Title: Beautiful Dead Book 1: Jonas
Author: Eden Maguire
Release Date: March 1, 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Teen/YA, Fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5
The small town of Ellerton has seen a lot of deaths in the past year. Four different teens have been killed in unrelated circumstances, and Darina’s boyfriend is the latest victim. Darina loved Phoenix and is devastated by his death. But strangely, she keeps seeing him everywhere. Is she starting to go crazy or is there more to this situation than meets the eye?
Beautiful Dead is another installment in the recent craze of YA paranormal novels, and it’s very well done. Maguire does an excellent job crafting each part of this novel and making sure the story stays exciting.
One thing I really appreciated about Beautiful Dead was that there is no long, drawn-out beginning where the characters/plots are introduced and established. Instead, the reader is plunged straight into the story with Darina. This makes the novel very exciting and as a result, the reader is hooked from beginning to end. It’s such a short bookthat there are no dry points or drawn out scenes. Maguire did a wonderful job resisting the trend of padding paranormal YA novels in order to make them very long.
I like the setup of these books as well. Presumably, each will focus on a different dead character in order to solve the mystery of why they died. Though it is a big coincidence that four teenagers died in a small town within a year without any connection between their deaths, if you can manage that leap of faith, the structure of these novels is very exciting.
Darina was an intriguing character that I enjoyed getting to know in Beautiful Dead. She is strong and resilient, yet is devastated by the loss of her boyfriend. I liked how she forged ahead even though she was hurting. Doing something really helped her come to terms with her grief. She’s an independent character that will really appeal to teenage girls.
I enjoyed Beautiful Dead and will definitely reading the second one when it comes out. It’s a quick read, but worth savoring as you journey with Darina in order to solve the murder of Jonas.