Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

September 15, 2013 Book Reviews 27 ★★★½

Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuireBeautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Series: Beautiful #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on July 2012
Pages: 319
Source: Purchased

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.

So I’m still pretty new to New Adult fiction and my reactions to it have been varied to say the least (to be honest I think I need to take a break from it because I get the feeling I irritate people at times with my thoughts on the genre/category…)

Beautiful Disaster is out there on its own, it’s really the first book people think of when NA comes to mind and it comes with a whole trunk full of controversy. I’ve seen this book on so many “Will-Not-Read-Due-To <Insert reason here>” shelves on Goodreads and I’ve read the rants and raves and to be honest was pretty intimidated starting this book. It’s fiction but for some reason this book has become the poster child for dysfunction and liking it means liking dysfunction.

I enjoyed this book. I didn’t expect to, NO-ONE expected me to but I liked it.

If you don’t know the story…Abby Abbernathy (that name kinda irritates me) is a “good girl” (she wears pink cardigans and pearls so that means she’s a good girl apparently…wait I wear pink cardigans and pearls and I AM a good girl…okay McGuire well played with that one!) Anyway Abby is at an underground fight night (us good girls know how to party it on up!) and attracts the attention of *cue D-12 Fight Music* Travis “Mad-Dog” Maddox. Do you smell smoke? That’s your loins on fi-yah! <eye-roll>

So Abby and Travis become “friends” even though Abby has no clue why he likes her! Don’t you hate those pretty girls who are all “Gosh! You want to take lil ol’ me onto the porch for some lemonade?” Anyway it’s total scandal in…umm Western? Northern? whatever the university is called because Travis is a “fu*k and run” type of guy and no girl’s cooch is worth a second go round.

Except…yup you guessed it Abby Abbernathy and her magic lady-garden is enough to make Travis give up the meaningless sex and become a “good man” and they lived happily ever after and are hereby deemed TRABBY…apart from the drinking, the fights and the most ridiculous sub-plot involving card sharks (is it sharks or sharps??) and the mafia. That re-cap might contain scenes created for entertainment purposes.

So…you’re probably wondering about the part where I said I liked it. I’m trying to remember…right! Travis! No I don’t want to be “Mrs Maddox” and I’m going spoil something here but I really don’t care but Abby gets a tattoo saying just that and oh my god, ya wanna lose weight? Just think about that every day and your appetite will disappear faster than Travis’s lady-friends’ panties!

Anyway, Travis was the highlight for me. He was hilarious, I know he was supposed to be the hottest, most dangerous, bad boy on the planet but for me he cracked me up. There’s one exchange where Abby says he has no standards and he says very seriously “First of all…I have standards! I’ve never been with an ugly woman. Ever”

Be still my heart…I’m just going to take a minute and swoooooooon! Seriously though, Travis knows he’s a douche, he owns it and yes he treats women like disposable (can’t think of a word!) oh wait…condoms! But when you go home with a guy and he bends you over the couch rather than take you to the bedroom you have to know what you’re getting yourself into. I mean surely the fact that he says “I bag them on the couch” is transparent enough. He’s smart too (academically at least) which was a nice departure from the stereotype.

Abby’s relationship with Travis at times is the holy mother of dysfunction but overall there were a lot of sweet moments and Travis did treat her with respect and love.

His willingness to use his fists is another story and one that has been re-hashed by many so I’m just going to say I do not approve. The morning after TRABBY sleep together has been dissected at length, people have freaked out over the fact that he trashed his apartment when he realised Abby had left. Not the nicest behaviour but if you’re going to hit something I’d prefer a TV to be the victim than someone’s face.

Travis making Abby change clothes for a fight so he’s not distracted was another not so fun moment for me but Abby changed her clothes rather than nut punch him which irritates me more.

The thing that interested me most about this book is all the drama, all the incidents that have proved controversial happen BEFORE TRABBY become a couple. There’s this consensus that Travis’s behaviour is appalling because he shouldn’t do those things because it hurts Abby. Newsflash, if you’re not together, you have no loyalty to that person romantically. Friends yes but they aren’t a couple when any of the drama occurs so why the panty twisting? I also didn’t get how invested Shepley and America (oh yeah there are other characters in the book) were invested in their (non) relationship to the point where they split up over the TRABBY drama.

When they finally do get together, the sea calms and the boat stops rocking and their relationship is actually functional. Then comes the sub-plot in Vegas which was just ridiculous. It turns out Abby and me aren’t truly sisters in the Good Girl Sorority and she’s got this shady past and an idiot father and I skimmed a LOT.

The last third of the book was my favourite, McGuire really knows how to inject emotion and the scenes at the Maddox house at Thanksgiving were really touching and tugged at the heartstrings. I really felt it was here that I connected with Travis and Abby as a couple and truly rooted for them. From then on the emotion heightens until the climax that really made me smile and possibly experience some feels and honestly made me truly enjoy this book! Apart from that tattoo…


27 Responses to “Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire”

  1. Chelsea @ Starbucks & Books Obsession

    Awesome review! I was cracking up while reading it. I totally agree, while I think Travis threw a lot of temper tantrums and made some douche moves, I kind of liked him. He loved Abby and was willing to change for her. I was a little thrown by the good girl part since she wore a cardigan like once in the book and she could out drink half of the fraternity.

    • Danielle

      Haha thanks. It was defo enjoyable i have to admit! Yeah I think after all the NA dudes I met up to then he was like a breath of fresh air. And yeah I left out the drinking like 20 tequila shots because I would have started lecturing people on the dangers of binge drinking but seriously how was she still alive after that? Oh wait she’s fictional O_o

  2. Alise

    I am the same way, NA has yet to really impress me, I find that the plots usually follow the same formula. Travis seems like a tough character to pin down, he kind of sounds like a jerk. I’m still not sure if I want to try this one, I’m picky about NA. Thanks for sharing!

    • Danielle

      Yeah I have a couple more for review and then I think I’ll be moving on from NA. It’s getting too predictable and it disturbs me how more abuse/rape etc is being used as a plot device. *shudder*

  3. Wendy

    Hahaha, I just love your reviews! This cracked me up. I haven’t read this one but I don’t think I will because I mostly know everything that happens and I just feel like Travis would just piss me off. Haha. Maybe one day. maybe.

    • Danielle

      Yeah I got it out of the way because I have WD for review. It’s interesting but I don’t think you’ll miss much if you don’t read it! 🙂 Thanks hon!

  4. Trish @ Between the Lines

    LOL, that made me splutter my coffee again. Must remember not to drink/eat while reading your NA reviews! I haven’t read this one yet but I might someday 🙂 How can I resist this

    “Abby gets a tattoo saying just that and oh my god, ya wanna lose weight? Just think about that every day and your appetite will disappear faster than Travis’s lady-friends’ panties!”

    LOL, sounds easier than counting points!

  5. tonyalee

    HAHAHA Great review!

    I was one of the ones that thought you’d HATE this book. I was on the fence about it. In one hand, Travis is a tool and someone that needs years of freakin therapy. But then again, I feel like that adds to his.. charms? (for lack of a better word) I thought Abby was just as messed up as him hahaha

    Yeah, that tattoo….

  6. Oana

    I liked this book too. Before I started reading it, I knew that it was controversial, and I had read many reviews on Goodreads where people especially complained about the way Travis treated Abby. So, while reading, I continuously expected to see Travis hurting Abby in some way… hitting her, or… I don’t know. So, I was quite surprised to see that their relationship didn’t turn out to be THAT dysfunctional. But the reviews I had read were written in such an angry tone, and stressed so much that what Travis and Abby had was completely wrong and a relationship should never be like that, that I actually thought I was about to read the most controversial thing ever. Oh well… while I did think Travis was not a girl’s best choice, the novel turned out to be enjoyable. I honestly don’t understand why some people exaggerate things like that.

    • Danielle

      Agreed Oana! I didn’t get all the controversy, maybe when it first came out but now there are so many NA novels that are so much crazier, it was fun, I’d never re-read it but can’t deny it was enjoyable! Thanks for commenting!

  7. Giselle

    Lolz well I loved your review but I’m staying the hell away from the book. I’m not a big fan of the author anyways so I have no motivation to read it. It sounds like people either love or hate it too so it’s fun to read in-the-middle reviews.

    Bahahah @ magic lady-garden! Win!

  8. Karyn Jacob

    I love your reviews!! They’re so funny and really good!! Lol TARBBY… WTF?? Now you have to review walking disaster. Although its just really repetitive with a little more of Travis shooting his mouth off.

  9. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    Hmmmm I’ve read so many reviews of this book it feels like I’ve read the book myself! Although the whole Trabby drama thing and the Abby being a typical good girl has me rolling my eyes already. Maybe when I’m looking for a bit of drama I’ll pick this one up? lol great review hun!

    • Danielle

      Thanks Jeann! Yeah, it’s…grand. Nowhere near as bad as some of the NA I’ve read this year, like you said check it out if you want some draaaammmmaaaaa 😉

  10. Sam @ Realm of Fiction

    Danielllleee! This review is just brilliant. 😀 I didn’t really enjoy this book much at all – though it was less about the relationship for me, and more about the technical execution – but I’m glad to see that it caught you by surprise and that you ended up liking it in the end. There were parts that I thought were quite compulsively readable (and I DID laugh more than once), but I guess that this was just never going to be my type of story. I read it more out of curiosity than interest, it has to be said. Anyway, lovely review! Thanks for making me giggle. 😉

    • Danielle

      Lol thank you! 😉 Yeah I’m glad I read it simply so I could say I “got it out of the way”. I listened to it on audiobook which I think heightened my enjoyment, hearing Travis’s dumbass remarks come out of a girl deepening her voice made it funnier!

  11. Jennifer

    Great review! Loved the snark ha. The book just wasn’t for me at all unfortunately. I gave up around two thirds in and had to give what I’d already read on star. I just couldn’t stand to read it anymore. The only reason I got that far was because it was the only book left that I hadn’t read when I was on holiday. Really great review though!

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