Title: Dead Beautiful
Author: Yvonne Woon
Genre: YA Supernatural
Read: Nov 5, 2010
Summary: Great YA, gripping voice pulls you right through.
I found this via one of my writer blogs. A lot of recent YA is frankly, trash, but this was a very well written book. Superficially it might seem very Hogwarts, a young girl’s parents die suddenly, and then she is bundled by her mysterious grandfather off to a creepy gothic prep school in Maine. But it’s anything but derivative. First of all the first person voice is great. Smart, but not forced or full of attitude it pulls you seamlessly through the entire novel — and it’s 500+ pages. I literally read it in one sitting.
I’m not going to give away the major premise, but the school setting is often an enjoyable one when done right, and this one certainly is. The characters seem real enough, particularly the protagonist, and there is a unique creepy feel to the whole world. Intellectual, but not heavy. The supernatural is fairly subtle, and about 75% of the way through there is the “big reveal” as to what the deal is with certain things. As is usual with this sort of thing the book was better before the reveal, but it still held up afterwards, even coming to an emotional finish.
Fantastic debut novel, and I eagerly await the author’s next book.