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Review: Dead Beautiful

Dead Beautiful  - Yvonne Woon

I've had this book on my shelf for a few years now, and never quite got around to reading it. Picked up cause it probably sounded good. I needed something with a green cover for a reading challenge so this one came to mind when browsing my shelves. 


After rereading the info on the bank, my expectations were pretty low. Turned out to be a hell of a lot better than I thought. Set in a mysterious New England boarding school with something obviously wrong going on in the background it was quite an intriguing mystery.


California girl Renee is shipped off to the boarding school after the death of her parents when a grandfather resurfaces. A very very rich and well connected grandfather giving her rules and structure for the first time in her life. Initially Renee is not pleased with this but grudgingly accepts things (she has no choice really). She's introduced to the new school and her roommate, a pretty popular girl named Eleanor (who was actually really nice). Almost immediately we learn something bad happened the previous year - one student died and one is missing. The mystery progresses from there.


And then there's the love interest, mysterious, ever so handsome Dante. Who never really talks to anyone. Until Renee comes along and captures his attention instantly. 


The story is actually a really good one. The mystery is exceptionally well done as its not obvious what's going on. There's a clear paranormal element following through the narrative more evident in Renee's relationship with Dante. This book is also a brilliant example of how to add lots of information into the story disguised as newspaper articles and textbooks - without info dumping. The way the info was filtered in was interesting and extremely well done. 


The paranormal element was unusual (not saying what it is because big spoilers) and an original spin on an old concept. Really really good. Very well plotted with lots of subtle hints which all pay off throughout. 


Renee was a great strong lead character, she had a clear smart mind. When faced with weird things she didn't just accept them at face value. She was full of questions and did her research. She did loose her head a bit where Dante was concerned, falling madly in love and falling in love fast.


My only real issue with the book was the romance story with Renee and Dante was fairly obvious right from the get go with where it was going. To be fair, it wasn't insta love. They develop a bond and friendship before getting anywhere else. But then when you think you know where its going there was a huge ass plot twist right at the end.


Its a type of plot twist that made me think I should have seen it coming from a mile away, but I never actually did. 


So all in all this was a pretty fantastic read. And crosses off a square for Holiday Bingo - A Green Cover