Ages 12 and up
On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renee Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she’d ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.
After the funeral Renee’s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious boarding school in Maine, where she finds herself studying subjects like Philosophy, Latin, and the “Crude Sciences.”
It’s there that she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome and elusive boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they grow closer, unexplainable things begin to happen, but Ren e can’t stop herself from falling in love. It’s only when she discovers a dark tragedy in Gottfried’s past that she begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems. Little does she know, Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.
Dead Beautiful is both a compelling romance and thought-provoking read, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.
My ****4 Star**** Review
The first thing that really interested me in this story was the classical education Renee receives. Now, things are definitely a bit different for her taking into account the paranormal aspects of the story, but I still loved all the Latin, talk of philosphies, and ancient histories. I homeschool my children, and they are being classically educated. So, that aspect of the book was really COOL to me! I thought there were a lot of great quotes, but since my copy wasn’t purchased, but received via NetGalley, I’m going to refrain from sharing any.
I really enjoyed Dante’s character, and the sense of humor he has with Renee. There was such a mystery as to where things were going. There were some things that were very obvious, but I had no idea how the story would end. It was so intriguing, and I found it hard to put down well into the early hours of the morning – I’m talking 3am here!
One downside to the story for me was that I kept reading things that reminded me of Twilight ~ science lab scene, the way he acted after his cut immediately healed, etc. In some ways I suppose it’s impossible not to be reminded of Twilight with the similarities in setting (high school) and genre (paranormal), but it distracted me. I was also a little put off by Renee’s willingness to tell her friends about EVERYTHING. It seemed like she should want to keep some things to herself. Then there were a couple times that she just seemed CLUELESS. I must note, too, that I got confused a few times, but everything is eventually explained. Then the climax seemed a little weak after all the build up.
So, this story had a few issues for me, but I still thought it was really good! I didn’t want to put it down till I reached the end. Then when I got to the end, I was like, “WHAT?!?!?” Yeah, crazy ending!! I was soooo thrilled, though, when I learned that it’s a series and not a stand alone. Let me repeat one more time – it had some issues for me, but I still REALLY liked it! 4 STARS!!!!
*I received a copy via NetGalley and Disney Book Group in exchange for an honest review.*
About the Author ~ Yvonne Woon
Yvonne Woon grew up in Massachusetts. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in fiction from Columbia University. She lives in Manhattan.