I had such high hopes for this book when I began reading it. Dead Beautiful is about a young girl whose parents die mysteriously. The girl is sent to a creepy boarding school on the other side of the country where she meets the most gorgeous guy in the world. Of course, he has some pretty freaky secrets, and she has to figure them out. Yes, I know this sounds familiar, but I was hoping for a different twist in this formulaic story. I did get a twist, but it was not what I was expecting (or even hoping to see), and some scenes, descriptions, and characters in this book were kind of obviously ripped off from other similar works. Now, I’m not saying this book was all bad, but it wasn’t all good either. But what do I know. Read Dead Beautiful and judge for yourself.
What do you do if you find your parents dead in the woods, and there’s no rational explanation for why they were there or how they died? Well, if you’re Renee Winters, you’re sent to live with your super-rich grandfather who, in turn, sends you to a weird boarding school on the other side of the country. In essence, Renee has lost everything–her parents, her home, her friends, her sense of familiarity with her surroundings–and she’s been plopped into a scary new environment where everything is not always as it appears.
At the prestigious Gottfried Academy, Renee is unprepared for the courses she’s now taking. At her old school in California, she took the basics–math, English, science, history, and maybe a foreign language. At Gottfried, however, Renee finds herself enrolled in classes like horticulture, crude sciences, elementary Latin, and others that seem to have no merit in the world outside of her new school…or so it seems.
As Renee is dealing with this new school, living with a roommate, facing life without her parents, and leaving her old life behind, she also comes face-to-face with the most beautiful boy she has ever seen. His name is Dante Berlin. He’s absolutely perfect. Well, almost. Okay, so his skin is really cold, he never sleeps or eats, he heals remarkably fast, and he’s the only student allowed to live off-campus. (Does this guy sound familiar to anyone? Does he perhaps remind you of a sparkly vampire maybe? Hmmm?) Renee isn’t really bothered by any of this, but she does wonder why Dante will never kiss her on the lips.
Renee is wondering about some other things, too. Like, what is the strange Gottfried Curse that no one seems to want to talk about. What happened to the two students who left school last year? And why does Renee think their disappearances and other strange happenings at Gottfried are somehow connected to her parents’ deaths? What would lead her to this conclusion? And could she be right? Figure it out for yourself when you read Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon.
I’m not a huge fan of this book for many reasons, the least of which is the lack of clear resolution at the end of the book. I also felt that some things were basically stolen from the Twilight saga, and I really didn’t like the twist in the relationship between Renee and Dante. Also–and I know this is giving something away, but here goes–I really hate zombies. Any creature that even remotely resembles a zombie, really. Totally ruined things for me. Honestly, I doubt I would have even picked up this book if I had known what I was in for, but I did, and I’ll have to live with the nightmares. (Did I mention that I hate zombies?)
Anyway, if you decide to give Dead Beautiful a try, please let me know what you think. Did you catch the similarities to other books? Were you as disappointed as I was that the author couldn’t be just a little more original?