Thursday, July 8, 2010

ARC Review: Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Title: Dead Beautiful
Author: Yvonne Woon
Release Date: 9/21/2010
Publisher: Hyperion
Number of pages: 480
Reading level: Young Adult

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Thanks Book It Forward Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book!

Description from Goodreads:

A haunting love story about desire, danger, and destiny. 

After Renee Winters discovers her parents lying dead in California’s Redwood Forest in what appears to be a strange double murder, her grandfather sends her off to Gottfried Academy in Maine, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, “crude sciences,” and Latin: the Language of the Dead. It’s here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they get to know each other better, Dante can’t seem to control his attraction either, and their desires gradually deepen into a complex and dangerous romance. Dangerous because Dante is hiding a frightening secret. A secret so terrible, it has him fearing for Renee’s life. 

Dante’s not the only one with secrets, though. Turns out Gottfried Academy has a few of its own… Like, how come students keep disappearing? Why are the prefect-like Monitors creeping around campus during the night? And what exactly are the Headmistress and Professors really up to? Renee is determined to find out why.

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 thoughts:

Dead Beautiful opens with Renee discovering her parent’s bodies in a very isolated area. It seems she experienced something like a “pull" to the location. Things get even more bizarre (in a good way) as the plot progresses. Her estranged Grandfather shows up to assume the role of Renee’s guardian, and informs her she should attend Gottfried Academy for her own safety. Renee leaves behind her friends, home, and kinda sorta boyfriend. Gottfried turns out to be nothing like she expected. Renee discovers possible connections between events at her new school, and the suspicious deaths of her mom and dad. She then sets out to find out what really happened to her parents with the help of mysterious hottie, Dante.

My initial attraction to this book was the gorgeous cover. It is even more beautiful in person. The best news is the pages behind the pretty picture live up to the fabulous cover! I find it hard to believe this is a debut novel. Yvonne Woon managed to create something very special with Dead Beautiful’s intricate plot, and engaging characters.

This a without a doubt a B.A.B (Big Ass Book), but it doesn’t read like one. My attention was captured from the start, and held until the very last page. While reading I had several Aha! moments where I thought I had it all figured out. I was subsequently proven wrong with the next twist or turn. Dante and Renee’s romance will leave you swooning. You can almost feel the chemistry radiating from the pages when they are together.  I also have to mention the almost kissing scene. Yes, I said almost. They don’t actually kiss in a certain scene involving a chalkboard, but it will leave you fanning yourself. Yvonne Woon gives good teen romance. The ending seems to set us up for a possible sequel. Please, say there will be one! I’d love to read more about Renee and Dante’s adventures at Gottfried Academy.

I have a feeling Dead Beautiful will be a highly talked about book this fall. It has the potential to create a serious following. I highly recommend you add this one to your fall reading list.


  1. The story sounds interesting. You are correct, the cover is beautiful.

  2. I've had this one on my wishlist for a while now, and this is the first review I've seen. It sounds great! Can't wait to read it!

  3. So happy to hear this book is as good as you say it is! I'm fond of the cover, but wondered if the story would live up to it. Now I can't wait to meet these two. :)

  4. BAB?
    New term for me :)

    This sounds really good and the cover is so intriguing.

  5. I've now added this to my TBR pile! Thanks for the great review!

  6. I like it already. It sounds perfect for the fall, it has about 400 pages so for me that's no summer read. :) Love the cover!

  7. Sounds like a good one, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  8. Sounds like a terrific fall read. I'll keep my eyes out for it. I always love a little romance mixed in with some mystery. The combination really makes a book a page turner.