Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Title:  Dead Beautiful
Author: Yvonne Woon
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion
Source:  Bought

Description from Goodreads:

A haunting love story about desire, danger, and destiny. After Renee Winters discovers her parents lying dead in California's Redwood Forest in what appears to be a strange double murder, her grandfather sends her off to Gottfried Academy in Maine, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, "crude sciences," and Latin: the Language of the Dead. It's here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they get to know each other better, Dante can't seem to control his attraction either, and their desires gradually deepen into a complex and dangerous romance. Dangerous because Dante is hiding a frightening secret. A secret so terrible, it has him fearing for Renee's life. Dante's not the only one with secrets, though. Turns out Gottfried Academy has a few of its own… Like, how come students keep disappearing? Why are the prefect-like Monitors creeping around campus during the night? And what exactly are the Headmistress and Professors really up to? Renee is determined to find out why. 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 Review:

  Renee Winters finds her parents in the woods dead.  The cause of death for both of her parents was identified as heart attacks.  Renee doesn't believe it cause they have gauze in their mouths and coins were scattered around the bodies.  Renee's new guardian- her grandfather- decides to send her to Maine to attend Gottfried Academy.  Gottfried Academy is like no other school and she will soon find out why when she starts digging into its history and the truth behind her parents' deaths. 
  Renee makes friends with Eleanor her roommate, right away and she is able to show Renee the routine and rules of Gottfried Academy.  She meets Dante Berlin there also and is immediately drawn to him.  She will learn why there seems to be a magnetic bond between them later.  He and Renee grow closer when they are paired together in class.  He also tutors her in Latin which is known as "Language of the Dead".  He's always cold and he won't kiss her on the mouth but he'll kiss her on the neck.  What can Dante be hiding and will Renee be able to dig into the school's past in time to save herself and her friends?
  Let's start off with the cover- I don't love the cover, but I like it.  It makes the story look a bit fairy taleish (is that even a word?)  and from an earlier period in time.  This was no fairy tale and it took place in the modern time period so I was thrown off a bit.  The cover is catching but just a little deceiving in my opinion.  The colors are a bit dark and she is wearing all black so I pretty much assumed that someone was gonna die eventually or it was gonna have to do with death without even reading the description.  Overall, it is an ok cover for the book.
  To be honest- I was a bit bored at the beginning, but after Dante entered the book, I was able to stay focused on the story and it was able to keep my attention.  I was a bit confused on why the students had to take Horticulture.  I just don't understand what plants and soil have to do with the story. I must have missed that somewhere in the book, but I do know it is popular among the Board of Monitors of the school.  Plants just don't interest me enough to really pay attention to all the details Yvonne gave.
  The school was very strict and I would not want to live by their rules.  They had a dress code obviously but the other rules are a bit too much.  There is to be no artificial light of any kind after dark.  They are to use candles only ( Well it sure would save on the electricity bill) but suck when it comes to reading and homework- talk about straining your eyes- the kids are gonna need glasses and that is more expensive than an electric bill.  They are not allowed to be in the opposite sex's dorms or date anyone from the school.  I think it would be impossible to ban people from liking each other if you sit with them everyday in class and grow close.  Feelings are eventually gonna develop among some of the students so they should just let it happen and keep an eye on them.  Oh well, that is just my opinion.
  I enjoyed being able to snoop and spy right along with Renee on her quest for answers.  Upon discovering their secrets, I was better able to understand the characters and their previous behavior which would clear up a lot of questions I had going on in my head.  In the end, everything starts piecing together and you won't believe the ending (If that's what you want to call it).  It's a cliffhanger ending that is gonna have you craving the next book, that is if there is one.  Please Yvonne, write a sequel so your readers don't go crazy wondering what happens next!!  

4 1/2 Stars


  1. Great review Jamie! :) Glad to have you as an addition on the blog.

  2. Great review on what sounds like a fascinating book. Off to add to my list.

  3. I would like to spend sometime in this area to understand the progress. Thanks for sharing such a nice info.

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