Published: September 2010
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.
While I enjoyed reading Dead Beautiful, it was another one of those stories that I enjoyed - but.... I can't pin down what was missing for me. The story is fairly fast paced, with a wonderful mystery going on and the characters were well rounded and believable. The disintegration of the friendship between Renee and Annie after Renee moves was spot-on, and the growth of the friendship between Renee and Eleanor was nicely done. But ..... Somehow, I just didn't quite connect with any of the characters.
Dante is gorgeous and thoughtful and mysterious - and a little flat. The romance between Renee and Dante is very sweet, and for me, that was all it was, the zing was missing. This type of review is very hard to write because there was nothing that I actively disliked, and there was just nothing that stood out and made it special - for me anyway. The ending was not exactly cliff-hangerish, but it was definitely unresolved. So, will I read #2? Probably, yes, but I won't rush out to get it.
I'd really like to hear what anyone else thought of this one, if you enjoyed it, or were like me and just thought it so-so.