Review: Dead Beautiful – Yvonne Woon

Posted 10 July, 2014 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: Dead Beautiful – Yvonne WoonDead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
Series: Dead Beautiful #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on 21 September 2010
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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2 Stars

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.

*I received a free ARC of Dead Beautiful from Disney-Hyperion via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

Dead Beautiful is a pretty predictable YA story, where not that many things happen, the mystery isn’t really mysterious, and the characters and the story never managed to truly draw me in.

My Dead Beautiful review:

Dead Beautiful didn’t really take off for me, the mystery wasn’t mysterious enough, Renée wasn’t engaging enough, and Dante wasn’t enigmatic enough. I didn’t feel invested in the characters, especially because Renée seemed to change completely from when she was home to when she arrived at her new and expensive boarding school. All of the YA tropes I can do without are a part of Dead Beautiful, the girl who doesn’t realize she’s pretty, the dark and brooding boy who falls for her, insta-love and no parents.

Sadly, I never got into the story in Dead Beautiful, and I think it’s partly because it was so slow-moving, with very little happening, that I just didn’t feel the beautiful in Dead Beautiful at all. I was quite bored, actually. The whole zombie aspect didn’t appeal to me at all, because to me those kids weren’t really zombies at all – they were rather closer to vampires who didn’t get hurt by the sun. The whole secrecy between Renée’s grandfather and the things she should have been told has been done many times before, and Renée’s relationship with the other characters was superficial.

The writing in Dead Beautiful is quite good, though, even if it could have showed me slightly more than it did, rather than just telling me. The first person narrator is Renée herself, so I should have felt like I got to know her pretty well, but I don’t think I really did. And since it is written in past tense, there could have been a little more awareness or foreshadowing, but to me, it felt mostly flat and quite boring.

Some of my favorite Dead Beautiful quotes:

“Right,” I said, standing up, embarrassed that I had caused such a fuss. This had happened to me before. Even as a child, I seemed to find my way to dead things.

 After studying me for a few moments, he turned and faced the professor without even acknowledging me. Shocked by his rudeness and unsure of what to do, I turned my attention to the board and pretended to ignore him. We sat in silence until the professor finished calling off the names.

I blinked once, and everything except for Dante seemed muted and distant. I stared at him – horrified, confused, excited – at his lips, parted and drawing breath into his body as he tried to understand what had just happened, and I knew that nothing would ever be the same.

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Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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12 responses to “Review: Dead Beautiful – Yvonne Woon

    • I know 🙁 It’s always sad when a book doesn’t give me the entertainment I was looking for. Thanks for stopping by, Stormi 🙂

  1. Aww, another one where the writing was good but that didn’t equate to a good story. I’m sorry, Lexxie. It’s disappointing to waste valuable reading time on a story that didn’t work for you in any way. And I had high hopes for this one. Well, I hope your current read is full of awesome!

    I hope you have a wonderful day, my friend. **BIG HUGS**

  2. Oh no the quadruple threat in YA tropes?! I think insta-love might be my most hated thing in YA books, I just don’t believe the relationship from that point onwards. It’s just a pity that the writing was good, but not shown to it’s full potentional with a lacklustre story. Hopefully your next read will be better 🙂

    Amy @ The Reading Realm recently posted: {Review} On The Fence by Kasie West
  3. A friend of mine gifted me the paperback a long time ago, but I admit I still have to bring myself to read it. I’m definitely curious and I’m determined to give it a go at some point, but it sucks reading it didn’t do the job for you 🙁

    Silvia @ Darkest Sins recently posted: "Harder" by Robin York
  4. Sorry this was sort of a dud for you. I hate when you want to like a book but just don’t connect with the characters or the story, sometimes both. I honestly don’t read too much YA because I find it hard to connect with the characters but every once in a while I’ll take a chance on them, this doesn’t sound like one of those times…LOL Hope your next read is a good one Lexxie!

    Lori @ Romancing the Dark Side recently posted: Cover Reveal + Giveaway: The Shadow Aspect by Melanie Karsak

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