cover image The Secrets of Lily Graves

The Secrets of Lily Graves

Sarah Strohmeyer. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $9.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-225960-8

Strohmeyer (How Zoe Made Her Dreams [Mostly] Come True) delves into murder mystery territory in a story helmed by 17-year-old Lily Graves, who has had a lifelong relationship with death. “I’d been warped, for better or worse,” she explains, “growing up in a funeral home and being lulled to sleep as a toddler by the whirr of [aunt] Boo’s embalming machine injecting pink-tinted formaldehyde into the veins of corpses in the room below.” Lily’s goth-girl attire, fearless attitude, and knowledge of mortuary science help fuel an eerie story that opens with an aggressive graveyard confrontation instigated by Lily’s holier-than-thou classmate Erin Donohue, who believes Lily is after her boyfriend, Matt. Soon after, Erin is found dead, her wrists slit in a bathtub with “surgical precision,” and Lily and Matt both become suspects. Together, they attempt to find the killer, uncovering Erin’s many secrets as they do. Lily’s acid narration and proud outsider status are high points in what’s otherwise a fairly run-of-the-mill mystery, albeit one with enough twists to keep readers guessing until the final pages. Ages 13–up. (May)