Published by Balzer + Bray on May 13th, 2014
Genres: mystery-thriller, young adult
Gone Girl meets Six Feet Under in bestselling author Sarah Strohmeyer's romantic YA mystery about a girl who must unravel a web of lies in her small town before it's too late.Descended from a long line of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. So after senior-class president Erin Donohue—perfect saint to the community—turns up dead, Lily believes it's her job to find the culprit. But Lily has feelings for Erin's ex-boyfriend, Matt, which makes both of them suspects and makes Lily's investigation . . . complicated. As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, between genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim.Fans of Sara Shepard who enjoy realistic contemporary fiction with a dash of mystery will love the secrets, lies, and romance swirling in this sexy, intriguing novel.
Okay, so this book wasn’t that bad. The opening few chapters were actually kind of great and exciting, but it quickly deteriorated after the introduction of The Boy. You know him, that boy that derails plots and isn’t even that interesting? Him. My absolute lack of fucks given about the characters and the fact that I figured out the killer from the very first mention of him means that The Secrets of Lily Graves is getting the big, fat DNF stamp.
To be honest, I didn’t like the romance at all. Most of what I know about Matt is that he is ERIN’S BOYFRIEND. If he is messing around in any way with Lily, he is automatically a human trashcan. If he is going behind his girlfriend’s back, he is NOT worth your time, Lily. Stahp – he did it to her, and he will do it to you. So how, knowing that, am I supposed to root for this romance to go Lily’s way? I can’t. I honestly can’t do it. Aside from all that though, Matt was bland and his characterization made no sense. I mean, if the main character is literally saying something about another character’s shitty characterization, your book has no hope.
Now, Lily wasn’t that bad. I liked her voice and how she didn’t miss a beat to deliver a swift punch of sarcasm. But a lot of her personality felt forced. It wasn’t enough that she worked in the embalming room of the funeral home she lived in, she was also obsessed with death and all sorts of rituals surrounding it, and took her time to style her goth clothes and “silk as ravenfeathers’ black hair. I dressed like that in high school – I wore fishnets and combat boots and black makeup – and I hung around kids who did the same. But the thing was that it never felt like I was putting together an image; I was just wearing what I liked. So when I read about kids who are deliberately picking out what they wear based on what people think of them, and then going on about how they don’t care about what people think of them, it doesn’t sound authentic to me.
Of course, the biggest blow this book took was how easy it was to stop the killer. I’m not going to give it away, but he practically walks onto the page with a giant “Arrest Me” sign on his chest. But what made me finally put the book down was when Lily got escorted out of school by a pair of cops without her parents or lawyers present. Not only that, though, the school/police officials made sure that she was seen by Matt, who himself was also a suspect in the murder. It doesn’t make sense; this would not happen in the real world. Lily wasn’t even being arrested, but she was taken off school grounds by police officers. This. Doesn’t. Happen.
It’s a shame because I was really looking forward to this one. I started flipping through my May ARCs and whoops, didn’t put this one down for 45 minutes. I was also really excited that the funeral director, Lily’s mother, was named Ruth – hello, there, Six Feet Under, don’t think I didn’t see you lurking in the background! It’s too bad. Oh well, onto the next!
This book checks off the “Starts with ‘S, P, R, I, N or G'” square.