On the morning of her sixteenth birthday Rene Winters was still an ordinary teenage girl, but that all changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest in bizarre circumstances that surely mean a strange double murder.
After the funeral Rene’s wealthy grandfather sends her to a remote and mysterious boarding school, Gottfried Academy where she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome, elusive boy that she feels inexplicably drawn to. When unexplainable things start happening and she discovers a dark secret in Gottfried’s past, Rene begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems. Little does she know that Dante is the one holding a dangerous secret. One that puts her life in danger.
Reading the synopsis of Dead Beautiful: 1 (A Dead Beautiful Novel) had me very excited about this novel as it had so much promise. Unfortunately it didn’t start out too well. The first few chapters were not particularly well written, with the action seeming very spasmodic and jerky. The discovery of Rene’s parents is very rushed and somewhat contrived, and suddenly the next sentence jumps to after the funeral over a week later. Thankfully this improves dramatically once Rene is sent to Gottfried Academy, and the novel became far more engrossing. The plot is quite predictable at times, but interesting enough both to keep me reading and have me wondering what happens in the next book in the series.
Some characters are well written, and some less so. The grandfather didn’t seem at all credible and was very inconsistent. Rene herself is quite selfish and rarely displays any interest or care towards her friends and I did wish she was a more likeable heroine. Dante is both adorable and intriguing, and I found myself wishing at times that the novel were written from his point of view. The romance however, is very sweet and tender, whilst the underlying mystery adds intrigue.
I think for the target audience of age 12 and up this is most likely a highly enjoyable novel. For me it was more ‘badly written Twilight’.Disclaimer: I was sent an ecopy of Dead Beautiful via NetGalley however the opinions given are, as always, entirely my own