Jan 28, 2021

ARC Review--Mortal Remains by Mary Ann Fraser


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?


I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in way compensated for this review.

Mortal Remains is Mary Ann Fraser debut YA story following teenage Lily, who works in her family's funeral home readying the newly deceased for their funeral. Then one day when an explosion happens in her neighborhood, she and her stepbrother and best friend go exploring the remains and they find a hatch. And inside this mysteriously hidden hatch they find Adam, the boy Lily met years ago who was rumored to have died.

There's a strange air of mystery surrounding Adam, he doesn't have all of his memories, he has no idea who Lily is, yet it's quite clear that he is "different." When he hears that his father had died in the explosion, he is incessant on trying to locate a metal lockbox that holds very important documents in it. Add in a few shady lurkers around the neighborhood and a whopping pile of secrets and mysteries and you would have the makings for a really great read.

Unfortunately, somewhere down the line, things fell a little flat. The shady lurkers pop up every once in awhile to spark an interest then they fizzle out. Mysteries get build up and they're ignored after a time. In between all the interesting bits you have the everyday lifestyle and trials of a teenage girl...in other words, boring stuff. By the halfway point I was really dragging and had to force myself to keep reading this one. The pacing was just terribly off. There was always so much build up and then it fizzled out when we had teenage normalcy. If you're a contemporary reader looking to get into the paranormal genre, this is definitely the read to ease yourself into that world. But for the paranormal reader, I am sad to say you will have to sift through 3/4 of the book before we even get close to the unusual happenings.

That's right, the first 3/4 of the book read very blandly. The teases of mysteries were nothing but that. It very nearly drove me bonkers. And when the big reveal finally happened in the last 1/4 of the book it was definitely a shocker, I'll admit from all my guessing, I did not land on this one! Sadly, even that shock factor didn't help too much with my rating. By this point I was already skimming things trying to get past our everyday life moments to get back to the story at large. I'd say there was some shocking reveals in this one, but by that point my interest was kind of lost already, I was merely trying to finish the book itself.

There was a bit of romance in this one too. It was the sweet budding kind between two somewhat awkward teenagers. Both don't really know what they're doing kind of thing, but the two have a kinship with one another and it ties back to a past meeting. 

All in all, Mortal Remains was an okay read. It's not one I would pick up again or readily recommend unfortunately. Though I will say again to my contemporary readers, if you find yourself wanting to get into the paranormal genre a little at a time, this one is sure to fit the bill! There's intriguing mysteries afoot with secrets galore and of course the bizarre paranormal happenings towards the end, all coupled with what I assume are contemporary fan favorites of dating and parties and all the teenage normalcy.


Overall Rating 2/5 stars


Mortal Remains releases February 2, 2021





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