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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.

"I really enjoyed this book, it was fast moving, gutsy and engaging. Once I picked it up I found it very hard to put it down. The plot was just fantastic, and original... What I loved most was the use of classic literature to help tell the story... It grabs you, and when it finishes you don't really know what to do with yourself. Superb." - The Book Bag

Published: Usborne Publishing Ltd an imprint of Vearsa Limited on
ISBN: 9781409537540
List price: $1.59
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I went back and forth on this book quite a bit--until the end. Whoa. Not what I was expecting, and this was a good thing. Great, even. I really enjoyed Yvonne Woon's writing itself; many times the way in which a particular scene or phrase was written really surprised me, and in a good way. Some things just gave me pause, but many others were lyrically beautiful. The storyline was actually very different; though on the surface much of it seems to be same-old, same-old; it really isn't. She's brought a truly fresh take to the somewhat stale formula of loney-girl-meets-loner-guy-with-a-mystery story. However, there were a few aspects of the story that just seemed a little off, even somewhat overdone. Quite a few times in the story, Renee Winters veers oddly between knowing nothing and accepting all. I would have expected a bit more of a transition between the two. Her shift between you-lied-to-me-how-dare-you and ah-it-all-makes-sense-to-me-now-good-because-I-still-love-you-after-all was a bit abrupt; however, I think as Ms. Woon becomes a more polished writer the awkwardness will go away. I hope to see more from this author, because I really did enjoy her first effort.more
I'm a sucker for YA that takes place an unusual academy (think Harry Potter or Knightly Academy sorts of schools). Ignore the cover. 'Dead Beautiful' is a fun read. I quite enjoyed it. The two leads were great, especially bad boy Dante. I recommend taking a peek at this title, though warn you, you might have a few questions towards the end!!!more
For the most part, I enjoyed Dead Beautiful, contrary to a friend's expectations. It was a really quick read and definitely fascinating, even when frustrating. Don't let the high page count fool you; this is a really quick read. The pace of the book is pretty fast, if anything, too fast.

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
I really liked this book. Okay yes in some aspects this book is similar to other ya books. Where some girl meets a beautiful boy who is all dangerous and brooding that she instantly falls in love with,but it wasn't just that.

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!

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Renee discovers her dead parents in the middle of a forest. There is something mysterious about their deaths that she has never felt comfortable about. She goes to live with her grandfather who decides to move her across the country to attend Gottfried academy for “her safety.” As soon as Renee starts there she knows there is something different about this school. The school monitor seems out to get her, she finds that she has a keen ability to find dead things and there is a curse on the school and students have been known to die there. Not to mention the mysterious Latin classes and student monitors that are up to something. Even the handsome and mysterious Dante has a deep attraction to her that he has never felt for anyone before.There was not a boring moment in this story. The unraveling of the plot and the pacing is what kept me hooked. I thought there was a great mixture of characters. I liked the story line and the mystery behind what is happening at the school and her timing in finding out the events leading up to the end was all perfect timing. Even though I was not a huge fan of the how mushy the romance factor was in this one, it did not over power any of the main plot and events leading to the ending.The story is put together very well. I know that I should have been able to see what was coming at the end, but I really didn't see it. The unraveling of the plot and the growing suspense kept me sucked into the story and I hated having to put it down. I have to say that I did find the romance between Renee and Dante a little on the mushy side, maybe a little bit too fast, but overall it really didn't cause me to want to rate it lower than 5 starsI wanted to add a note here that I listened to the audio book on this one. I thought the narrator was fantastic in portraying the voice of Renee and I was hoping to find the second book Life Eternal in audio as well, but I couldn't wait for audible.com to get it in stock before I just ended up buying the physical book because I really don't want to wait to see what happens next, so you'll see that review soon!more
The book starts with our heroine, Renee, finding her dead parents, which leads to her grandfather sending her to a boarding school where the subjects are strange and some of the pupils are stranger. She falls in love but the path to true love doesn't run smooth. There were times that this story worked for me but there were also times that I just didn't connect well with it. It just didn't resonate well with me and I didn't feel that the characters actually behaved in any real way. Quite readable but puddle deep. It's a bit like a cross between Harry Potter and Twilight with some of the serial numbers rubbed off. The author shows promise and I would be tempted to read her again.more
Paranormal romance books are still flooding the market thanks to the Twilight series. It’s not my genre of choice mostly because of clichés and overdone love triangles with the main character always falling for the total creep. But, these are not the things that describe Yvonne Woon’s Dead Beautiful. Of all the paranormal romance books I’ve read, I have declared Dead Beautiful to be my favorite (thus far, at least).Initially, I thought this book was yet another vampire love story, but I was wrong. So very wrong. Dead wrong (har har!). The Latin-rooted philosophy and “mythology” that were woven into the story made Dead Beautiful unique amongst other paranormal romance books. I say “mythology” because I believe Woon created it for her story, but she did so in a way that made it all seem like the myth had been around for centuries. And, as you can possibly guess from the title, death is a major subject throughout this book. This might be an unappealing subject for some, but I loved the spooky and foreboding atmosphere this created.I did appreciate the romance in Dead Beautiful. I did think the relationship between main character, Renee, and love interest, Dante, progressed pretty quickly. And it’s clear Renee is smitten with Dante, but it’s not overkill. It’s also apparent to the reader that Renee thinks about her friends and the world around her as much as she does about Dante. I would say it’s a breath of fresh air from many of the newly published young adult books regardless of genre. I would also have to say that for once I actually found the love interest to be swoon-worthy!Dead Beautiful is equal parts romance and mystery, so the story had me guessing all the way through. There were several twists and turns that had me formulating my own ideas of what could possibly be next, but more often than not I was wrong! I found the mystery to be compelling, and I think this is what made the book such a page turner for me.I did think the pacing of the story was a little off. There were times in the story that moved a little slow, but this I am okay with. I did think the ending was rushed, which left me feeling like something was missing. The first 470 pages were written so beautifully. I truly loved Woon’s writing style, and I have to admit, I am quite envious of it. Everything was written so vividly, and getting lost in the world Woon created was easy. However, the last 10 pages went by too quickly. I would say I was even left quite confused to the point where I had to re-read the ending to make sure I understood what had happened. Now, that being said, after I fully understood what happened, I thought the ending was absolutely perfect– definitely not the way I thought it would end (thank goodness!)more
Not my favorite book that I've read, but philisophically interesting. Renee was a very good girl and easy to relate to. Dante was likable (unlike a certain Cullen who shall not be named...) and I enjoyed their interactions. The ending was perfect! It was just right for the book, it almost made me cry. I would definitely recommend this one.more
Cover. When I fist saw this cover there was something about it that I loved. I just really cannot remember what it was anymore. There is no point in the book that the main character wears a long black dress and cloak while walking through the woods barefoot. None. Considering how it actually snows at one point in the book I think that being barefoot would be ill advised. Yes, there is woods but while the cover is very interesting and pretty I just cannot appreciate it with this book. It just does not fit. And yet for some explainable reason I still really like the cover of the second book. I think it is because her outfit is just so much more appropriate for the time period if not the weather in the background.Plot. I was sucked in to the plot from the very beginning. The amount of foreshadowing is perfect for when I actually found out what is happening that I felt as if I could have pieced the puzzle together on my own. Miss Woon made the puzzle pieces so mundane that I missed a few. Not all but a few events that helped Renée uncover the mystery. I especially like the new look on the undead. It was fun and different while still having a bit of the old school to it. What I mean by old school is that they were dangerous. They could kill you and they are a bit mindless in their pursuit to find what they want even if it was not the iconic brains.Characters. I like the fact that while Renée did become apathetic and unresponsive it was not because of the death of a boy but her parents, which is where the book leads you within the first few chapters. She misses her parents just as much later on in the book but after her grandfather tells her that she has to move to the East coast from California Renée seems to snap out of her trance. Renée is interesting and she seemed so real to me that even when she did something stupid I could still like her. I absolutely adore how Renée handles the truth about what Dante is. I could see myself or a dozen of other people in real life doing the same thing. I loved the explanations and liked what she did to cope with the huge news. Yet there was something that I did not like. I am not really sure if this should go under Plot or Characters but seeing as I am already typing I might as well continue. There is a thing with salt that the character does near the end of the book that I had to stop at and look up to see it it was true. I found no evidence that eating that much salt at a time could give you the symptoms that Renée ended up with. The only thing that I really found was that too much salt over time could make different body parts swell up. I still dislike it but found that the incident does not really affect my opinion of the book as a whole.Recommend? Heck, Yes.more
Thanks to Hyperion for letting me review this, I was dying to read it! Between the summary and the gorgeous cover it definitely sounded like my kind of book.I am a huge fan of any book set in a boarding school. They are always creepy and full of old traditions and unsolved mysteries. This was no exception: something is rotten in the state of Maine. When Renee is forced to attend Gottfried Academy, it doesn't take her long to catapult herself straight into the heart of the intrigue.She is immediately drawn to Dante, the gorgeous loner. While there wasn't quite as much development in their romance as I usually like...they also didn't jump straight from 0 to relationship. Once Renee does think they're finally getting things together, she finds out something that has her running in the opposite direction.So, between Renee constantly finding dead things, Dante being so intensely focused on her, and all the weirdos following them around...this book has quite the suspenseful story. I ate up every word! I definitely recommend picking it up.more
Dead Beautiful centers around Renee and her life after she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest. Throughout the story Renee tries to solve the mystery of their "death by heart attack" which seems to be a reoccurring theme/death of students who have died while at Gottfried Academy. Of course, everyone tells her she is looking too much into their deaths and that it is perfectly possible for two people to die of heart attacks at the same time in the woods. Besides her investigation into the mysterious deaths, her growing attraction to Dante, a student who causes her to literally go weak in the knees, has left her with more questions than answers. I liked Dante's character and how unselfish he was but he just didn't give me that I-want-him-gotta-have-him feeling. Honestly, I really really really wanted to love this book. I really did! But sadly, the idea of the Undead creeped me out. Even though they specifically stated in the book that the Undead are not the same thing as zombies, to me, they basically were; and I'm not a huge fan of zombie anything. But I tried. Also, I did not like Renee. I thought she was rude and was selfish most of the time. This book wasn't my type of book. However I think it was well written. The world Woon created was detailed. The mythology surrounding the Undead was original and put together nicely. The mystery was good. In fact, it was what kept me reading even though I wanted to stop because of the whole Undead thing. I wanted to find out who was behind all the murders. The end was not what I expected and I was a bit disappointed. Overall, it was a good book, just not for me. Although I can understand why so many people really liked it. It was kind of like Twilight but with Zombie-like people instead of vampires.more
I was scanning through upcoming releases a couple of months ago, and I saw this book on a list. It looked really good, and I heard it was about zombies. (I'm not gonna say if it was or not cause it would possibly be kind of spoilery). So, I went to Borders one day, my intention was to buy Hex Hall By Rachel Hawkins which I had from the library but was so good I wanted to buy it, but then, being me, I decided to scan the other shelves. I had forgoten about Dead Beautiful up until I saw it on the shelf. I snatched it up and I was like 'hey, i remember seeing you on the internet!'. So i bought it (and borders forgot to use my discount coupon, the guy just kind of cast it to the side, so I had to pay extra, and I didn't think to tell the guy Hey you forgot my coupon', cause im not good with dealing with employees. I dont want them to rememeber me as the kid who yells at us since i go there like every week. So, i got home and the book sat on my shelf for a few weeks since i was reading other things. It was calling my name, and one day i gave into temptation and picked it up. So i went ahead and read it, then and there, and i didn't stop. It is amazing.So, the story is great, with lots of Latin things , and boarding school (which is a subject I love), and dead parents. (thats not a spoiler by the way, it happens on like page 5) ANyways, the plot was just so intruiging and I just needed to know what was happening. It was engrossing and it won't loosen its hold on you. It is fast paced and exciting. 5/5Setting= Boarding school= lovemore
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.more
DEAD BEAUTIFUL, by Yvonne Woon, is quite the unexpected treasure. We get to know very little about Renee Winters before she discovers the dead bodies of her parents in the woods. Under the guardianship of her estranged grandfather, she is brought to Maine to attend Gottfried Academy. There Renee is faced with attending a different kind of curriculum, a gossipy roommate, and a mysterious boy who she is unexplainably attracted to.The curriculum at Gottfried was intriguing to say the least. Latin, a supposedly, dead language was brought back to life and some of the students even spoke it regularly. Horticulture class was interesting as well. A lot of the students were desperate to get into that class and Renee wondered why. She was extremely good at it, which put her on a higher pedestal even though it was not what everyone had made it out to be. I liked how Woon made Gottfried Academy a character in itself. She structured the school for a purpose that I was desperate to understand and when the secrets were unraveled I was extremely impressed with the thought and creativity that went into it.I appreciated the relationship between Renee and Eleanor, her roommate. Several times Woon referenced the differing friendship between Annie, Renee's best friend in California, and Eleanor. It was refreshing to not have a competitive relationship between these friends, as most YA books seem to thrive on. These two were able to tell each other everything without fear of sounding crazy and that really impressed me.Then there was the mysterious Dante. The way the rest of the female student body spoke of him made me wary of his almost instant connection with Renee. I knew there was something supernatural going on and I was anxious for it to be revealed. Their romantic relationship was very sweet and they definitely walked a thin line together against Gottfried's strict rules. Although Dante was charming, protective, and intelligent, the idea that he was hiding something always nagged at me.It was a pleasant surprise to read a paranormal book that was a stand-alone. It seems that all I have been reading now are books in series that leave me wanting more. At the end of the book I felt complete even though it stayed in my mind long after.My only problem with the book was the length. There were times that I felt the story lost its pacing in the middle but as soon as it picked up again I was hooked.Overall this was a great book. It incorporated many philosophical ideas about the dead that I found very interesting and a love story that reaches deep down into the heart.more
It’s not often that I pick up a YA paranormal and come away thinking, “wow, I’ve never seen that before.”Because, you know, as awesome as the genre is, it’s a challenge to create something so completely new. And while Yvonne Woon‘s DEAD BEAUTIFUL may start out the way so many stories do — the main character mysteriously loses her parents to “accidental” deaths and is sent to boarding school by her cold grandfather for the sake of her safety — it doesn’t maintain that sameness for very long.Set in Northern Maine at the exclusive Gottfried Academy — a boarding school with weird rules like “no romantic relationships” and “no artificial light after dark,” Renée Winters’ story seems bleak. Her parents are dead, her formerly-estranged grandfather isn’t exactly friendly, and all the friends she ever knew are back on the west coast. Her new room mate, Eleanor, seems alright, but Renée is sure she’ll never fit in at such a strange, rigidly structured place where instead of taking biology and English she has classes like “Crude Sciences” and “Horticulture” and “Philosophy.” Not to mention, all students are required to take Latin.But on Renée’s first day she meets Dante Berlin. Eleanor has told Renée that Dante is totally weird, completely cut off contact with all of his friends after this kid Benjamin died last spring. And now he doesn’t talk to anyone at all. Then Dante starts talking to Renée. And he seems like the only person who could possibly understand her. He, too has lost his family. And while their romance seems so obvious and right, there are strange things about Dante that seem to get in the way. For one thing, he refuses to kiss Renée on the mouth. And no matter what happens, Renée can’t forget the way her parents died, how strange it seemed, and how it seems to be connected to her new school, and the odd kids from Advanced Latin whom Dante used to call friends.With a mythology based in classical philosophy and Latin, DEAD BEAUTIFUL is a sneakily smart book, eerily romantic and sexy. This is definitely the sort of book paranormal fans will love, and romance addicts will cling to. I absolutely can’t wait for Yvonne Woon‘s next book, and I’m hoping to see more of Dante and Renée to come.more
This was an entertaining story which had some clever elements and some strong similarities to a couple of other successful stories. The sent-to-boarding-school-by-mysterious-but-ostensibly-well-meaning guardian-after-parents-have-died-mysteriously, gothic setting of said boarding school in remote area with lurking (adult) hall monitor, and unorthodox academic repertoire themes found in Harry Potter are found here. Also found here is a paranormal, forbidden, dangerous for the heroine romance with a beautiful and perfect young undead male and their lusting for each other, also found in the wildly popular Twilight series. There is a little more complication thrown in here, perhaps, as we discover the undead male is not so safe from the living female heroine with special talents, some of which include the ability to suss out dead things. The author leaves room for a sequel at the conclusion. I'd read a sequel, as, stated earlier, I found it entertaining, plus there were enough fairly original elements (such as the use of a seventh meditation from Renee Descartes which explains how the undead are created, how long they live, what they need to come back to life, and how to wash your hands of them) to make me wonder how the characters will navigate towards their ending, even if we've already seen this tale. And really, how many books aren't some form of this?more
Dead Beautiful is dark and creepy, with many secrets to unfold. The action takes place in a boarding school, where Renee meets and falls in love with Dante. The book is atmospheric and mysterious, with several surprises. Although the plot is similar to other books in the paranormal genre, it is written well and has enough of a twist to entertain. The pace can be a bit slow at times, but it leads to a powerful ending.Renee is mourning her parents’ death throughout the novel, and trying to find the link between their deaths and the deaths at Gottfried. She is an intelligent character and discovers she has a special talent to find dead bodies. It takes her awhile to put the pieces of the puzzle together and that can be a little frustrating. Her relationship with Dante starts out slow and they spend a fair amount of time getting to know each other. This book does break out of the love triangle mold. There are no third parties involved in their relationship.Dante is gorgeous, mysterious, has cold breath and skin, is mature for his age, strong, and does not sleep or eat. Sound familiar? The attraction between him and Renee is immediate, although they have many obstacles to overcome as a couple. He is caring and protective of Renee and works with her to solve the mysteries at Gottfried.Gottfried Academy is the perfect setting for the book. It has secret tunnels, and a mysterious group of monitors that makes sure that the students follow the strict code of conduct. The classes sound really interesting such as Horticulture, Latin, and Philosophy. Renee’s family has a long history at the school.I listened to the audiobook of Dead Beautiful, and it is a long audiobook at just over 12 hours long. The reader does a good job with the characters, and keeping the tone appropriately creepy. The voice actress also reads the House of Night audiobooks, so she may sound familiar. This book works well as an audiobook, and it kept my interest up throughout.The ending is surprising and bittersweet. It works well as a standalone book, but I’m also curious to see what would happen next with a sequel.Dead Beautiful should appeal to those who enjoyed the Twilight series, or other young adult paranormal books set in boarding schools. However, there is a little more mystery and a little less romance in this book than other books in this genre. Although the pacing is slow at times, this eerie and romantic story satisfies.more
A surprisingly original tale, even though it contains many very familiar elements; a girl who is more than she thought she was, a boy who is both dangerous and highly attractive at the same time, unexplained deaths, and a boarding school with a select group of students who are cloaked in mystery. This book has mystery, suspense, and romance. Yes, some of the situations are quite similar to other YA books (cough... Twilight) but there's a totally new explanation and not a vampire to be seen anywhere! I really enjoyed Woon's explanation of the undead, and how they are created. Best of all, she manages to introduce the idea, and tie it up all in one book! Finally, there's a great twist that I did NOT see coming, and it was heart wrenching and totally satisfying. The minor flaw, is that I didn't like some of the things Renee did in order to attract and maintain Dante's attention, but she certainly isn't the first girl to make some dumb choices on behalf of a boy.more
This is one of those delicious YA Paranormal books that begins in an ordinary way and then ends with a huge BANG!!! Renee Winters is a typical high school student just beginning to explore her independence and her first boyfriend. She lives in a really neat California coastal area and loves her friends and her school and her life. Then…tragedy upsets her family and she is left in the care of her grandfather. She has not seen her grandfather since she was a small child. Before she knows what is happening she is whisked away by her rather wealthy and eccentric grandfather to Maine…first to his home and then to Gottfried Academy… which will be her new boarding school. Just before school begins she stays with her grandfather in the huge palatial home where her mother was raised. She discovers that her mother’s room has remained untouched and is filled with her mother’s clothing, books, and all of her other possessions. This is extremely interesting to Renee as she discovers that there are huge gaps in her knowledge of her mother’s early life. Oh…she also learns that both her mother and father attended Gottfried Academy. There are even more secrets surrounding this discovery.So…just as Renee is making these discoveries about her parents she is sent to school where her new life literally becomes one huge mystery. Everything at that school is subject to many questions and Renee has them and is thought to be quite outspoken by her peers and teachers. The school is old and odd…lots of funny rules and restrictions and lots and lots of unusual students. She meets a magnificent looking fellow student named Dante who at first tries to avoid Renee but later can not stay away from her…literally…she is his “soul mate”. Enough said about that… There were enough mean teachers and weird students and mysterious deaths in this novel to keep me interested and sort of on the edge of my reading seat. I loved reading this book. It was wonderfully unique and different. I had ideas about where the plot was headed but I was enjoying reading this book so much that I loved the slowness the author took to get me there. The writing was lovely. The story was a new one. The ending literally took my breath away. I do recommend it to you, highly.more
Ok, what a great and intriguing read. And the twist! I certainly did not see that coming. Beautiful Dead is a great read. Everything in it was perfect.So as I started to read this book, I was thrown into a whirlwind of surprises. Poor Renee, always going through some many unexpected tragic things. I felt sorry for her, but was glad that she prevailed.Renee arrived at this new school and her rebellious attitude has me giddy from the start. I immensely enjoyed her smart mouth, know it all attitude. It brought so much more drama and excitement to the book. And who doesn't enjoy a rebellious teen.Now the love interest in the story was one so unique and detailed to beautifully. I love how Ms. Woon was able to tie it all together. I never saw that ending coming but WOW! She got me good. And what I loved the most about it was that is was unique. It was nothing that I've read before and it all totally fit. Ms. Woon certainly wrote a book that completely caught me off guard. I was certain it was about one thing, but she managed to keep the suspense in the book so high, that I had no other choice but to continue to read until I finally saw the truth. And the truth was Dead Beautiful.more
Renee is off to celebrate her birthday when she sees her parents car abandoned on the side of the road. She finds them both dead in the woods of apparent heart attacks, on the ground they are covered in coins and in their mouths white cloths.She is forced into her grandfather's custody. A man she's never known and who doesn't understand her at all. When he decides she is better off at Gottfried Academy than at a public school she knows she's in for trouble.On the first day of school she runs into Dante, a boy who never talks to anyone with a face of an angel. Her new friends tell her that Dante once found a student dead in the woods, and the student had also died of a heart attack.Renee is determined to get Dante to talk to her about the incident, and prove that her parents were murdered. Soon things start becoming strange around the Academy, from her roommate's disappearance, to the files she finds on the dead student. She will have to watch her back or she too might find herself in deep trouble.Just when I thought I got this book, it turns me in a loop and I find out I was horribly wrong. It's full of mystery and intrigue, and I loved that I was wrong every time.Renee's relationship with Dante was kind of weird for me. He ran away every time they talked, his kisses made her go numb and sometimes pass out? And when she asks him where he's from she says she 'can't imagine someone so perfect being from anywhere.' Uh...what? I wanted to see some kind of flaw in him.I did like the relationship she had with her grandfather. Just when she thought she was finally learning more about him and about their family past, she would find out something else about him that made her not trust him again.So you've got the mystery, the romance hanging by a thread, the family turmoil, the new friendships, the old ones, and the eerie school that has it's share of secrets itself.A good read that gets great about 300 pages in. Worth the read if you hang in there.more
Renee’s sixteenth birthday should have gone off without a hitch. She’s got great friends and a perfect boyfriend, not to mention a wonderful relationship with her parents. Life, however, doesn’t always go according to plan. Renee, while taking a drive through the country with her best friend, happens upon her parents lying dead in the woods. All of a sudden, her life is turned upside down and she is shipped from sunny California to a boarding school, Gottfried Academy, in gloomy Maine.Reading Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon was a so-so experience for me. There were things I loved, and things I could have done without, ultimately canceling each other out to create the so-so.Y’all know I am such a huge nerd. Well, I raise my nerd flag high by saying this, but I really enjoyed reading about Gottfried Academy’s curriculum. Hey, it is the educator in me. I would have loved to go to this school and take Latin or horticulture or the arcane sciences. It sounds like Hogwarts all up in that joint and vastly more appealing than lame old Earth Science or biology. I mean, ARCANE SCIENCE. That sounds awesome.ALSO, if you’ve taken a philosophy class, and actually enjoyed it, I will bet you can find enjoyment in Dead Beautiful. There’s so many references. Descartes? Plato? Yes, plz. Sign me up, stat. I know, I know, I am in nerd OVERDRIVE today, but I just get so excited whenever the metaphor of the cave is mentioned.However, academic awesomeness aside, this book falls prey to that phenomenon that I often see in paranormal novels. You know what I’m talkin’ bout? The whole, I see you, you so sexy, mmm makeout, WE R IN LUVVV. Good freakin’ god. There is a scene where Renee is contemplating Dante, and she is all I lurve you sooo much, let’s drop out of school and run away together. Bad ideas, kids, bad ideas. And this is after a month of dating. I guess, when I see love in a book, I want sexual tension. I want build up. I don’t want this whole blink and you miss it courtship. Yes, I get that love sometimes creeps up on you. However, this was more wham bam thank you m’am luvvv. So, if you are down for that, then I am sure you will be able to enjoy the romance. I have my preferences, you have yours.I mean, as far as characters go, I liked Renee. I liked how she sassed her teachers. I like that she calls people on being douchebags. I just wish she had a little more substance in her romantic entanglements.I guess your takeaway from this review should be if you are nerdy and heart academics and don’t mind overnight love connections, you should definitely go out and buy this book. Or if you have a penchant for the creepy, Yvonne Woon does a great job of creating a creepy atmosphere.more
Dead Beautiful is one of those books that had all of the right ingredients, but didn’t deliver to the fullness I was expecting.On her sixteenth birthday Renee Winters makes an awful discovery: she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest near her home. What looks like a possible double murder is explained away by the police as heart attacks. Renee doesn’t believe this explanation and wants answers, but before she can find any her grandfather moves her across the country. In addition, Renee is enrolled in Gottfried Academy a somewhat isolated boarding school in Maine. With its dress code, strict curfew and odd selection of classes, Gottfried is not what Renee is used to. Soon she also learns about the mystery surrounding a student’s death the year before. And then there is Dante, the gorgeous but distant boy who is most definitely hiding something. Dead Beautiful has a lot of things going for it. There’s a boarding school setting with a creepy town, classes that are weird enough that they’re interesting, odd professors, a fun roommate, and a beautiful but mysterious love interest whose eye the main character catches. And speaking of the main character, Renee is strong, intelligent and inquisitive and follows her instincts. But, it all felt very familiar, like a bunch of books had been mashed together with a few unique details (such as the discussion about Rene Descartes and his Meditations on First Philosophy) and the end result was Dead Beautiful. Maybe I was expecting more unique details from such an interesting summary or maybe I'm being too critical, but Dead Beautiful just wasn't what I was expecting.In addition, the story takes quite awhile to really pick up. It took me about 200 pages to really get into the story; I almost gave up on it several times before I really got hooked. But, I persevered and found that the mystery behind the student’s death and Renee’s questions about her parents’ death and what she and Dante do to find out about both lead the reader on a twisty ride to a very great ending. The ending, in fact, is the best part of Dead Beautiful. I found myself glued to the book in those last fifty pages. I had to know the final outcome. And when I got to the last page, the ending was the perfect conclusion. There is enough left unresolved that there could be a sequel, but at the same time it really stops on such a great note that it would be a shame to answer every single unanswered question. Dead Beautiful would appeal to fans of paranormal, as well as school stories that have mystery and a bit of romance. It’s worth reading just to get to the last few chapters.more
I didn't have any expectations going into this book, and I was so pleasantly surprised that I loved it the way I did. I was engrossed from the beginning of the story, when poor Renee finds her parents dead in the woods, to the bitter and shocking ending that left me reeling. This book was set at a boarding school, which is a setting that I really love when it's done well, which it was in this case. The teachers and students are all beyond smart and each has a compelling personality that draws you in.Renee was a fantastic main character. She was smart and resourceful. Even dealing with the shocking death of her parents, she is strong and stands up for what she believes in. When she moves to the mysterious Godfried Academy and finds that there are things there that might lead her to answers about what happened to her parents she is unstoppable in her quest for answers. Dante is the classic male lead, handsome and mysterious and everything a girl is looking for. He was completely devoted to Renee from the moment they got together. Although he was the classic male lead, he was also charming in his own right and a lot of fun to read.Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I think a lot of you will as well. It had a mystery that had me guessing through the whole book. The paranormal element in this book was one of the biggest mysteries, so I won't give it away, but I will say that it was really unique. I'm really looking forward to reading more from this author!more
Dead Beautiful opens with Renee discovering her parent’s bodies in a very isolated area. It seems she experienced something like a “pull" to the location. Things get even more bizarre (in a good way) as the plot progresses. Her estranged Grandfather shows up to assume the role of Renee’s guardian, and informs her she should attend Gottfried Academy for her own safety. Renee leaves behind her friends, home, and kinda sorta boyfriend. Gottfried turns out to be nothing like she expected. Renee discovers possible connections between events at her new school, and the suspicious deaths of her mom and dad. She then sets out to find out what really happened to her parents with the help of mysterious hottie, Dante.My initial attraction to this book was the gorgeous cover. It is even more beautiful in person. The best news is the pages behind the pretty picture live up to the fabulous cover! I find it hard to believe this is a debut novel. Yvonne Woon managed to create something very special with Dead Beautiful’s intricate plot, and engaging characters.This a without a doubt a B.A.B (Big Ass Book), but it doesn’t read like one. My attention was captured from the start, and held until the very last page. While reading I had several Aha! moments where I thought I had it all figured out. I was subsequently proven wrong with the next twist or turn. Dante and Renee’s romance will leave you swooning. You can almost feel the chemistry radiating from the pages when they are together. I also have to mention the almost kissing scene. Yes, I said almost. They don’t actually kiss in a certain scene involving a chalkboard, but it will leave you fanning yourself. Yvonne Woon gives good teen romance. The ending seems to set us up for a possible sequel. Please, say there will be one! I’d love to read more about Renee and Dante’s adventures at Gottfried Academy.I have a feeling Dead Beautiful will be a highly talked about book this fall. It has the potential to create a serious following. I highly recommend you add this one to your fall reading list.more
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Reviews

I went back and forth on this book quite a bit--until the end. Whoa. Not what I was expecting, and this was a good thing. Great, even. I really enjoyed Yvonne Woon's writing itself; many times the way in which a particular scene or phrase was written really surprised me, and in a good way. Some things just gave me pause, but many others were lyrically beautiful. The storyline was actually very different; though on the surface much of it seems to be same-old, same-old; it really isn't. She's brought a truly fresh take to the somewhat stale formula of loney-girl-meets-loner-guy-with-a-mystery story. However, there were a few aspects of the story that just seemed a little off, even somewhat overdone. Quite a few times in the story, Renee Winters veers oddly between knowing nothing and accepting all. I would have expected a bit more of a transition between the two. Her shift between you-lied-to-me-how-dare-you and ah-it-all-makes-sense-to-me-now-good-because-I-still-love-you-after-all was a bit abrupt; however, I think as Ms. Woon becomes a more polished writer the awkwardness will go away. I hope to see more from this author, because I really did enjoy her first effort.more
I'm a sucker for YA that takes place an unusual academy (think Harry Potter or Knightly Academy sorts of schools). Ignore the cover. 'Dead Beautiful' is a fun read. I quite enjoyed it. The two leads were great, especially bad boy Dante. I recommend taking a peek at this title, though warn you, you might have a few questions towards the end!!!more
For the most part, I enjoyed Dead Beautiful, contrary to a friend's expectations. It was a really quick read and definitely fascinating, even when frustrating. Don't let the high page count fool you; this is a really quick read. The pace of the book is pretty fast, if anything, too fast.

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
I really liked this book. Okay yes in some aspects this book is similar to other ya books. Where some girl meets a beautiful boy who is all dangerous and brooding that she instantly falls in love with,but it wasn't just that.

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!

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Renee discovers her dead parents in the middle of a forest. There is something mysterious about their deaths that she has never felt comfortable about. She goes to live with her grandfather who decides to move her across the country to attend Gottfried academy for “her safety.” As soon as Renee starts there she knows there is something different about this school. The school monitor seems out to get her, she finds that she has a keen ability to find dead things and there is a curse on the school and students have been known to die there. Not to mention the mysterious Latin classes and student monitors that are up to something. Even the handsome and mysterious Dante has a deep attraction to her that he has never felt for anyone before.There was not a boring moment in this story. The unraveling of the plot and the pacing is what kept me hooked. I thought there was a great mixture of characters. I liked the story line and the mystery behind what is happening at the school and her timing in finding out the events leading up to the end was all perfect timing. Even though I was not a huge fan of the how mushy the romance factor was in this one, it did not over power any of the main plot and events leading to the ending.The story is put together very well. I know that I should have been able to see what was coming at the end, but I really didn't see it. The unraveling of the plot and the growing suspense kept me sucked into the story and I hated having to put it down. I have to say that I did find the romance between Renee and Dante a little on the mushy side, maybe a little bit too fast, but overall it really didn't cause me to want to rate it lower than 5 starsI wanted to add a note here that I listened to the audio book on this one. I thought the narrator was fantastic in portraying the voice of Renee and I was hoping to find the second book Life Eternal in audio as well, but I couldn't wait for audible.com to get it in stock before I just ended up buying the physical book because I really don't want to wait to see what happens next, so you'll see that review soon!more
The book starts with our heroine, Renee, finding her dead parents, which leads to her grandfather sending her to a boarding school where the subjects are strange and some of the pupils are stranger. She falls in love but the path to true love doesn't run smooth. There were times that this story worked for me but there were also times that I just didn't connect well with it. It just didn't resonate well with me and I didn't feel that the characters actually behaved in any real way. Quite readable but puddle deep. It's a bit like a cross between Harry Potter and Twilight with some of the serial numbers rubbed off. The author shows promise and I would be tempted to read her again.more
Paranormal romance books are still flooding the market thanks to the Twilight series. It’s not my genre of choice mostly because of clichés and overdone love triangles with the main character always falling for the total creep. But, these are not the things that describe Yvonne Woon’s Dead Beautiful. Of all the paranormal romance books I’ve read, I have declared Dead Beautiful to be my favorite (thus far, at least).Initially, I thought this book was yet another vampire love story, but I was wrong. So very wrong. Dead wrong (har har!). The Latin-rooted philosophy and “mythology” that were woven into the story made Dead Beautiful unique amongst other paranormal romance books. I say “mythology” because I believe Woon created it for her story, but she did so in a way that made it all seem like the myth had been around for centuries. And, as you can possibly guess from the title, death is a major subject throughout this book. This might be an unappealing subject for some, but I loved the spooky and foreboding atmosphere this created.I did appreciate the romance in Dead Beautiful. I did think the relationship between main character, Renee, and love interest, Dante, progressed pretty quickly. And it’s clear Renee is smitten with Dante, but it’s not overkill. It’s also apparent to the reader that Renee thinks about her friends and the world around her as much as she does about Dante. I would say it’s a breath of fresh air from many of the newly published young adult books regardless of genre. I would also have to say that for once I actually found the love interest to be swoon-worthy!Dead Beautiful is equal parts romance and mystery, so the story had me guessing all the way through. There were several twists and turns that had me formulating my own ideas of what could possibly be next, but more often than not I was wrong! I found the mystery to be compelling, and I think this is what made the book such a page turner for me.I did think the pacing of the story was a little off. There were times in the story that moved a little slow, but this I am okay with. I did think the ending was rushed, which left me feeling like something was missing. The first 470 pages were written so beautifully. I truly loved Woon’s writing style, and I have to admit, I am quite envious of it. Everything was written so vividly, and getting lost in the world Woon created was easy. However, the last 10 pages went by too quickly. I would say I was even left quite confused to the point where I had to re-read the ending to make sure I understood what had happened. Now, that being said, after I fully understood what happened, I thought the ending was absolutely perfect– definitely not the way I thought it would end (thank goodness!)more
Not my favorite book that I've read, but philisophically interesting. Renee was a very good girl and easy to relate to. Dante was likable (unlike a certain Cullen who shall not be named...) and I enjoyed their interactions. The ending was perfect! It was just right for the book, it almost made me cry. I would definitely recommend this one.more
Cover. When I fist saw this cover there was something about it that I loved. I just really cannot remember what it was anymore. There is no point in the book that the main character wears a long black dress and cloak while walking through the woods barefoot. None. Considering how it actually snows at one point in the book I think that being barefoot would be ill advised. Yes, there is woods but while the cover is very interesting and pretty I just cannot appreciate it with this book. It just does not fit. And yet for some explainable reason I still really like the cover of the second book. I think it is because her outfit is just so much more appropriate for the time period if not the weather in the background.Plot. I was sucked in to the plot from the very beginning. The amount of foreshadowing is perfect for when I actually found out what is happening that I felt as if I could have pieced the puzzle together on my own. Miss Woon made the puzzle pieces so mundane that I missed a few. Not all but a few events that helped Renée uncover the mystery. I especially like the new look on the undead. It was fun and different while still having a bit of the old school to it. What I mean by old school is that they were dangerous. They could kill you and they are a bit mindless in their pursuit to find what they want even if it was not the iconic brains.Characters. I like the fact that while Renée did become apathetic and unresponsive it was not because of the death of a boy but her parents, which is where the book leads you within the first few chapters. She misses her parents just as much later on in the book but after her grandfather tells her that she has to move to the East coast from California Renée seems to snap out of her trance. Renée is interesting and she seemed so real to me that even when she did something stupid I could still like her. I absolutely adore how Renée handles the truth about what Dante is. I could see myself or a dozen of other people in real life doing the same thing. I loved the explanations and liked what she did to cope with the huge news. Yet there was something that I did not like. I am not really sure if this should go under Plot or Characters but seeing as I am already typing I might as well continue. There is a thing with salt that the character does near the end of the book that I had to stop at and look up to see it it was true. I found no evidence that eating that much salt at a time could give you the symptoms that Renée ended up with. The only thing that I really found was that too much salt over time could make different body parts swell up. I still dislike it but found that the incident does not really affect my opinion of the book as a whole.Recommend? Heck, Yes.more
Thanks to Hyperion for letting me review this, I was dying to read it! Between the summary and the gorgeous cover it definitely sounded like my kind of book.I am a huge fan of any book set in a boarding school. They are always creepy and full of old traditions and unsolved mysteries. This was no exception: something is rotten in the state of Maine. When Renee is forced to attend Gottfried Academy, it doesn't take her long to catapult herself straight into the heart of the intrigue.She is immediately drawn to Dante, the gorgeous loner. While there wasn't quite as much development in their romance as I usually like...they also didn't jump straight from 0 to relationship. Once Renee does think they're finally getting things together, she finds out something that has her running in the opposite direction.So, between Renee constantly finding dead things, Dante being so intensely focused on her, and all the weirdos following them around...this book has quite the suspenseful story. I ate up every word! I definitely recommend picking it up.more
Dead Beautiful centers around Renee and her life after she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest. Throughout the story Renee tries to solve the mystery of their "death by heart attack" which seems to be a reoccurring theme/death of students who have died while at Gottfried Academy. Of course, everyone tells her she is looking too much into their deaths and that it is perfectly possible for two people to die of heart attacks at the same time in the woods. Besides her investigation into the mysterious deaths, her growing attraction to Dante, a student who causes her to literally go weak in the knees, has left her with more questions than answers. I liked Dante's character and how unselfish he was but he just didn't give me that I-want-him-gotta-have-him feeling. Honestly, I really really really wanted to love this book. I really did! But sadly, the idea of the Undead creeped me out. Even though they specifically stated in the book that the Undead are not the same thing as zombies, to me, they basically were; and I'm not a huge fan of zombie anything. But I tried. Also, I did not like Renee. I thought she was rude and was selfish most of the time. This book wasn't my type of book. However I think it was well written. The world Woon created was detailed. The mythology surrounding the Undead was original and put together nicely. The mystery was good. In fact, it was what kept me reading even though I wanted to stop because of the whole Undead thing. I wanted to find out who was behind all the murders. The end was not what I expected and I was a bit disappointed. Overall, it was a good book, just not for me. Although I can understand why so many people really liked it. It was kind of like Twilight but with Zombie-like people instead of vampires.more
I was scanning through upcoming releases a couple of months ago, and I saw this book on a list. It looked really good, and I heard it was about zombies. (I'm not gonna say if it was or not cause it would possibly be kind of spoilery). So, I went to Borders one day, my intention was to buy Hex Hall By Rachel Hawkins which I had from the library but was so good I wanted to buy it, but then, being me, I decided to scan the other shelves. I had forgoten about Dead Beautiful up until I saw it on the shelf. I snatched it up and I was like 'hey, i remember seeing you on the internet!'. So i bought it (and borders forgot to use my discount coupon, the guy just kind of cast it to the side, so I had to pay extra, and I didn't think to tell the guy Hey you forgot my coupon', cause im not good with dealing with employees. I dont want them to rememeber me as the kid who yells at us since i go there like every week. So, i got home and the book sat on my shelf for a few weeks since i was reading other things. It was calling my name, and one day i gave into temptation and picked it up. So i went ahead and read it, then and there, and i didn't stop. It is amazing.So, the story is great, with lots of Latin things , and boarding school (which is a subject I love), and dead parents. (thats not a spoiler by the way, it happens on like page 5) ANyways, the plot was just so intruiging and I just needed to know what was happening. It was engrossing and it won't loosen its hold on you. It is fast paced and exciting. 5/5Setting= Boarding school= lovemore
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.more
DEAD BEAUTIFUL, by Yvonne Woon, is quite the unexpected treasure. We get to know very little about Renee Winters before she discovers the dead bodies of her parents in the woods. Under the guardianship of her estranged grandfather, she is brought to Maine to attend Gottfried Academy. There Renee is faced with attending a different kind of curriculum, a gossipy roommate, and a mysterious boy who she is unexplainably attracted to.The curriculum at Gottfried was intriguing to say the least. Latin, a supposedly, dead language was brought back to life and some of the students even spoke it regularly. Horticulture class was interesting as well. A lot of the students were desperate to get into that class and Renee wondered why. She was extremely good at it, which put her on a higher pedestal even though it was not what everyone had made it out to be. I liked how Woon made Gottfried Academy a character in itself. She structured the school for a purpose that I was desperate to understand and when the secrets were unraveled I was extremely impressed with the thought and creativity that went into it.I appreciated the relationship between Renee and Eleanor, her roommate. Several times Woon referenced the differing friendship between Annie, Renee's best friend in California, and Eleanor. It was refreshing to not have a competitive relationship between these friends, as most YA books seem to thrive on. These two were able to tell each other everything without fear of sounding crazy and that really impressed me.Then there was the mysterious Dante. The way the rest of the female student body spoke of him made me wary of his almost instant connection with Renee. I knew there was something supernatural going on and I was anxious for it to be revealed. Their romantic relationship was very sweet and they definitely walked a thin line together against Gottfried's strict rules. Although Dante was charming, protective, and intelligent, the idea that he was hiding something always nagged at me.It was a pleasant surprise to read a paranormal book that was a stand-alone. It seems that all I have been reading now are books in series that leave me wanting more. At the end of the book I felt complete even though it stayed in my mind long after.My only problem with the book was the length. There were times that I felt the story lost its pacing in the middle but as soon as it picked up again I was hooked.Overall this was a great book. It incorporated many philosophical ideas about the dead that I found very interesting and a love story that reaches deep down into the heart.more
It’s not often that I pick up a YA paranormal and come away thinking, “wow, I’ve never seen that before.”Because, you know, as awesome as the genre is, it’s a challenge to create something so completely new. And while Yvonne Woon‘s DEAD BEAUTIFUL may start out the way so many stories do — the main character mysteriously loses her parents to “accidental” deaths and is sent to boarding school by her cold grandfather for the sake of her safety — it doesn’t maintain that sameness for very long.Set in Northern Maine at the exclusive Gottfried Academy — a boarding school with weird rules like “no romantic relationships” and “no artificial light after dark,” Renée Winters’ story seems bleak. Her parents are dead, her formerly-estranged grandfather isn’t exactly friendly, and all the friends she ever knew are back on the west coast. Her new room mate, Eleanor, seems alright, but Renée is sure she’ll never fit in at such a strange, rigidly structured place where instead of taking biology and English she has classes like “Crude Sciences” and “Horticulture” and “Philosophy.” Not to mention, all students are required to take Latin.But on Renée’s first day she meets Dante Berlin. Eleanor has told Renée that Dante is totally weird, completely cut off contact with all of his friends after this kid Benjamin died last spring. And now he doesn’t talk to anyone at all. Then Dante starts talking to Renée. And he seems like the only person who could possibly understand her. He, too has lost his family. And while their romance seems so obvious and right, there are strange things about Dante that seem to get in the way. For one thing, he refuses to kiss Renée on the mouth. And no matter what happens, Renée can’t forget the way her parents died, how strange it seemed, and how it seems to be connected to her new school, and the odd kids from Advanced Latin whom Dante used to call friends.With a mythology based in classical philosophy and Latin, DEAD BEAUTIFUL is a sneakily smart book, eerily romantic and sexy. This is definitely the sort of book paranormal fans will love, and romance addicts will cling to. I absolutely can’t wait for Yvonne Woon‘s next book, and I’m hoping to see more of Dante and Renée to come.more
This was an entertaining story which had some clever elements and some strong similarities to a couple of other successful stories. The sent-to-boarding-school-by-mysterious-but-ostensibly-well-meaning guardian-after-parents-have-died-mysteriously, gothic setting of said boarding school in remote area with lurking (adult) hall monitor, and unorthodox academic repertoire themes found in Harry Potter are found here. Also found here is a paranormal, forbidden, dangerous for the heroine romance with a beautiful and perfect young undead male and their lusting for each other, also found in the wildly popular Twilight series. There is a little more complication thrown in here, perhaps, as we discover the undead male is not so safe from the living female heroine with special talents, some of which include the ability to suss out dead things. The author leaves room for a sequel at the conclusion. I'd read a sequel, as, stated earlier, I found it entertaining, plus there were enough fairly original elements (such as the use of a seventh meditation from Renee Descartes which explains how the undead are created, how long they live, what they need to come back to life, and how to wash your hands of them) to make me wonder how the characters will navigate towards their ending, even if we've already seen this tale. And really, how many books aren't some form of this?more
Dead Beautiful is dark and creepy, with many secrets to unfold. The action takes place in a boarding school, where Renee meets and falls in love with Dante. The book is atmospheric and mysterious, with several surprises. Although the plot is similar to other books in the paranormal genre, it is written well and has enough of a twist to entertain. The pace can be a bit slow at times, but it leads to a powerful ending.Renee is mourning her parents’ death throughout the novel, and trying to find the link between their deaths and the deaths at Gottfried. She is an intelligent character and discovers she has a special talent to find dead bodies. It takes her awhile to put the pieces of the puzzle together and that can be a little frustrating. Her relationship with Dante starts out slow and they spend a fair amount of time getting to know each other. This book does break out of the love triangle mold. There are no third parties involved in their relationship.Dante is gorgeous, mysterious, has cold breath and skin, is mature for his age, strong, and does not sleep or eat. Sound familiar? The attraction between him and Renee is immediate, although they have many obstacles to overcome as a couple. He is caring and protective of Renee and works with her to solve the mysteries at Gottfried.Gottfried Academy is the perfect setting for the book. It has secret tunnels, and a mysterious group of monitors that makes sure that the students follow the strict code of conduct. The classes sound really interesting such as Horticulture, Latin, and Philosophy. Renee’s family has a long history at the school.I listened to the audiobook of Dead Beautiful, and it is a long audiobook at just over 12 hours long. The reader does a good job with the characters, and keeping the tone appropriately creepy. The voice actress also reads the House of Night audiobooks, so she may sound familiar. This book works well as an audiobook, and it kept my interest up throughout.The ending is surprising and bittersweet. It works well as a standalone book, but I’m also curious to see what would happen next with a sequel.Dead Beautiful should appeal to those who enjoyed the Twilight series, or other young adult paranormal books set in boarding schools. However, there is a little more mystery and a little less romance in this book than other books in this genre. Although the pacing is slow at times, this eerie and romantic story satisfies.more
A surprisingly original tale, even though it contains many very familiar elements; a girl who is more than she thought she was, a boy who is both dangerous and highly attractive at the same time, unexplained deaths, and a boarding school with a select group of students who are cloaked in mystery. This book has mystery, suspense, and romance. Yes, some of the situations are quite similar to other YA books (cough... Twilight) but there's a totally new explanation and not a vampire to be seen anywhere! I really enjoyed Woon's explanation of the undead, and how they are created. Best of all, she manages to introduce the idea, and tie it up all in one book! Finally, there's a great twist that I did NOT see coming, and it was heart wrenching and totally satisfying. The minor flaw, is that I didn't like some of the things Renee did in order to attract and maintain Dante's attention, but she certainly isn't the first girl to make some dumb choices on behalf of a boy.more
This is one of those delicious YA Paranormal books that begins in an ordinary way and then ends with a huge BANG!!! Renee Winters is a typical high school student just beginning to explore her independence and her first boyfriend. She lives in a really neat California coastal area and loves her friends and her school and her life. Then…tragedy upsets her family and she is left in the care of her grandfather. She has not seen her grandfather since she was a small child. Before she knows what is happening she is whisked away by her rather wealthy and eccentric grandfather to Maine…first to his home and then to Gottfried Academy… which will be her new boarding school. Just before school begins she stays with her grandfather in the huge palatial home where her mother was raised. She discovers that her mother’s room has remained untouched and is filled with her mother’s clothing, books, and all of her other possessions. This is extremely interesting to Renee as she discovers that there are huge gaps in her knowledge of her mother’s early life. Oh…she also learns that both her mother and father attended Gottfried Academy. There are even more secrets surrounding this discovery.So…just as Renee is making these discoveries about her parents she is sent to school where her new life literally becomes one huge mystery. Everything at that school is subject to many questions and Renee has them and is thought to be quite outspoken by her peers and teachers. The school is old and odd…lots of funny rules and restrictions and lots and lots of unusual students. She meets a magnificent looking fellow student named Dante who at first tries to avoid Renee but later can not stay away from her…literally…she is his “soul mate”. Enough said about that… There were enough mean teachers and weird students and mysterious deaths in this novel to keep me interested and sort of on the edge of my reading seat. I loved reading this book. It was wonderfully unique and different. I had ideas about where the plot was headed but I was enjoying reading this book so much that I loved the slowness the author took to get me there. The writing was lovely. The story was a new one. The ending literally took my breath away. I do recommend it to you, highly.more
Ok, what a great and intriguing read. And the twist! I certainly did not see that coming. Beautiful Dead is a great read. Everything in it was perfect.So as I started to read this book, I was thrown into a whirlwind of surprises. Poor Renee, always going through some many unexpected tragic things. I felt sorry for her, but was glad that she prevailed.Renee arrived at this new school and her rebellious attitude has me giddy from the start. I immensely enjoyed her smart mouth, know it all attitude. It brought so much more drama and excitement to the book. And who doesn't enjoy a rebellious teen.Now the love interest in the story was one so unique and detailed to beautifully. I love how Ms. Woon was able to tie it all together. I never saw that ending coming but WOW! She got me good. And what I loved the most about it was that is was unique. It was nothing that I've read before and it all totally fit. Ms. Woon certainly wrote a book that completely caught me off guard. I was certain it was about one thing, but she managed to keep the suspense in the book so high, that I had no other choice but to continue to read until I finally saw the truth. And the truth was Dead Beautiful.more
Renee is off to celebrate her birthday when she sees her parents car abandoned on the side of the road. She finds them both dead in the woods of apparent heart attacks, on the ground they are covered in coins and in their mouths white cloths.She is forced into her grandfather's custody. A man she's never known and who doesn't understand her at all. When he decides she is better off at Gottfried Academy than at a public school she knows she's in for trouble.On the first day of school she runs into Dante, a boy who never talks to anyone with a face of an angel. Her new friends tell her that Dante once found a student dead in the woods, and the student had also died of a heart attack.Renee is determined to get Dante to talk to her about the incident, and prove that her parents were murdered. Soon things start becoming strange around the Academy, from her roommate's disappearance, to the files she finds on the dead student. She will have to watch her back or she too might find herself in deep trouble.Just when I thought I got this book, it turns me in a loop and I find out I was horribly wrong. It's full of mystery and intrigue, and I loved that I was wrong every time.Renee's relationship with Dante was kind of weird for me. He ran away every time they talked, his kisses made her go numb and sometimes pass out? And when she asks him where he's from she says she 'can't imagine someone so perfect being from anywhere.' Uh...what? I wanted to see some kind of flaw in him.I did like the relationship she had with her grandfather. Just when she thought she was finally learning more about him and about their family past, she would find out something else about him that made her not trust him again.So you've got the mystery, the romance hanging by a thread, the family turmoil, the new friendships, the old ones, and the eerie school that has it's share of secrets itself.A good read that gets great about 300 pages in. Worth the read if you hang in there.more
Renee’s sixteenth birthday should have gone off without a hitch. She’s got great friends and a perfect boyfriend, not to mention a wonderful relationship with her parents. Life, however, doesn’t always go according to plan. Renee, while taking a drive through the country with her best friend, happens upon her parents lying dead in the woods. All of a sudden, her life is turned upside down and she is shipped from sunny California to a boarding school, Gottfried Academy, in gloomy Maine.Reading Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon was a so-so experience for me. There were things I loved, and things I could have done without, ultimately canceling each other out to create the so-so.Y’all know I am such a huge nerd. Well, I raise my nerd flag high by saying this, but I really enjoyed reading about Gottfried Academy’s curriculum. Hey, it is the educator in me. I would have loved to go to this school and take Latin or horticulture or the arcane sciences. It sounds like Hogwarts all up in that joint and vastly more appealing than lame old Earth Science or biology. I mean, ARCANE SCIENCE. That sounds awesome.ALSO, if you’ve taken a philosophy class, and actually enjoyed it, I will bet you can find enjoyment in Dead Beautiful. There’s so many references. Descartes? Plato? Yes, plz. Sign me up, stat. I know, I know, I am in nerd OVERDRIVE today, but I just get so excited whenever the metaphor of the cave is mentioned.However, academic awesomeness aside, this book falls prey to that phenomenon that I often see in paranormal novels. You know what I’m talkin’ bout? The whole, I see you, you so sexy, mmm makeout, WE R IN LUVVV. Good freakin’ god. There is a scene where Renee is contemplating Dante, and she is all I lurve you sooo much, let’s drop out of school and run away together. Bad ideas, kids, bad ideas. And this is after a month of dating. I guess, when I see love in a book, I want sexual tension. I want build up. I don’t want this whole blink and you miss it courtship. Yes, I get that love sometimes creeps up on you. However, this was more wham bam thank you m’am luvvv. So, if you are down for that, then I am sure you will be able to enjoy the romance. I have my preferences, you have yours.I mean, as far as characters go, I liked Renee. I liked how she sassed her teachers. I like that she calls people on being douchebags. I just wish she had a little more substance in her romantic entanglements.I guess your takeaway from this review should be if you are nerdy and heart academics and don’t mind overnight love connections, you should definitely go out and buy this book. Or if you have a penchant for the creepy, Yvonne Woon does a great job of creating a creepy atmosphere.more
Dead Beautiful is one of those books that had all of the right ingredients, but didn’t deliver to the fullness I was expecting.On her sixteenth birthday Renee Winters makes an awful discovery: she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest near her home. What looks like a possible double murder is explained away by the police as heart attacks. Renee doesn’t believe this explanation and wants answers, but before she can find any her grandfather moves her across the country. In addition, Renee is enrolled in Gottfried Academy a somewhat isolated boarding school in Maine. With its dress code, strict curfew and odd selection of classes, Gottfried is not what Renee is used to. Soon she also learns about the mystery surrounding a student’s death the year before. And then there is Dante, the gorgeous but distant boy who is most definitely hiding something. Dead Beautiful has a lot of things going for it. There’s a boarding school setting with a creepy town, classes that are weird enough that they’re interesting, odd professors, a fun roommate, and a beautiful but mysterious love interest whose eye the main character catches. And speaking of the main character, Renee is strong, intelligent and inquisitive and follows her instincts. But, it all felt very familiar, like a bunch of books had been mashed together with a few unique details (such as the discussion about Rene Descartes and his Meditations on First Philosophy) and the end result was Dead Beautiful. Maybe I was expecting more unique details from such an interesting summary or maybe I'm being too critical, but Dead Beautiful just wasn't what I was expecting.In addition, the story takes quite awhile to really pick up. It took me about 200 pages to really get into the story; I almost gave up on it several times before I really got hooked. But, I persevered and found that the mystery behind the student’s death and Renee’s questions about her parents’ death and what she and Dante do to find out about both lead the reader on a twisty ride to a very great ending. The ending, in fact, is the best part of Dead Beautiful. I found myself glued to the book in those last fifty pages. I had to know the final outcome. And when I got to the last page, the ending was the perfect conclusion. There is enough left unresolved that there could be a sequel, but at the same time it really stops on such a great note that it would be a shame to answer every single unanswered question. Dead Beautiful would appeal to fans of paranormal, as well as school stories that have mystery and a bit of romance. It’s worth reading just to get to the last few chapters.more
I didn't have any expectations going into this book, and I was so pleasantly surprised that I loved it the way I did. I was engrossed from the beginning of the story, when poor Renee finds her parents dead in the woods, to the bitter and shocking ending that left me reeling. This book was set at a boarding school, which is a setting that I really love when it's done well, which it was in this case. The teachers and students are all beyond smart and each has a compelling personality that draws you in.Renee was a fantastic main character. She was smart and resourceful. Even dealing with the shocking death of her parents, she is strong and stands up for what she believes in. When she moves to the mysterious Godfried Academy and finds that there are things there that might lead her to answers about what happened to her parents she is unstoppable in her quest for answers. Dante is the classic male lead, handsome and mysterious and everything a girl is looking for. He was completely devoted to Renee from the moment they got together. Although he was the classic male lead, he was also charming in his own right and a lot of fun to read.Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I think a lot of you will as well. It had a mystery that had me guessing through the whole book. The paranormal element in this book was one of the biggest mysteries, so I won't give it away, but I will say that it was really unique. I'm really looking forward to reading more from this author!more
Dead Beautiful opens with Renee discovering her parent’s bodies in a very isolated area. It seems she experienced something like a “pull" to the location. Things get even more bizarre (in a good way) as the plot progresses. Her estranged Grandfather shows up to assume the role of Renee’s guardian, and informs her she should attend Gottfried Academy for her own safety. Renee leaves behind her friends, home, and kinda sorta boyfriend. Gottfried turns out to be nothing like she expected. Renee discovers possible connections between events at her new school, and the suspicious deaths of her mom and dad. She then sets out to find out what really happened to her parents with the help of mysterious hottie, Dante.My initial attraction to this book was the gorgeous cover. It is even more beautiful in person. The best news is the pages behind the pretty picture live up to the fabulous cover! I find it hard to believe this is a debut novel. Yvonne Woon managed to create something very special with Dead Beautiful’s intricate plot, and engaging characters.This a without a doubt a B.A.B (Big Ass Book), but it doesn’t read like one. My attention was captured from the start, and held until the very last page. While reading I had several Aha! moments where I thought I had it all figured out. I was subsequently proven wrong with the next twist or turn. Dante and Renee’s romance will leave you swooning. You can almost feel the chemistry radiating from the pages when they are together. I also have to mention the almost kissing scene. Yes, I said almost. They don’t actually kiss in a certain scene involving a chalkboard, but it will leave you fanning yourself. Yvonne Woon gives good teen romance. The ending seems to set us up for a possible sequel. Please, say there will be one! I’d love to read more about Renee and Dante’s adventures at Gottfried Academy.I have a feeling Dead Beautiful will be a highly talked about book this fall. It has the potential to create a serious following. I highly recommend you add this one to your fall reading list.more
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