Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (2012, Atria Books)
INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE.
Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.
Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
I wasn’t sure which blurb to pick! Heh. This one’ll do.
Now, I dug my heels in when it came to reading this one. I’ve been told that it’s THE book for the New Adult category (and I think I’m leaning more and more towards writing for that age group) so I guess I’d be doing myself a disservice by not checking it out.
I did do a little review surfing beforehand, and I was shocked by the extremes of opinion.
My first thought after finishing this book?
What is all the fuss about?
Maybe I travel in the wrong circles, but there was nothing overly dark or disturbing about this story, nor did I see anything particularly ‘abusive’ about the relationship between Travis and Abby. I think they’re both idiots. But aren’t all fools stupid when in ‘love’?
I really liked where this book started. It was exciting, and I was looking forward to seeing where Travis’ fighting career went. Well, that was a bust, wasn’t it? He literally drops everything in his world, for Abby. And she’s playing dumb for more than half of this book to realise it.
Abby Abernathy. Lucky 13. Ridiculous. ‘Nuff said.
What I really liked about this book (stupid main characters aside) was how the author captured the emotional content perfectly. Even when I was hating on one or the other, I still FELT the emotional knocks and punches being thrown between these two.
There’s also a great supporting cast- I really loved America and Shep.
I thought this book ended in a surprising place and I was instantly glad I’d picked up the second book from the library. This is a lesson in reading blurbs because Walking Disaster undid all the good work Beautiful Disaster did (see review).
The sex scenes confused me. Big time. I wasn’t ever really sure if he was in or out or shaking it all about (heh heh) and I think after all the tension and (im)patient waiting, I was so ready for it to finally be happening. But when it did it fell so flat- either write it or don’t write it, don’t leave me somewhere in the middle trying to double-scan each sentence for where the money shot was!
There was nothing particularly ‘dark’ about this book but it was compelling. I enjoyed it enough to keep on reading through the day/night without wanting much of a break. Because McGuire can write, really well! I just wish that talent was better aimed, because sometimes I wanted to slap the characters silly, and not in a good way.
I’m giving it a 4 out of 5. I was leaning more towards 3, but I did enjoy following these characters and I was really intrigued by the ending (in hindsight, I feel silly..) because it finishes in a place that would make a sequel difficult.. but refreshing! A good read. I can see why people love it. I can see why people don’t. I think you’ll either get on with this book, or you’ll be left shrugging.