Title: The Secrets of Lily Graves
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Let me start off by saying The Secrets of Lily Graves is not a romance novel. Yes, there’s a teaser of romance in the book description, but that’s not what this book is about. It’s about the secrets that surround the lives of the characters and how they unravel after a murder. The twists and turns are excellent, and I am happy to say I couldn’t see the ending coming.
Lily Graves is the daughter of a mortician, living in the house where the dead go to get ready for their funeral. Lily is the social outcast because of her family and how morbid others consider her to be. She’s had one best friend, and that’s really about it. So when Matt Houser starts to hang out with her, even though it’s because she’s helping him with school, she finds happiness in her new friendship. Yet when Matt breaks up with his girlfriend Erin, Lily is immediately the suspect. Things become even more twisted when Erin is found dead, murdered, the day after attacking Lily. With Matt and Lily at the center of the focus, she has to work hard to find out the truth.
I liked Lily. She was her own person and didn’t try and change to have more friends. She knew that if people didn’t like who she was, she didn’t need to have them in her life. Of course, this doesn’t mean she’s immune to the comments she receives, but she chooses to look beyond them. I think she’s a very well written teen. A little head strong and stubborn, like continuing to see Matt even though everyone tells her to stay away, but she’s also a little insecure about things. Her determination to figure out who killed Erin really drove the novel.
Matt was fine as a love interest. He’s a little too perfect for my tastes, but since their relationship wasn’t the main reason for the novel, it didn’t bother me too much. He’s sweet and a little corny, but it works. It makes for an interesting character study, when he is shown to be one way with Lily, but still have a mountain of evidence piled against him in Erin’s death.
There were a few things about the plot of the novel that I found to be just a little too convenient, but given how long working around those instances would have been, I can forgive. Things like Lily’s mother dating the chief of police and getting little pieces of information she would have otherwise never known seemed a little to convenient, but it worked. I was never really sure where the novel was going to go and until the very end, I had no idea how the murder case would be solved. When everything finally came to light, I was shocked, but in a good way.
The Secrets of Lily Graves is an excellent look into the secrets a town can hold and how those secrets can destroy. Everyone has a secret and while some are harmless, others lead to death. It’s one of the better Young Adult mystery thriller novels I’ve read. Definitely worth a read.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.