Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie McGuire

August 14, 2012 | Atria Books
Source: NetGalley
Recommended by: Escapism from Reality
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

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 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.

"It's dangerous to need someone that much. You're trying to save him, and he's hoping you can. You two are a disaster."

This story should come with some sort of safety warning because it is a health hazard! Readers have a right to know about the lack of sleep, anxiety, and obsessive thoughts that are likely to occur while reading Beautiful Disaster.

There is something oddly compelling about the main characters, Abby and Travis, and their constant emotional turmoil. As a couple, they truly are a disaster and are never quite able to make their relationship work. But the resulting tension and angst creates a highly addicting story.

Abby is a new college student at Eastern University, running from her past and trying to remake her image while building a new life. Travis is the bad boy with a shady reputation, sleeping with a different woman every night and participating in illegal underground fights for large amounts of cash.

When first introduced to these characters, they seem like complete opposites. But as the story develops, you begin to realize that they may be exactly what the other needs. And I was impatiently waiting for them to get past all of the confusion, doubts, and insecurities so that they could realize it too.

His hands touched each side of my face, his breathing quick as he scanned my face. "What are we doin', Pidge?" My eyes began at his belt and then rose over the muscles and tattoos of his stomach and chest, finally settling on the warm brown of his irises. "You tell me."

Travis initially is interested in Abby simply because she isn't immediately captivated by his charming ways or eager to impress him. And as much as Abby insists that she will never be involved with someone like Travis, she is unprepared for his determined persistence. The more familiar that he becomes with Abby, the more intrigued he is by her and eventually decides that if they're not going to sleep together, then he will settle for having her as a friend. Anything to ensure that she remains in his life. 

As they spend more time together, Abby finds herself warming up to him, although she's reluctant to admit it. He's an aggressive, arrogant, tattoo-covered Harley rider and Abby is surprised to discover that he's also a straight A student and able to tutor her in Biology. He has also kept his Travis Maddox ways in check and proves that he views her as more than just another woman to "bag" on his couch. He is genuinely interested in becoming her friend, which is another surprise not only to Abby, but to everyone else as well. It's something that's unheard of for the king of one-night-stands.

"I thought about throwing you over my couch fifty different ways, but I haven't because I don't see you that way anymore. It's not that I'm not attracted to you, I just think you're better than that."

Despite Travis' best efforts, Abby remains stubbornly in denial about her feelings for him and focuses more on how others may be viewing their friendship. To make matters worse, Travis' first defense when he's been hurt is to revert back to his drunken, slutty ways. Abby uses this to remind herself why she should avoid developing any feelings for him and 'round and 'round they go.

I know I get crazy when it comes to you, but God knows I'm tryin', Pidge. I don't wanna screw this up."  "Then don't."  "This is hard for me, ya know. I feel like any second you're going to figure out what a piece of shit I am and leave me."

Eventually, this did start to feel a bit repetitive, which is one reason why I didn't give this a full five star rating. And occasionally Abby's decision-making skills (or lack of) would rub me the wrong way. But overall, I thought this novel was fantastic and I see myself re-reading this several times in the near future. 

I recommend Beautiful Disaster to romance fans who enjoy reading about first love, imperfect characters, and can handle all of the angst and drama that this novel delivers. 

Walking Disaster, the story told from Travis' point-of-view, is scheduled to release April 2013. You can read a teaser from chapter two here.


Underworld Love Addiction said...

Okay, so I ahd every intention of cheating on my Netgalley Knockout plan to read Alice in Zombieland. However, I think your review just got my head back in the game ;) I think I'll be starting THIS tonight!

Braine TS said...

Everytime I see a review of this that Rihanna song that C associated with the book pops into mind... it's the way I'm feeling I just can't deny, but I gotta let it go. We found our love in a hopeless place...

Ning said...

so I'm reading this right now and I'm having anger issues regarding Abby!! that girl is just!! ahh!! I want to hit her or just shake some freaking sense into her! You're right about the obsessive part. I keep thinking about the book even when I'm doing other things. I can't wait till I finish!

Ning @ Reading by Kindle Fire

Addicted2Heroines said...

Becky - You have Alice in Zombieland? I'm jealous! But I'm glad you're going to read Beautiful Disaster. Hope you love it as much as I did.

Braine - How lame am I going to sound if I say that I don't know the song.. I'll have to go see if I can find it.

Ning - Right. Abby has those moments that make you want to pull her out of the book and smack her around a little.

Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy said...

Cat, I have Alice in Zombieland you should have told me, I'll read it next week and share if you want? Okay so I'm so mad, I responded to your comment last night, and it was long andi made reference to your ever changing men and then I hit a button I have no idea what happened because it happened so fast and bam my comment was gone, I was so frustrated I didn't even re-write it. Ughhhhh. Hey I got the Fourth Grave book too yesterday so look out you'll have competition with Reyes...LOL. Hey did you see her YA series on NG? You should get it.

I'm so happy you loved this one. I just can't get enough of Travis!!!! I love him. Walking Disaster cannot come fast enough!!! I agree with Braine, I always think of this book when I hear that Rhianna song too. XOXO

Anonymous said...

Glad you liked the book. I said this in my review and I will say it again this book is like the finest crack in the world. I should have hated so many things about this book but I loved every word of it. It brought back so many memories of when I was in college and honestly every little fight and argument Travis and Abby have is something most kids in college have these days. Ok, so now every one has a hot secret fight club boyfriend but the fighting in bars or frat parties is totally something everyone experiences at least once in their lives. :D

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Post a Comment

Due to an increase in spam, all comments are moderated. Even if you do not see an "awaiting approval" message, please only submit your comment once. Sorry for the inconvenience.