Release Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books; 418 pages
The new 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 needs—and wants—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.
You know how a book will be on your radar for a really long time, but then you wait forever to finally sit down and read it? This was my case with Beautiful Disaster. I kept hearing mixed reviews for it. So I kept pushing it further and further back. But then I had the opportunity to meet the author Jamie McGuire at BEA, and was able to pick up a copy of the companion book to Beautiful Disaster, Walking Disaster. So I finally picked up Beautiful Disaster, and I loved it.
This book is highly addictive. Just as everyone says. I was this close to calling out of work because I wanted to stay home and read it. And while I was at work all I could think about was when my shift would be over so I could get home and read. The story of Abby and Travis just captivated me. I was sucked into their relationship, both the good parts and the bad parts.
The main character is Abby Abernathy. She is in her first year of college, and she is attempting to escape her past by going to college out of state with her cousin and best friend America. America is dating a boy she met at Freshman orientation Sheply. Sheply shares an apartment with Travis Maddox. Travis is a bad boy. He pretty much uses women for sex, and he makes his living fighting in underground fights at school. Travis tries to charm Abby, and at first she doesn't fall for it. But after losing a bet with Travis, they begin to become a lot closer, and Abby is finding it difficult to resist Travis.
Abby and Travis are not role models. At times their relationship is just unhealthy. While I was reading Beautfiul Disaster I kept thinking, I hope young readers won't read this book because they'll get a bad example about what love is. Travis isn't just a bad boy. He has major psychiatric issues. His behavior towards Abby at times borders between love and obsession. But even with both Abby and Travis's issues, as a reader you can't help but want them to work out. Because not everything about their relationship is bad. And I think the author tries to show this. I mean just look at the title of the book. Abby and Travis are beautiful together, but at the same time they can be disastrous.
The negativity and backlash this book has gotten is really unnecessary. I get what the author is trying to convey. It's not written for pre and young teens hence the college setting. And it's realistic. People get involved in unhealthy relationships everyday. But it's how you deal with these relationships, and what you do to make them healthier.
The end of Beautiful Disaster was pretty much the end. I am glad that there isn't a sequel. I don't like when authors write unnecessary sequels. I feel that some authors do this to please their fans. And as nice as that is, it can drag out the story. When something is done, it is done. However, I am excited to read Walking Disaster. It is not a sequel. It is Beautiful Disaster from Travis's point of view. There were definitely quite a few scenes in which I was wondering what Travis was thinking, and why he did certain things. I can't wait to find out these answers.