Around the middle of the novel, Renee and her friend are in a bookstore, and she describes him flipping through a teen vampire romance - a bit of a nod to Dead Beautiful's paranormal predecessor. Like Bella, Renee comes to a new school and instantly falls for the most dreamy and mysterious guy on campus: his only friends are (were) a small, cultish group, he's beautiful, his hands are cold, he never eats, he never sleeps, he seems older than he is, he's her lab partner, and he warns his new girl OVER and OVER that he's dangerous, he's a monster, is she sure she wants to get involved? But I guess Renee never read Twilight (fyi, Renee's Edward, Dante, is NOT a vampire, tg), because she takes forever to figure him out. MUCH longer than Bella, and, I hope, the readers. Yes, Renee is a bit slow, and the big reveal at the end comes a bit late.
But I like this book. I like the cool, creepy campus of Renee's boarding school, Gottfried Academy, her friends, the romantic element, and the mysteries of her parents' deaths and the Gottfried curse. I thought I would give the book four stars for sure, it was so engrossing, until I got to the end. The ending was so rushed, many things over explained (things I'd figured out way earlier in the novel) and other things just glossed over (the things I hadn't quite got yet). The setting, characters, mystery, and mythology for most of the book was layered, interesting, intelligent, and MORE than the love story. But the ending came and knocked everything down. I would have liked to know what happened with Gideon, the headmistress, Eleanor, Nathanial, and the rest of the school that played such a big part in the novel, but at the end it's like that was only a set up for undying, self-sacrificing teenage love. Dang it.