Series: Beautiful #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on July 2012
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…