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.
First Sentence: “Hey, Lily.”
Ever since I saw the cover of The Secrets of Lily Graves, I had always wanted to read it. Honestly, The Secret of Lily Graves was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I don’t know why, but something about the cover just called to me. Add the fact that The Secrets of Lily Graves is also a murder mystery and I need the book in my hands, now. Even as the negative reviews for The Secrets of Lily Graves came pouring in on goodreads, I didn’t care. It didn’t diminish any of my determination to read this one – I was that dedicated to the book (and the cover). I didn’t go into The Secrets of Lily Graves with any high expectations since I had the negative reviews in mind, but I was still really disappointed with the book. What’s going around in my head in circles right now is what a waste of a good premise and a gorgeous cover. What a waste.
The call that changed everything came the following afternoon while I was crammed into a casket, up to my eyeballs in white eyelet. (ARC 17)
Where do I even start? How about what I briefly stated above, that The Secrets of Lily Graves didn’t reach the maximum potential its premise had. The Secrets of Lily Graves wasn’t at all “creeptastic” like my friend Jon from Scott Reads It puts it. A huge majority of the book was just boring. My question is, what kind of mystery, suspense, and thriller is supposed to be boring? Answer: None. A mystery, suspense, and thriller book being boring is the opposite of the definition of a mystery, suspense, and thriller book. In fact, The Secrets of Lily Graves didn’t feel like a thriller or suspense book at all. It just felt like a book with a mean girls premise and a who done it? question. Even the Who Dunn It? show was a lot better and definitely more entertaining than The Secrets of Lily Graves.
And the romance. Look at the summary. Doesn’t it imply make it appear that there indeed is romance in the book? Goodreads even says that The Secrets of Lily Graves is of the romance genre. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you guys, but there was no romance. In fact, the non-existent romance was beyond confusing. I can’t really explain it well without giving you any spoilers, but even as I was typing up a spoiler-filled paragraph that would be blocked for people who don’t want to read it, I had a very hard time describing the non-existent romance. The best and shortest way to describe it without any spoilers is that Lily and Matt are not together and are just friends…and then suddenly they are madly in love in the last few chapters. Like, what? Where was the build-up? The tension? The chemistry? Even those mini-flashbacks between Lily and Matt didn’t help me, but just confused me even more.
All I could say was, “Matt.”
Later, they would tell me that all he could say was, “Lily.” (ARC 295)
There were also lots of minor things that didn’t make sense and was left unsolved. One example is Lily. Lily was such a weak character – there were many inconsistencies in her personality. At one moment, she is so smart she knows how fast a heart beats per minute (probably a part of her job to know, but highly unlikely since it just doesn’t make sense). Lily also knows what a “buccal smear” is (it’s a procedure where “they [swab] the inside of your cheek to get a sample of your DNA” (40-41), a fact which Lily says that everyone should obviously know, which excuse me, I didn’t know), which proves that Lily is crime smart, but at the next moment, Lily doesn’t know what it means when the police searches her house bringing warrants. Yeah, I was just busy facepalming at these simple inconsistencies.
Oh yes, and before I forget to mention this, the title is a lie. There is no secret about Lily or Matt. There was this one part in the book where Lily briefly mentions that Matt has a secret, but his secret is just so glaringly obvious right from the start that it’s not a secret. For the title to be “secrets,” plural, is extremely misleading.
The one and only thing I did enjoy reading about in The Secrets of Lily Graves was Sarah’s obsession with crime shows. (In case you guys don’t know, I love watching crime shows. I watch at least 3 new ones every week.) Whenever the book mentioned crime shows like Deadly Women (yay! I’m not the only one who knows that show exists – it is the best crime show out there in my opinion) and Happily Never After, I was just flailing with love.
“There was this episode of Happily Never After where this guy from Boston claimed he and his wife were carjacked on their way back from a birthing class when-” (ARC 162)
I’ve sadly never seen that episode.
Overall, there is no doubt that I strongly recommend you guys to skip this one. If you’re looking for a great murder mystery to read about, I recommend you guys to read Far From You by Tess Sharpe instead.
And before I end my review, as immature as this might seem, I just HAVE TO do this. The main character’s name is Lily Graves. Where do you think she works and like to hang out in? (Answer: Lily Graves works in a funeral home and love hanging out at the cemetery. How PUNNY.)