Thank you so much to Sterling Teen for the giveaway win! I won a finished copy of Mortal Remains and found it to be a quick and entertaining YA contemporary / paranormal read.
- Title: Mortal Remains
- Series: N/A
- Author: Mary Ann Fraser
- Publisher & Release: Sterling Teen, 2/2/20
- Length: 360pg
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟⚡ for Young Adult Readers and fans of YA
Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
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?
Wow, for once I am actually in the minority of favorable opinions on this one. GoodReads seems split but hey, I enjoyed it.
Lily works in her family’s funeral home. She is extremely talented at the makeup and fixing required to make bodies presentable for open casket funerals, although this profession earns her quite a bit of bullying and teasing from peers. Lily had an accident as a child as well that left her slightly crippled, and now she finds her solace talking to bodies and honoring their lives.
Measure twice, box once
Adam was the neighbor kid that Lily used to hang out with until his father chased her off. Did she see a body one night?? When Adam’s house is blown up and he is found weeks later in an underground laboratory, with none of his old memories, all weirdness breaks loose.
Tread lightly on hallowed ground
I think the relationship arcs in this book are great. Finding Adam starts to slowly bring out the self confidence and self acceptance that Lily needs to find her own path. The father wants her to take over the mortuary business, the step mom is kind of just mean, actually they both are. Lily needed an external source to start seeing her actual worth. Watching her gain the confidence to deal with the bullies AND her family was nice. Both teens have a great character arc.
Each death helps us to become more human
The supernatural part includes Adam and whatever his father was doing down in that underground lab. No spoilers here but the mystery involved kept the story moving as they searched for answers about his life.
Don’t lose yourself in the narrative of death and dying
There was a bit of teen partying too, Lily had one friend that still tried to bring her out into the social world of her peers, with mixed results. There are not so subtle hints at party safety and drunk driving included. These parts were good to round out the lives of the characters and give them that real teenager aspect.
Leather has no place in a mortician’s wardrobe
So yes – a cute budding romance (only to kissing, nothing more), a paranormal mystery, also a murder mystery, mortuary science, a girl overcoming her fears and her bullies, and friends sticking together. No language or sex or anything else that kids really don’t need to be seeing either.
I would happily recommend this one to teens and fans of YA!