Title: Dead Beautiful
Author: Yvonne Woon
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: Dead Beautiful, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An interesting new take on vampires and zombies, Dead Beautiful was a good debut--though I can't shake the feeling the author took a lot of inspiration from Harry Potter and Twilight.
Renee Winters's life is ruined when she discovers her parents dead in the woods in California, seemingly of heart attacks. But she discovers strange items with her parents' bodies: coins on their eyes and gauze in their mouths. After the funeral, Renee leaves for New England to live with the grandfather she barely knows. Once there, she is sent to Gottfried Academy, a mysterious old school with more secrets than she realizes. She meets Dante, a boy she feels mysteriously drawn to, but Renee realizes that love may be to die for--literally..
What I enjoyed:
-The pacing was breakneck--I couldn't put it down!
-Renee, and her determination to find truth throughout the novel, as well as live her life, though at times with Dante she was a bit whiny
-Dante, and his relationship with Renee
-The complex, layered mythology of the novel, different and engaging
-Nathaniel and Eleanor
-The elaborate hierarchy of the school
-The mystery that I didn't see coming and took me nearly the whole book to solve
-The Gottfried Academy, gothic and mysterious, reminding me of Hogwarts castle
What I didn't enjoy:
-It really seemed like Woon took a lot of inspiration from Harry Potter and Twilight--at the beginning of the novel it felt like those two stories were mixed together
I really liked Dead Beautiful--anyone looking for a good mystery or thriller should pick it up. Next on deck: Rogue by Gina Damico!