My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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.
Let me tell you a little bit about my reading preferences as they relate to Dead Beautiful. If I really enjoy the writing and the writing style, not to mention where the story is going, then the book will usually get a great review from me. But if the book starts to fall apart for me as I’m approaching the ending, then I generally get pretty angry. And start to dock stars.
That’s what happened here. I really enjoyed the story, the mythology, and how Latin and other aspects of education were worked into the book. I really liked attending classes with the characters and learning what they were learning. I’ve always loved school, homework, and learning. Yes, I’m a nerd. But it’s why I read. To expand my knowledge and vocabulary about subjects I normally don’t know a lot about. That’s where I was with this book until the climax happened. I thought the ending came along rather abruptly. There were no surprises here for me. I knew who the villain was, and it was not kept a secret throughout the book. The one twist that came at the end between Dante and Renee was not surprising either. I was already 99% sure that that was going to happen. Extremely frustrating.
And I did not care for the ending. It was extremely abrupt. I’m sure that when the next book comes out, the way it ended will be rectified, but apparently book two is not due out until fall of 2012. And honestly, I didn’t enjoy it enough to wait that long. It was good, but it didn’t blow me away. And truthfully, it probably would’ve gotten two stars from me, but I did enjoy the writing and most of the characters.
What saved the book for me was the setting. I really loved the setting. I adore boarding school settings, but this one was super creepy because it involved a scary forest and underground catacombs as well. I also enjoyed the mythology and the originality of the story. So let’s be honest. I didn’t hate it. It all came down to the ending for me. If it had ended differently, it would at least be getting 4 stars from me. So that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it. You might like that kind of ending. The book is definitely original and for that, it’s worth a read.
You can purchase Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon by clicking on the Amazon link. I had purchased the Kindle version from Amazon for my ereader. Happy reading!