Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful Series #1)

( 166 )

Overview

On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Ren?e 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 had ever known had died. . . .

But all of that changes when she finds her parents dead in the redwood forest, in what appears to be a strange murder.

After the funeral, Ren?e?s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a ...

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Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful Series #1)

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Overview

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 had ever known had died. . . .

But all of that changes when she finds her parents dead in the redwood forest, in what appears to be a strange murder.

After the funeral, Renée’s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote 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, strange 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 and its students are everything they seem. Little does she know that Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.

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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: 9781441888365
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 9/21/2010
  • Series: Dead Beautiful Series , #1
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 1 MP3-CD, 12 hrs. 34 min.
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 166 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(98)

4 Star

(31)

3 Star

(24)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 166 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    Deadbeautifulfreak

    I absloutly adore this book. Yvonne woon develops the characters so well i feel as if i am in the book with them. I love the suspense and how she makes every page a new surprise. I highly reccomend this book

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

    To die for!

    I walked into the library one day and this was the first book i saw. I thought it looked interesting and desided i would give it a try... then i read it in about two days and couldnt put it down! It was so descriptive and well written that itwas hard to believe that everything in this novel wasnt real. I have no idea how yvonne woon came up with this! It was a verry creative book unlike anything i haveread before (nothing like twilight at all. Dont listen to the other reviews) that left me wanting more. I really hope that there is a second book coming out soon.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    WOW!!!

    The joys of working in a bookstore mean that I get to read some books before others!!! A co-worker suggested I read this and it only took me 3 days!
    If you liked Twilight (even just a little bit) you'll really enjoy this! It seems like it was what the Twilight series was meant to be and was written by someone with talent! An excellent start for this new writer. Though the ending does stop A LOT sooner than you would ever want it to, it is definitely worth the read. Once you start, you will be completely enthralled in the story and the characters and when you are finished you will be aching for more!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    What i dont get?

    I love this book and ive even reread it. Why do ppl always say it's a repeat of twilight if there isnt anything from twilight to relate it to?
    It doesnt have vampires
    No werewolves
    No love triangles
    No emo people
    ECT

    It has no real connection in anyway to twilight.
    I really hate it when ppl say "It's like reading twiliht again!"
    Some ohe books have comments like that then i see that they were made BEFORE twilight was even made! Its craazzzyy. Sorry for ranting and rambling like a hater. Cuz im not. Im just trying to make people stop saying that.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    The beautiful dead reveiw.

    I loved this book! I just finished it yesterday. It took me only two days to read it was so good! It was super fantastically amazingly great! I really suggest that you buy it right now! C:

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    OMG!!!!!!!!!

    I recommend this to everyone.
    It was so much more different then those sappy teen paranormal romance novels.
    It went into dark gothic literature, Latin and whole bunch more.
    Awesome. Just AWESOME!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

    Omg!

    This is the best book i have read other than the hunger games!!! It is awesome! I luv the romance and just the whole story! If you dont like this book you better go to a docter and get your brain checked and make sure you did not hit it hard onsomething recently! Read it!!! Amazing! :) ************************************ i would give it that many stars if i could!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    :)

    I love this book!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Dead Beautiful

    The author kept repeating "beginnings of a smile" so much, that I thought that should've been the title of the book! I was a little disappointed at the fact that it seemed like I was reading Twilight all over again... I expected something a little different. I give it a 3.5. : (

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Awesome

    I read this book a long time ago maybe about a year ago but its amazing i wish i could read it again but my cousin is borrowing it*

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2012

    Amazing.period.!!!!

    I love this book there is no more to it. I stayed up past midnught reading it and it it nothing luke twilight so dont listen to the other reviews. This book made me cry the whole last two chapters and even though the ending left me begging for more this is a MUST READ boij so buy this book people!!!!!!!i hope they one day make a movie out if it and i cant wait to read the next book(life eternal)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    Amazing

    Dante is absolutly beautiful!!!! Dont i totally wish my boyfriend wuz like him. But this isnt just abitut Dante, its about this amazing book. Wood has done an amazing job on fusing Harry Potter & Twilight together. Its the best teen paranormal romance I have read so far!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    Awesome

    I got this at the bookfair and at first when i picked it up i thought it was boring. But then i opened the book! IT IS NOT LIKE TWILIGHT! SCREW THE DUDES WHO SAY SO! great book!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Nice

    Like the book. It really is morbid, but it just like any other parnormal romance book. Kind of sick of it.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2011

    DEAD Amazing!!!!

    This book is really good. I love Dante and Renee as a couple and nearly cried at the end. It kept bme at the edge of my seat and wanting to read more. Overall it was amazing!! <33

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    Ummmm....good book, but twilight anyone?

    While I completely enjoyed this book, it really just reminded me of Twilight. Granted, the two books both have remarkable differences from each other, but they also have some pretty similar ideas as well. I think Vivian and Gideon kind of remind me of Victoria and James. Especially the way Gideon kind of plots and schemes while Vivian is more of a background character. I think what really goot me was when Renee asked Dante how old he was and when he responded that he was seventeen, she then asked him how long he had been seventeen. For some strange reason, I didnt think this ruined the book in the slightest. If anything, it made me like the book even more. It was like a good paranormal romance with a dash of Twilight and a whole lot of twists and turns. Overall, this book was very enjoyable and is perfect for teens looking for something new to read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2011

    Dead awesome!

    I absolutley loved this book, i finished it in 3 days! I love Dante he is soo cute

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A must read if you're a fan of mysteries, supernatural creatures and romance.

    So, I'm a sucker when it comes to Romance books and stuff like that. I hate stories that discuss romance between teenagers. I was so close to decide to give it 4 stars (if not less) when I was reading it, mostly because it was boring at the beginning that it looked like it was one of those "gossip girls" and "romance" stories. But it really isn't!!
    I was so shocked at the path the story-line took at the middle of the book. I was completely socked in the story and I couldn't wait to finish the book!
    It ended sadly, yet it has this mystery which leaves you with theories for the next book.
    I'll definitely be reading the second one.
    I recommend it if you like mystery books, with hidden clues and you're a fan of supernatural creatures such as vampires and zombies, this one will definitely get your attention :). Also if you're a romance fan, although I didn't like that a lot :s.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Twilight meets Zombies

    Dead Beautiful centers around Renee and her life after she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest. Throughout the story Renee tries to solve the mystery of their "death by heart attack" which seems to be a reoccurring theme/death of students who have died while at Gottfried Academy. Of course, everyone tells her she is looking too much into their deaths and that it is perfectly possible for two people to die of heart attacks at the same time in the woods.
    Besides her investigation into the mysterious deaths, her growing attraction to Dante, a student who causes her to literally go weak in the knees, has left her with more questions than answers. I liked Dante's character and how unselfish he was but he just didn't give me that I-want-him-gotta-have-him feeling. Honestly, I really really really wanted to love this book. I really did! But sadly, the idea of the Undead creeped me out. Even though they specifically stated in the book that the Undead are not the same thing as zombies, to me, they basically were; and I'm not a huge fan of zombie anything. But I tried. Also, I did not like Renee. I thought she was rude and was selfish most of the time.
    This book wasn't my type of book. However I think it was well written. The world Woon created was detailed. The mythology surrounding the Undead was original and put together nicely. The mystery was good. In fact, it was what kept me reading even though I wanted to stop because of the whole Undead thing. I wanted to find out who was behind all the murders. The end was not what I expected and I was a bit disappointed.
    Overall, it was a good book, just not for me. Although I can understand why so many people really liked it. It was kind of like Twilight but with Zombie-like people instead of vampires.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2014

    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an h

    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

    Renée Winters is a fantastic character. She is a normal teenager, full of angst and insecurity. I liked this character a lot; she deals with a terrible tragedy that has her moving from her friends and everything she knows, to a private school full of secrets and mystery. There she meets Dante, who has his own secrets. Will she be able to discover the mystery surrounding the school, or will fate clash with her destiny?

    I started to read this book and was quickly drawn into it. However, the further I got into the story, the more I was reminded of another YA book I had read previously. The story was somewhat similar, although there were differences too. I will not name the book, because it wouldn't be fair to both these authors. I am not suggesting there was any impropriety by either of these authors. It was just that the story arcs were very similar and, although the characters and plot were slightly different, reading this story gave me a sense of déjà vu.
    This story may seem morbid to a few readers, as it deals with death, but I was intrigued with the use of the dead language Latin (the language of the dead, as the author describes it in her book) and the concept of being undead (a type of sentient zombie). However, this book is also about life. The author has taken the concept of soul mates and given it a tweak with a huge twist! 
    The story is told from Renée's point of view, but there is a chapter at the end with a switch to Dante's point of view, which actually had me in tears. There are several characters in this book, and they are all very lifelike. Renée's grandfather is quite a daunting character, and seems to be a strict disciplinarian (thankfully, not physically). He actually scared me! Dante is mysterious and secretive, but when I found out his secret and how he is tied to Renée, I was very surprised and slightly shocked.
    The suspense and mystery surrounding the school, and Renée's ability of being drawn to dead things (people and animals) kept me hooked and, although this book is 512 pages long, it still felt too short! There are several twists and turns that kept me guessing! The ending made me feel happy and sad at the same time; I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series as soon as I can.

    Yvonne Woon has written a dark, mysterious and suspenseful young adult novel that is compelling and thought provoking. I loved her writing style, which although not as fast paced as some of the other authors I have read, is very descriptive and flowed wonderfully. 

    Due to the dark subject of death, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. However, I recommend this book to teenagers aged 15+ or to those adults who love to read the YA genre. - Lynn Worton

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