Thursday, April 08, 2021

#BookReview: Mortal Remains by @maryannfraser

Synopsis: Morticia. Ghoul Girl. Freak. Eighteen-year-old Lily McCrae has heard it all. But despite what the bullies say, she loves her job doing makeup for the dead for her family’s failing funeral home business. Lately, though, Lily’s best friend Mallory is too busy reinventing herself to hang out, her stepbrother Evan is preoccupied with college applications, and her father is pushing her into taking over the family business without even asking her opinion, so she feels lonelier than ever. She finds herself spending all her time in the prep room talking to her “clients.” After all, the dead are the only ones who really listen.

Then the neighboring house is leveled in an explosion, dredging up memories of Adam, the boy who lived there and saved her life the day of the accident that left her scarred and disabled, and of the things she saw there that she just wanted to forget. When she, Mallory, and Evan go exploring and find a mysterious hatch in the rubble, they discover that someone’s been trapped inside. Someone who says his name is Adam. Trouble is, Adam has been missing for four years. And this Adam doesn’t have any memory of her and seems to be keeping a lot of secrets. As she spends more time with him, she can’t help her growing feelings even as his unwillingness to be open leaves her troubled. 

Lily is forced to reconcile her feelings for Adam as together they delve into his mysterious past while she also struggles to figure out what she wants out of life and tries to fix her rocky relationships with Mallory and her parents. Will Lily ever decide who she wants to be? And is love enough to overcome truth?


Rating: 💫💫💫💫
My Review:  
I fell in love with Lily almost immediately.  I mean who doesn't love the clumsy girl who talks to dead bodies?  I often found myself at the edge of my seat while reading this one and just couldn't stop. There were so many twists in the story that kept me guessing up until the end. The characters in this story are so lovable and easy to relate to. You have the main character Lily, who was bullied most of her life for being the goth mortician's daughter that had a bad limp after a tragic accident, along with her sarcastic older brother and best friend who stumble upon a nearly dead Adam while searching the remains of his house. Adam was an interesting character.  From the beginning we know there's something not quite right about him but Fraser keeps us guessing as to what it is until nearly the end of the book. I loved watching Adam help Lily grow and figure out exactly what she wants in life. This book handles death and the loss of loved ones in a way that makes it feel ok. The story was quirky and suspenseful and perfect for a weekend read.

Go Into This One Knowing: sexual assault, mentions of suicide, and child abuse.


"This tells many familiar stories—those of a teen understanding her place within a family legacy, of friendships stretching beyond their childhood origins—but what will keep readers hooked is its protagonist’s kindness, empathy, and willingness to grow.”—Booklist


About the Author

Award-winning picture-book author-illustrator Mary Ann Fraser makes her YA fiction debut with MORTAL REMAINS. Mary Ann has written and/or illustrated over 60 books for young readers. Mary Ann’s books have been Junior Library Guild Selections, and have been awarded Book Links Book of the Year, IRA Young Readers Choice Award, and American Booksellers’ “Pick of the List.” She is a long-standing member of SCBWI as well as one of its Regional Advisors, and a founding member of the Children’s Authors NetworkPublishers Weekly called her recent picture book No YetiI Yet "wintry fun for the cryptozoologically inclined” while Kirkus praised last year’s Graham Bell Answers the Call, saying, "Calling out to history buffs and scientists, this will inspire young inventors.” Mary Ann lives in Simi Valley, CA.

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