Title: Dead Beautiful
Author: Yvonne Woon
Series: Dead Beautiful #1
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Pub. Date: 2010
From Goodreads: On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renée Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she’d ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.
After the funeral Renée’s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious boarding school in Maine, where she finds herself studying subjects like Philosophy, Latin, and the “Crude Sciences.”
It’s there that she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome and elusive boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they grow closer, unexplainable things begin to happen, but Renée can’t stop herself from falling in love. It’s only when she discovers a dark tragedy in Gottfried’s past that she begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems.
Little does she know, Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.
Dead Beautiful is both a compelling romance and thought-provoking read, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.
My Reveries and Ramblings: 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.