Dead Beautiful tells the story of Renée, a teenager whose life is turned upside down following the death of her parents in mysterious circumstances. After the funeral, she is sent to boarding school in New England by her enigmatic grandfather. But Renée is dismayed to find how far removed the Gottfried Academy is from her high school in California, due to its odd rituals and old-fashioned subjects, such as Latin and horticulture.
During her first week at the academy, Renée meets the ‘devastatingly handsome’ Dante Berlin, a boy who doesn’t eat or sleep and who is cold to the touch. Dante is a romantic hero in the same vein (pardon the pun!) as Edward Cullen, so this book is sure to appeal to Twilight fans!
Woon tells a compelling story and creates a haunting setting at Gottfried, where nothing is as it seems. Esoteric and philosophical concepts are brought to life as the students receive an education like no other. The elitism at the boarding school is well described while Renée tries to find her place amongst the cliques.
The romance between Renée and Dante treads familiar ground; nevertheless, it is very relatable since Renée is a very convincing teen character. But this book comes into its own as a mystery novel; the secrets that are gradually revealed change the way Renée thinks about herself and the world around her, more so than any of the classes she takes. These revelations make Dead Beautiful a very satisfying read and will keep readers guessing right to the very end.