Publisher: Hyperion Book CH, September 21 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Format/pages: Hardcover 480 pages
Format read/listened to: Audiobook
Date read: February 1 2011
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Renee Winters’ parents have died together under mysterious circumstances on her sixteenth birthday. Now Renee is under her grandfather’s guardianship and must leave her friends behind to attend a prestigious boarding school named Gottfried Academy. At Gottfried Renee meets Dante Berlin and they have an instant attraction. Strange events, disappearances and deaths occur at Gottfried, deaths eerily similar to that of Renee’s parents. Renee must unlock the key to solve the mystery before tragedy strikes again.
Dead Beautiful is dark and creepy, with many secrets to unfold. The action takes place in a boarding school, where Renee meets and falls in love with Dante. The book is atmospheric and mysterious, with several surprises. Although the plot is similar to other books in the paranormal genre, it is written well and has enough of a twist to entertain. The pace can be a bit slow at times, but it leads to a powerful ending.
Renee is mourning her parents’ death throughout the novel, and trying to find the link between their deaths and the deaths at Gottfried. She is an intelligent character and discovers she has a special talent to find dead bodies. It takes her awhile to put the pieces of the puzzle together and that can be a little frustrating. Her relationship with Dante starts out slow and they spend a fair amount of time getting to know each other. This book does break out of the love triangle mold. There are no third parties involved in their relationship.
Dante is gorgeous, mysterious, has cold breath and skin, is mature for his age, strong, and does not sleep or eat. Sound familiar? The attraction between him and Renee is immediate, although they have many obstacles to overcome as a couple. He is caring and protective of Renee and works with her to solve the mysteries at Gottfried.
Gottfried Academy is the perfect setting for the book. It has secret tunnels, and a mysterious group of monitors that makes sure that the students follow the strict code of conduct. The classes sound really interesting such as Horticulture, Latin, and Philosophy. Renee’s family has a long history at the school.
I listened to the audiobook of Dead Beautiful, and it is a long audiobook at just over 12 hours long. The reader does a good job with the characters, and keeping the tone appropriately creepy. The voice actress also reads the House of Night audiobooks, so she may sound familiar. This book works well as an audiobook, and it kept my interest up throughout.
The ending is surprising and bittersweet. It works well as a standalone book, but I’m also curious to see what would happen next with a sequel.
Dead Beautiful should appeal to those who enjoyed the Twilight series, or other young adult paranormal books set in boarding schools. However, there is a little more mystery and a little less romance in this book than other books in this genre. Although the pacing is slow at times, this eerie and romantic story satisfies.