Author: Jamie McGuire
Title: Beautiful Disaster
Series: Beautiful #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (August 14th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and 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.” GoodReads’ blurb
I picked this one up right after starting my contemporary is actually cool phase. And... well... It’s not for me.
Emotionally, there were two parts in the book for me: the first, where I was really invested and waiting to see where everything went and how the character evolved, and a second part where I detached myself from the story. Roughly, I guess it’s almost a fifty-fifty, so you could say it’s not bad.
Except that the things that made me loose proximity with the story are the kind of things that really make me cringe, I guess.
Travis Maddox is a really messed up character. I like shadowy, dark characters, but redemption stories, in most novels, happen too fast and too easily. In Beautiful Disaster, however, it didn’t: redemption, if at all, happened in the very last pages and even then it’s something we hope the future holds, not something we see.
Of course, Travis is no longer a womanizing bastard, but he’s got exactly the same amount of jealousy and anger management issues he had at first. When he’s having a good moment he’s cute, and like most girls, I like to fantasize about my very own badass boy to keep bullies at bay with nothing but a look, but... Taking a swing at a guy because he talks to you is a bit much.
Travis’s character has a lot of pent-up violence and anger, and he needs help to deal with that. Falling in love might make him want to change, but it’s not enough and I felt like Abby wasn’t up to the task. Much as she complained about him, she kept sending him mixed signals, going cold and then hot at times... There was this scene, when they’ve broken up and several weeks have passed, when she sees him with another girl and goes ballistic.
Bad, but it’s even worse that her best friend went double ballistic on her behalf. I just couldn’t empathize with that behavior, so eventually I began to care less about the outcome.
Abby’s secret was cool, though. I would have liked it if the story had focused more on that part, and how it affects her —them— than in the constant highs and downs of a relationship that is aptly named as a disaster in the makings. But the novel was as it was, and although I can see hundreds of people going crazy over Travis and his possessiveness, this book centers around a kind of relationship I don’t feel comfortable with and adds very little else to the mix, so... not my cup of tea.
Might be yours, though. Look how many other readers are raving about wanting their own Travis, after all! And I do realize that this novel portrays a kind of romance a lot of readers seem to enjoy: the hot, popular lead falls for plain old Jane and can’t have anyone else, no matter what.
Most significant quote:  “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." I smiled at the ceiling. "It doesn't matter what or why it is. When it's good, Kara... it's beautiful.”