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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Published September 21, 2010 by Hyperion Books CH
ISBN 978-1-4231-1956-2
480 pages
Series? Yes
Rating: PG-13
BUY / Nook / Kindle

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.

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.

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