Review: Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
Forbidden love, what a dangerous thing! I've literally just finished this which left me in a world of 'Nooooooooooo'. I can't believe the ending was so sad, I thought at least they'd be able to be together.

Rewind! So, this is a story about Renee, who lives a nice average life in California. She goes to school, hangs our with her friend Annie, and has two loving parents. But tragedy strikes and on the way home from a day by the sea she finds her parents car on the roadside. After a search she then finds her parents. Both dead, with gauze and coins around them.

Renee is taken in by her grandfather but not before she almost implodes with the shock and pain of her loss. The writing absolutely captures her want to remain in the minute or the hour and not move forward. She wants her parents back and everything to be normal again. But from that point on, nothing is ever normal again.

Her grandfather came over as a really creepy guy. Someone who, at sixteen, would make me certainly scared of. He tries to set rules and knock out the carefree-ness of her but to little effect. And then the final blow. He sends her to Gottfried Academy, in Maine, and tells her to wave her old life goodbye.

When Dante Berlin comes into the picture she feels an enlightening, a meeting of minds and a joining of hearts. Although no-one in the school really knows him, he is revered by all. The enigma. The one with no friends but the one everyone looks for. Eleanor, Renees new room-mate fills in the blanks, but it is Renees strong will and character that worms its way into Dante's heart.

Dante and Renee begin meeting and soon there are more questions than answers going on in her head. Why are his hands always cold? Why does she feel sometimes like he's reading her mind? Why will he not kiss her?

With a mixture of philosophy, history, the dead language of latin, and odd subjects like crude science and horticulture Renee begins to put the pieces together of how students have been dying from heart attacks. Exactly the same way her parents died. And the truth isn't at all what she expected.

This isn't a ghost story, or a story about Zombies. It's the space inbetween that makes Dead Beautiful such an amazing part of the Paranormal genre.

The next installment, Life Eternal, came out on 24th January and I'm going to bag me a copy right now!
You can reach Yvonne Woon here:
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