romance? Where have you been all my life, book? I've always said that not having a romance in a book would be a breath of fresh air. And it has mystery and slight "detective" vibe to it. I'm definitely going to pick up this book soon. Great review, Sandra! :)

    1. I hope you get the chance to read this one. It's a pretty fast and fun read.

  2. Sometimes Sandra, I love to just completely suspend disbelief and just roll with a story despite all the elements that are unrealistic. This sounds like such a entertaining story overall, and even though I always love romance in my books, I do occasionally like for something other than romance to take the focus. Looking forward to giving this a try, fabulous review!

    1. This was so entertaining that I didn't even care that it was unrealistic. I like romance in my books too, but this one totally worked without it. Hopefully you can read this one soon.


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