“Dead Beautiful” by Yvonne Woon is about Renee Winters who finds her parents’ dead bodies with gauze in their mouths in a forest. Her parents seem to have died of heart attacks.
After her parents’ deaths, Renee’s grandfather takes charge of her and sends her to Gottfried Academy, a mysterious boarding school in Maine. There she studies Latin, philosophy and crude sciences, courses different from those of a “normal” school.
At Gottfried, Renee meets Eleanor Bell who becomes her roommate and helps her acclimate to Gottfried. Renee also becomes friends with Nathaniel and Dante to whom Renee is attracted.
At Gottfried Renee finds out that she has a gift that allows her to find dead things even if she is far away, which is how she was able to find her parents in the forest.
During Christmas break, Renee goes home and finds a book about what happens to children when they die. If children are not buried, they remain soulless. These children cannot eat, sleep or age. They also know Latin and are tortured because they don’t have a soul. If they can’t find their soul by their 21st birthday, their bodies decompose. One way to survive is to take the souls of other people.
When Renee talks to her grandfather about what she has found, he tells her that the school is for the undead. At school people on the Board of Monitors are those who can identify the dead.
Renee now knows why Dante doesn’t eat, sleep or age. She decides that she will give up her soul for Dante.
If she gives up her soul, then she will become undead and Dante will have a soul.
Will Dante allow her to make such a sacrifice or will she be able to keep her soul?
“Dead Beautiful” will have readers wanting to know what will happen to Dante and Renee. Will they be able to have a relationship or will they have to break up? Will someone die?
This book is recommended for teens because of some mature scenes.