Author: Yvonne Woon
Release: September 21st, 2010
Renee Winters is shipped off to Gottfried Academy after discovering her parents dead in the forest, both seemingly dead from natural causes. Except, of course, for the gauze in their mouths and coins surrounding them.Review: A mystery that keeps you curious until the very end, Dead Beautiful is a fresh and unique story.
But things at Gottfried Academy aren't all bad. She's got a few good friends, some very unique classes, and then there's Dante Berlin. Mysterious, a loner, and completing intriguing to Renee.
Yet things at Gottfried Academy are not what they appear to be. People have gone missing, and their deaths resemble the way Renee found her parents. Even rumors that the Monitor students and the Headmistress killed a student start resurfacing. Everyone seems to be keeping something a secret, and Renee's continuous search for answers may put her in more danger than she wants....
Renee, right from the first chapter, is easy to sympathize with. She's strong, intelligent, yet coping with her parents death as best as she can. She wants answers, and "natural causes" isn't working for her. Dante is a bit mysterious, perhaps also a bit too reminiscent of other "mysterious" male characters like insert-your-favorite-mysteriously-paranormal-male-character-here, and yet his secret is nothing I've read before. The other supporting characters were intriguing, yet only a few really stood out.
Woon's debut is filled with rich description, making it easy to visualize everything. The story has it's moments where slows down considerably, and some readers may be turned off by that. But, if you're willing to push through the slower moments, the surprising and fascinating conclusion is worth reading.
Highlights: The last few chapters were amazing, because Renee finally starts getting the answers she's searching for. Woon definitely took a fresh twist on the clichéd supernatural boarding school story, because her story is unlike anything I've read before.
Lowlights: The pacing slows quite a few times, so it can be difficult to stay attached to the novel. A couple points in the end had me bit confused. Enough questions are answered by the end, but a few are left open (perhaps there's a sequel?).