I can’t believe I forgot that there WAS something else I could post up on here. Every month I write a book/author column for my school’s newspaper. VOILA! The first non poetry thing I can think of.
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
Looking for a supernatural read this October that doesn’t involve vampires? I might have a book for you!
Depends on if you like the Undead or not.
In the Yvonne Woon’s debut novel Dead Beautiful, that’s just what you get. The book starts out on the sixteenth birthday of Renee Winters, whose present is to find her parents dead in the redwood forest in what looks like a double murder.
Though Renee is convinced there is something stranger going on, no one listened to her. Instead, her new guardian—her wealthy estranged grandfather—sends her to Gottfried Academy, a boarding school in Maine with strange students with secrets to take classes like Latin, Philosophy and the “Crude Sciences.” As if just losing her parents weren’t bad enough.
But then she meets Dante Berlin, the handsomest—and most elusive—boy at school, to whom she can’t help but feel drawn. As she falls in love with Dante and makes friends around the school, she finally feels that maybe she can move on after all.
As she and Dante get closer, strange things start to happen, and Renee stumbles onto the dark tragedies of Gottfried’s past. All at once, the Academy no longer feels like it could be anything like a home, not with all the secrets hiding behind its walls.
Little does she know it is Dante who is hiding the deadliest secret.
Though Dead Beautiful is billed as a romance, it was to me first and foremost a mystery. It is the questions surrounding her parents’ death and then surrounding Gottfried Academy that give the story its drive from beginning to end. The feelings between Dante and Renee almost take a backseat to the chaos going on in Renee’s life. The romance is definitely there, but I’d read this one more if you were going after a skin-crawling mystery then a love story.
Another factor that made Dead Beautiful a good, new Young Adult book was the fact that it dealt with actual philosophy (as a class and in the book in general!). It raised questions about life after death, love and the nature of the soul. Now, before you go “Ughhh, not something I’d like,” understand that this was not a main force of the book, but they were the undercurrents.
At this point in time, it is not clear whether or not there will be a sequel, but Woon definitely leaves that open. I, for one, hope she does. I’m not ready to abandon the world of Dead Beautiful quite yet! In the mean time, I find it to be the perfect October read for any lover of the Young Adult genre. It’s a perfect mix of the supernatural elements permeating the market right now, the new twist everyone seems to be looking for, an entangled web of mystery and a dash of romance. I hope you’ll like it as much as I did!
…Or, maybe a little less. That’s all for me this time, since I’ve got to go return this overdue book to the library!