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{July 27, 2014}   {Review} Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon (Dead Beautiful #1)

Dead BeautifulFrom Goodreads: 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.

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Talk about a swift kick in the gut, Woon leaves readers frantic at the end of her engaging novel, Dead Beautiful. Although carrying many similarities to both Harry Potter and Twilight, Woon makes her novel stand on its own with her creation of the undead in a manner unlike any I’ve read about before. Steeped in mythology and lore, the novel really comes to life as Renee learns of her heritage and figures out just what exactly is wandering the halls of her prestigious boarding school, and though it certainly isn’t any secret to readers, as Renee begins to slowly figure it out, the novel sinks its hooks into the reader.

Yes, there were instances where I shook my head due to a lack of originality, points where the text was so eerily similar to others I’ve already mentioned that I was wary, but as the novel unfolds, if you stick with it, it becomes a beautiful, enticing story that will captivate readers to the very end–to the point where s/he’ll drop the books and demand the second book straight away. At least, that’s what happened with me, and I certainly wasn’t expecting it.

Along the way, I fell in love with the characters, and though I thought Renee was a little slow on the uptake, I did absolutely adore Dante, and the final revelations floored me; I immediately googled the series to make sure the second book was available, and thankfully, both books two and three are out. Seriously, that ending. Wow. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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