Title: Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful, #1)
Author: Yvonne Woon
Publication: September 21, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Book
Summary taken from 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.
2.5 STARS - I LIKED IT ENOUGH
For a while, I had the horrible thought that this was going to be another Twilight knock-off since there were a couple of similar scenes in the book and because Dante was all hot and cold in the beginning. After around 300 pages, the plot deviated to a more unique twist, which had plot holes that had me wondering how it was even possible, and there was still a familiar Twilight scene that had me rolling my eyes.
Don't get me started on the romance. How can you ignore all of these strange things that occur every time you're with a guy and not question it? How can you just choose to ignore all of those weird sensations and instead think of them as special or whatever the fuck you were thinking?
I also want to question the book's cover. I can understand the background because a lot of stuff happened in the woods, and the cape because it's cold for a good chunk of the book, but the dress? Renee never even mentions a dress. It's not even a part of the boarding school's dress code! Yet another follower of the girl in a dress syndrome. (But I really like the matte feel of the cover.)
The writing wasn't bad. It was engaging enough for me to continue reading the book even though I became hesitant halfway through it. It was compelling through its simplicity, and the author knew how to add just the right amount of suspense at needed moments to motivate you to finish reading the book.
And I loved that Latin was incorporated in the book. Having taking Latin for two years (just last year at that!), I was quite irritated at myself for not being able to translate most of the words. I remembered the conjugations but not the words themselves! -__-"
The climax was pretty predictable, but the ending kind of irritated me. It was different from most books, but really, it kind of felt like a letdown after everything that happened. I was expecting something... better.
So yeah, I enjoyed this book enough to finish it but not enough to ever pick it up again for a long time.