Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful Series #1) [NOOK Book]


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 ...
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Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful Series #1)

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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. EXCERPT: My mother used to tell me that matter was neither created nor destroyed, only transferred. She was filled with old theories that she would make me recite back to her, as if she were trying to tell me something about the world but couldn't find the right words. I never gave them much thought until she and my father were killed, but by then it was too late to ask what it had all meant. It wasn't until I enrolled at Gottfried Academy that I began to make sense of who I was and what I was fated to become.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For a girl who has just lost her parents, her home, and her friends, 16-year-old Renée Winters is an unusually analytical and composed narrator in this supernatural tale from first-time author Woon. A lifelong denizen of California public schools, Renée adjusts with effortless aplomb when her grandfather sends her to the private Gottfried Academy in northernmost Maine, where she joins the most exclusive clique and starts dating the most handsome boy on campus. Renée does have one quirk she keeps secret, though--her knack for finding dead things, from the corpses of her parents ("The redwood forest covers more than three hundred square miles," Renée's grandfather tells her, "yet you were able to find them within half an hour") to a desiccated mouse under a library table. She's also noticed that her boyfriend Dante's skin is unusually cold, and why are so many of the senior students fluent in that dead language, Latin? It's a Harry Potter start and a Twilight finish for this competent but somewhat predictable tale, which is told in a style that is more efficient than evocative. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Cara Chancellor
The day would have been perfect. It was Renee's sixteenth birthday, and she spent it at the beach with her best friend, Annie. Renee was not sure why she convinced Annie to drive home through a gloomy state forest, but when she saw her father's Jeep parked under the redwoods, she did know something was wrong. Then she found the bodies. Both her parents are dead, seemingly from simultaneous heart attacks, surrounded by strewn coins, and with their mouths stuffed with gauze. Renee keeps trying not to think about how unnaturally old they looked, nor how she found their bodies within minutes, as though she was drawn straight to them. When her estranged grandfather arrives as her new guardian and immediately transfers her to a remote school in Maine, Renee is torn between heartbreak and relief to be leaving behind so many memories. As she quickly learns, however, Gottfried Academy offers its own share of mystery, danger, and maybe even love, in the form of darkly handsome Dante Berlin. When Renee uncovers a "Gottfried Curse" that sounds eerily similar to her parents' deaths, she realizes that she will have to dig deeper into her family history if she wants answers...or to stay alive. Woon plays with a now-familiar love story between the living and undead in this book, but it receives fresh treatment at the hands of a fictional seventh meditation from philosopher Rene Descartes. Instead of rotting corpses, "zombies" here are children who died before age twenty-one and failed to be buried, each of whom now is in search of his/her reborn soul. On this premise, Woon creates a series of haunting images, a deliciously dark school, and a captivating story that will be embraced enthusiastically by fans of this genre. Reviewer: Cara Chancellor
VOYA - Stacey Hayman
Renee turned sixteen the same day she found both of her parents dead in the Redwood Forest. The official report listed heart attack as cause of death but no one could explain the coins scattered around their bodies or the gauze that had been pushed into their mouths. Now, her estranged grandfather has arranged for Renee to attend Gottfried Academy, the traditional family boarding school, for her safety. Starting her sophomore year on the east coast in a place where they don't allow electric lighting, and have scheduled her for archaic classes like Latin and horticulture, is challenging—but nothing is as hard as trying to figure out who to trust in a place so full of secrets. When Renee meets reclusive Dante, and he appears interested, it may be her heart that is in the most danger. Dead Beautiful is difficult to read. Ideas and characters are introduced and then abandoned, leaving readers to wonder what's actually important to the story. Characters are not developed past the point of stereotypes and the mysterious secrets develop so slowly, they lack any punch of surprise once revealed. If the focus had remained on the intricacies of soulless children searching for a second chance at life, and the potentially horrible acts that opportunity might require of them, or if the tormented, impossible love of Dante and Renee had been more fully developed, this would have been a stronger novel. The open ending implies there will be more to follow. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—A Twilight-esque plot is rehashed in this romantic horror story (Hyperion, 2010) by Yvonne Woon. Renee Winters, 16, is sent to the Gottfried Academy in a remote corner of Maine after the brutal murder of her parents. She's drawn to and puzzled by Dante Berlin, the school loner. He never eats or sleeps, is cold to the touch, and seems to be hiding something. Within weeks, Renee has recovered from the loss of her parents and is falling in love with Dante. As the school year progresses, Renee and Dante begin to investigate the "Gottfried curse"—the mysterious deaths and disappearances of classmates. Renee is slow to pick up on the fact that Dante is actually one of the undead, having lost his soul after an airplane accident that left him unburied. Caitlin Davies completely voices the women, but fails to authentically portray the males. Her voicing of Dante sounds like a parody of the husky male hero. The characters and language of this story aren't interesting enough to sustain the very lengthy narration, and listeners will become impatient for the end. Instead, suggest Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010; Simon & Schuster Audio, 2010) to those clamoring for romantic horror.—Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK
Kirkus Reviews

Anyone who reads knows that vampires are in. But this hefty novel takes a new and unconventional look at the undead, focusing on story and interesting characters and leaving gore and mayhem hidden in the background. Renée Winters is a sunny California teenager who has a rude awakening when both her parents die mysteriously in the woods. Suddenly in the care of a grandfather she doesn't know, she's forced to leave her friends, her school and everything she knows behind. Sent to an exclusive and very private academy in a desolate part of Maine, she makes new friends, discovers new abilities and cannot help but be drawn to a handsome and enigmatic loner, Dante. Feeling as Alice must have when she fell down the rabbit hole, Renée keeps trying to find answers to questions she's not even sure are real, struggling to reconcile past and present if she is to have any hope of a future. Well written, intriguing and, above all, different, this story ends with much to explore in what one hopes will be swiftly forthcoming sequels.(Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423146414
  • Publisher: Disney Press
  • Publication date: 9/21/2010
  • Series: Dead Beautiful Series , #1
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 174,202
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

YVONNE WOON grew up in Massachusetts, where she attended Worcester Academy. She is currently a graduate student at Columbia University, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction. Dead Beautiful is her first book.
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