Published by Harper Teen on May 13, 2014
Buy the Book • 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.
The Secrets of Lily Graves is one of those rare YA books that actually manages to surprise me. I expected to enjoy this one, and I did, but I didn’t expect to by stumped by the mystery and up late into the night reading to the very end. Sarah Strohmeyer wove a fantastic mystery that kept me guessing until I turned the very last page.
The Secrets of Lily Graves is a supremely unique YA novel. Not only is it a mystery, it’s got a totally non-typical romance, a wonderful family relationship, and a heroine who took me by surprise multiple times throughout the course of the book. The mystery had to be my favorite part. I very rarely find young adult suspense novels to be suspenseful but that was not the case at all with The Secrets of Lily Graves. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book! Erin’s murderer is at large throughout the book and it’s dang near impossible to figure out who it is. Even if you do figure out who it is, the motive will totally take you by surprise. There were multiple layers to Erin’s murder and it seemed like as soon as I peeled away one layer, another one would pop up. Sarah Strohmeyer really did a great job with the mystery aspect of The Secrets of Lily Graves.
The romance was cuter than I expected. Matt and Lily have had some sort of relationship for a while but Erin was always in the way of them taking it any further. Erin’s death might not have been the greatest way to bring them together but it did work. Everyone blamed Matt for Erin’s death except Lily. Lily took it upon herself to prove everyone wrong. That brought her even closer to Matt and their friendship started to turn into something more. The build up of their relationship was so realistic and they were adorable together.
The family aspect of the story was something else unique about The Secrets of Lily Graves. You don’t see a lot of close knit families in YA books and you do in this book. Lily is very close with every member of her family. Sure she keeps some things from her mom but what teenager doesn’t? Her aunt Boo is always there for her when she doesn’t want to talk to her mom but needs an adult. Her grandmother was a bit crazy and she really cracked me up. The Graves women were totally fun.
Overall, The Secrets of Lily Graves is a great young adult mystery that I definitely recommend checking out. Sarah Strohmeyer definitely deserves every bit of praise she’s been getting for this one.
What others are saying about The Secrets of Lily Graves:
The Book Nookery’s review: “This wasn’t a terrible book, but it was completely generic, lackluster, and half-assed in every way.”
Words, Pages, and Books’ review: “Oh how I adored The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer!”
Once Upon a Twilight’s review: “The Secret of Lily Graves is great read for mystery lovers.”