Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: 'Dead Beautiful' by Yvonne Woon

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
Publication Date: September 21, 2010
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Buy Links: Paperback | Kindle | Kobo


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 Review:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely adored this book! I went into it having no idea what to expect, but a little reluctant because it is on the longer side and I didn't want to end up bored by it. By the time I finished all I could think is I need more. Lucky for me this is the first book in a series and I know at least one has already been released so I will have more and soon. This book was completely unique and compelling. I have never read anything quite like it and that is really saying something in a world of bazillions of young adult paranormal books. I've read quite a few Disney-Hyperion young adult paranormal/fantasy books lately and I have yet to be disappointed in anything I've read from them. It's starting to get to the point where I will automatically read any of their young adult books, no questions asked.

This is the story of Renee, a seemingly normal girl living in California. One day when driving back from a day out with her best friend she notices her parents' car abandoned on the side of the road. Drawn by some unknown force she walks out into the forest until she comes upon both of her parents dead. They are surrounded by coins and bits of gauze, some of the gauze in their mouths. Their deaths are ruled as deaths by natural causes. They both have died of what appear to be heart attacks. Renee is crushed by their deaths and even more crushed when her estranged grandfather comes to take her away. He takes her to the Gottfried Academy in Maine where she soon learns her parents both attended. The school is very remote and incredibly strange. Her classes are very classical in nature and the students are all a bit on the odd side. The whole school has a creepy feel to it. She soon meets Dante, a mysterious boy that is drop dead gorgeous and who has suffered a tragedy of his own. Every girl loves him, but he doesn't talk to anyone until he meets Renee. They have an instant connection that goes beyond anything normal or natural. They also both start to realize that they have had some very similar experiences and that there appear to be many coincidences between the two of them. Renee grows to really love the school and Dante, but she begins to uncover dark secrets about herself, the school, her family, and Dante that begin to make things very dangerous for her.

The thing I enjoyed most about this book is the atmosphere Woon creates throughout the whole story. There is an eery feel to the book. When reading the story you not only understand Gottfried and the creepy things that occur, but you also feel them through Woon's writing style and beautifully crafted words and descriptions.Woon has a rare gift. I have read only one or two other books that so enraptured me and wrapped me up into the world of the book so completely. I cannot wait to read the next books in this series. This book went so far as to give me chills while reading it.

The plot was also so unique and unlike any story I've read before. I cannot go into it too much because part of the fun of reading this book is slowly unraveling what is really going on and the mystery behind everything. But it is one of those all too rare books where the plot is completely unpredictable and impossible to figure out without finishing the book. It isn't just another story about vampires or fae or were creatures, but a whole new kind of mythology. These completely new and unique mythologies are too few and far between, but this is most definitely one of them.

Like I said this book is on the longer side, but I ended up reading it very quickly. Once you get into it you will not be able to stop reading. I kept trying to pin the plot and mythology down to one I already knew, but to no avail. This book is perfection. I have completely fallen in love with Dante and adore Renee and her open-mindedness and free-spirited personality. The plot is an all new and unique mythology and world. The writing is flawless. I just cannot stress enough how cool Woon's writing is. Her writing is as much a part of the story as the plot or characters. This book made me cry, scared the crap out of me, and made me laugh at times (Renee's roommate is a hoot). I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars and I believe it deserves every one of them whole-heartedly. 

No comments:

Post a Comment