Coming from sunny California, the mist-shrouded Academy was a shock, with its strange customs, ancient curriculum and study of Latin - the language of the dead. Then I discovered that the school has more than one dark secret... I also discovered Dante. Intelligent, elusive and devastatingly gorgeous, most people can't decide whether they love, hate or fear him. All I know is that when we're together, I've never felt more alive - or more afraid.
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The opening of the book is weak. You're treated to only one chapter of Renée's life in California. The reader never meets her parents and barely meets her friends there. Considering that she spends the rest of the novel mourning her parents, and at least a few chapters missing her friends, it's rather awkward to never get to see what her relationship was like with them. There aren't even really any flashbacks.
Most annoying to me were the scenes that Woon obviously got from popular teen pop culture. Any differentiations in the scenes will be put in quotation marks.
Scene #1: The Twilight
Girl: walks into science class and gets teamed up with broody hot guy to be lab partners for the year.
Guy: talks to her, touches her hand with his cold hand. (Guy: sits as far from her as possible.)
Guy: runs out of class like the hounds of hell are behind him.
Girl: is sad.
Guy: comes to class, but ignores girl. Also, he knows all the answers.
Guy: suddenly changes his mind and is overly friendly one day.
Girl: is thrilled.
Scene #2: The Mean Girls
Girl: gets a C on her Latin exam. (Girl: gets an A on her math exam.)
Guy: tells her he's pretty awesome at Latin and offers to tutor her. (Girl: asks guy who's awful at math to tutor her because he's hot.
Girl: gets better grades. (Girl: does not do this...they align on the next step.)
Girl: does not want the sexiness of Latin tutoring to end, so she purposely gets bad grades again.
Teacher: is not pleased.
Although I didn't especially like any of the characters, I didn't hate them exactly either. Sometimes I almost liked Renée with her fire to figure things out, but then, suddenly, she would not want to know something or she would get a clue and be too blind to put things together. For example, Dante, the hottest and most mysterious boy at the new school, keeps trying to tell her something about himself and his secret. And she keeps not forcing the issue. They get interrupted and she goes about her life and DOES NOT THINK ABOUT IT. Who does that?!?! I would totally have refused to talk about anything else until he told me.
Despite an obvious plot (I saw all the twists coming from miles away, because of conventions and foreshadowing) and so-so characters, Dead Beautiful was a surprisingly fun read. The cliffhanger ending, though anticipated, did definitely stoke my desire to find out how the heck Woon's going to resolve this situation.
P.S. I super wish my mom had a closet full of crazy awesome clothes that I could wear now! So jealous of that. Also of the fact that Renée can give herself a perfect haircut.more
This book had an original story that had you guessing all the way through. The romance was good,and has one of those instant love relationships that actually makes sense. The lead character could be frustrating at times,but I liked her. She felt refreshing and had a strong personality.
Overall a pretty good book!