August 14, 2012 | Atria Books
Recommended by: Escapism from Reality
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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.