Title: Dead Beautiful
Author: Yvonne Woon
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publication: September 21, 2010
On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renée 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 Renée’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 Renée 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.
Read it all that very same night. Now I can't say that it was one of the most amazing books I've ever read but it was most definitely entertaining and pretty intelligent too, which is something one can't always say about YA books with focuses on boarding schools.
This school, this adventure, it was DIFFERENT. There was a beautiful concentration on LANGUAGE and, actually, one of my favorites. Latin. The author managed to construct a world where Latin was suddenly necessary again, for a very specific purpose. She did this without making the work feel either too texty-booky or show-offy.
Not to mention we've got the philosophy of death and an entirely NEW idea about what really happens to the soul when you die.
Throughout this book I was constantly "Oooh"ing and "Ahhh"ing at the creative twists the author was throwing in to the mix of a general story of coming-of-age, falling-in-love, and trying-not-to-die. You know. Same old same old.
Pretty predictable love-story, but I liked Dante (our main incredibly handsome love interest) and Renee enough to appreciate their love for each other. I also REALLY appreciated the fact that Dante actually wasn't present through that much of the book. Renee was truly the focus. Thumbs up there.
This one missed a 5/5 for me because it started to drag on and towards the end became somewhat predictable. Oh... and because the COVER ART DOES NOT EVEN REMOTELY RESEMBLE WHAT OUR MAIN CHARACTER IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE.
Our "Brown wavy hair, sunkissed skin with freckles" main character is not your Lilly white skinned, freckle free, "I've never seen the sun a day in my life", cover model with stick straight hair. In further books the cover even drops the brown hair part (she miraculously becomes blonde).
Oops. Off topic!
At any rate it's definitely a nice book to pick up, especially if you're into dark YA and fun new ways of looking at Philosophy and Dead Languages.
Until Next Blog,
Auggie is the 27 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk, a part-time Reference Librarian with a degree in Anthropology and a nearly completed Masters in Library Science. A bibliobibuli by nature and a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once). She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.