An electronic copy of the book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
The Dead Beautiful series is getting ready to release its third book on 1/7/2104. To get interest up, the publisher released copies of the first book onto NetGalley and I have to say…the ploy worked.
I’ve quickly grown to love the supernatural-meets-boarding school subgenre of YA and this is no different. The author here does a lovely job of setting up the school and the world and the mystery enticing you to go further and further in. So much so, that I pretty much read this in a day.
Renee is a 16 year old girl whose parents die under mysterious circumstances. She’s taken in by her cold and distant grandfather who sends her to a boarding school that has a million antiquated rules (no electric light after 9 pm!) and a unique curriculum (Latin for all!). Once there she meets a mysterious guy named Dante that she feels drawn to, and strange things begin to happen.
First off, I want to give the author kudos for not falling victim to the normal tropes of these kind of novels. The protagonist isn’t an immediate outcast, nor is she bullied. There’s the adjustment period you’d expect of a girl transferring into a boarding school in the second year, but she’s otherwise accepted by her classmates.
Second, I’m not normally a fan of this part of the paranormal genre, but I like what she does with it here. I don’t want to give it away, but it feels fresh and I like the use of Descartes here.
This isn’t a deep read, or one that shatters genre conventions, but not all books need to be. For what it was, it was an easy and engaging read. The ending is a bit sappy, but I’ll attribute that to the nature of the genre and the desire to turn this into a mutliple-book series. I won’t be running out to read the next to in immediate succession, but one day I will get around to the follow-up titles. I enjoyed my time with this book and fans of YA paranormal romance should too.
Verdict: A very strong Borrow It.