Published by HarperCollins on 2014-05-13
Genres: Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery, Young Adult
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
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.
~ You know how you can just tell based on a title if a book is most likely for you? Well, this is definitely a title that promised to earn a spot on my Gotta Read pile.
~ I am instantly a million times happier if a book is set in October. If any month sums me up, it’s October. I wish October was a city you could live in, where Halloween was once a month and it was acceptable to wear costumes every day.
~ In the opening of the book, Lily is working in a cemetery. Which has to be one of the best high school jobs ever.
~ Then Teen Queen Erin accosts Lily, blaming her for the break up of her relationship. And then, my dearies, it’s on like Donkey Kong! Lily and Erin start cat fighting just like the ladies of the 1980’s prime time soap operas used to throw down, and IT WAS AWESOME. Erin is one crazy wench!
~ Since Lily can’t live in an actual cemetery (although that would be cool, that would make this book a ghost story instead of a murder mystery), she instead lives in a Gothic funeral home, along with her mom, aunt and grandmother. Oh, and the dead people in the basement.
~ Sara is Lily’s best friend, and someone that I share a scary connection to- we both watch Investigation Discovery a lot and can spout random facts about serial killers/murderers. Also, Sara kind of encourages the Nancy Drew side of Lily, and I always like when friends support a teen sleuth.
~ This is not really a spoiler since it’s contained in the summary, but Erin ends up dead. Suicide or murder?
~ It turns out that Lily’s mom is dating the chief of police, which aids in Lily’s Veronica Mars quest.
~ Okay, I don’t mean to be the Queen of Morbid, but if you’re going to the trouble of staging a murder to look like a suicide, make sure to leave the murder implement with the deceased. I feel like this should just be common sense, people. Stop looking at me like that. It’s not weird that I know this. It’s Homicide 101. 😉
~ While Sara and Lily call Erin and her friends the Tragically Normal, they refer to themselves as the Happily Twisted. Which makes me think of the friendship between Meredith and Christina on Grey’s Anatomy. And also, my friends, you twisted little freaks!
~ I feel like there is a HUGE clue early on in the book, which I noticed but discarded anyway. It’s actually kind of cool that it’s there, but don’t expect me to spoil it for you.
~ I know Lily’s mom is dating the sheriff and all, but I’d probably call a lawyer before allowing my child to give a dna sample to the police. Of course, it’s entirely possible that if I did have children they would be guilty little hooligans, so this is just sound advice on my part.
~ There are so many, many things I loved about this book. But I did have one big issue- Lily and Erin got into a fight a few days before Erin was murdered, the police want Lily’s dna, and yet Lily’s aunt has her assist with the embalming of not only a classmate, but a victim of whom’s murder Lily might be suspected of committing. I just can’t see that happening. Although, I liked the scene because it reminded me a bit of the John Wayne Cleaver books by Dan Wells, since he always helps his mom in a similar fashion.
~ I adore the relationship between Lily and Matt, even as I suspect him of being a murderer or setting up Lily. Of course, at one in the book I suspect just about everyone, so that might be why I found that small detail entirely overlook-able.
~ It’s the small details sometimes that make a book- like how Lily’s mom won’t let her drive because she’s seen one too many car crash victims, or how Matt taught Lily how to drive stick shift (say yes, midnighters, to any attractive person willing to teach you!), to Sara’s withered arm.
~ Lily is cyber bullied by text messages blaming her for Erin’s death, which I feel is a very realistic touch in this day and age, especially with the rumors that Matt was cheating on Erin with Lily.
~ I really liked Lily’s family and wish the book had expanded on the characters and relationships there- it had the feel of a cozy mystery in their quirkiness.
~ The whole scene where Lily is questioned by the cops is exactly why, dear midnighters, you should always, always have a lawyer present, no matter how innocent or guilty you may be. And lets face it, if you’re reading my blog you’re probably not all that innocent.
~ The story contains back flashes showing Matt and Lily’s growing relationship. I haven’t read any of Strohmeyer’s romantic contemporary novels, but now I want to simply because I liked how she wrote Matt and Lily.
~ There are all kinds of tension in this books- mysterious cars following Lily and Sara, the way the town reacts in a bit of Scream like fashion to the murder, Lily’s encounter with Matt’s dad, Erin’s tight and fragile hold on her life before her murder, etc.
~ I wish the ending had gone a little further in depth, but this book had me glued to the pages!
Lily Graves- lives in a mortuary, basically my ideal place to live.
Matt Houser- friends and maybe more with Lily, recently broke up with Erin.
Erin Donahue- tightly wound mean girl who ends up dead.
Sara- Lily’s bff and crime fighter in training.
Ruth- Lily’s mom, married into the mortuary business.
Bob- chief of police, and Ruth’s boyfriend.
Aunt Boo- Lily’s aunt, also lives with Lily and her mom and her grandmother.
Oma- Lily’s tough old bird grandmother.
Jackson- Matt’s bff.
Kate, Allie and Cheyenne- Erin’s friends and part of the Tragically Normal.
Carol and Dr. Ken- Sara’s parents.
Manny- Ruth’s assistant at the funeral home.
Alex “Stone” Bone- works at the local coffee shop, is known for drug use.
Without a doubt it was the final autopsy reports on Erin’s body! I may or may not have given a tiny little gasp after reading it.
Stop the Clock:
I really loved this book, it was so much fun to read and I really liked Lily and Sara and Matt. Even the twist made me kind of happy. I grew up reading the YA of the 90’s so I love the teen murder mysteries, especially when they are well done.
Sarah Strohmeyer— Website |Sarah Strohmeyer
The Secrets of Lily Graves gets a Midnight Book rating of: