Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
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.
A big thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending a review copy of this book!
I didn't know what to expect from this book, other than practically everyone in the book reviewer blogger world was raving about it and saying it's the next big thing after the highly successful and bestseller adult series, Fifty Shades of Grey. Having not read Fifty Shades of Grey and then finding out - for this series - there might be a possible film in the works, I was still willing to go into this story without too many expectations and just see how everything played out. In the end though, after finally finishing the book in a couple of days, it was actually not too bad and it was definitely better than what I've read in the past of the 'edgy' book genre.
Pretty much what you've read from the storyline's blurb is pretty much all you will get from BEAUTIFUL DISASTER - fun, interesting and really . . . well, interesting. With the center story revolving around a very, very new and complicated relationship between two very, very complicated main characters, it's easy to say there's a cliche storyline that's written. After all, you have your good girl and then you have your bad boy, and basically this whole storyline is about these two older teens trying to make it through college life the best way they can as well as leaving behind some bad pasts and avoiding all sorts of complications in their wake. But while that's all well and good, the relationship shared between Abby and Travis is much more than it appears to be - for better and for worse.
Our main heroine, Abby, was someone I constantly felt conflicted with. The love and hate relationship is what I had, you know? At certain times, particularly around the first half of the book, she resembled your typical college student I could easily identify with, someone beginning her new life with her new friends with a great attitude towards life of the unknown as well, but then there were those other times too, where her character failed to impress me with her out-of-the-blue decisions and giving into temptation during her weakest moments which made me a bit saddened. Though, when it came down to it, I guess that's why I couldn't stop reading this book because there was something about Abby that I really liked as much as I hated myself for liking it about her. Argh. She's a really, really complicated one to describe to other readers. Really complicated in fact. I may not have understood her actions but overall I thought she was someone who made you keep reading the book and that's the whole point of a main character, right?
The next character . . . well boy oh boy, oh boy there's the love interest Travis! For someone so bad and so troubled as Travis, I have to say he was the main character I was most intrigued with and was dying to meet when I started this book. With many reviews talking about his character and how phenomenal he was in depth, I was pretty excited to meet him and when I did meet this boy . . . he's pretty much my worst nightmare off all fictional boys truth be told. Nope I'm not kidding here. He totally was! Both a motorbike-riding and a tattoo-wearing boy, someone who is always having sex with countless of women (way a go Travis for being disgraceful), fighting in bloody fight rings (again way a go for a good life) and being the dirty little secret girls want to keep hidden to themselves (again another way a go Trav), Travis was definitely someone you loved but mostly hated for being so . . . well . . . um . . . him. Though on another side of things, I can totally understand Travis's appeal to younger women such as myself and even older ones at that. I guess we liked how protective he was of Abby, even in some very awkward situations (he was fine in that aspect by the way) but for me personally . . . there was just one problem for his character. The overall relationship issue between him and Abby.
I mean c'mon you guys let's face it . . . the relationship shared between him and Abby is not healthy at all - I repeat not at all - and as much as I enjoyed this book in its entertaining book form, but the main reason why I didn't give this book an extra star was because of how the Travis and Abby relationship was presented. I know in experience how relationships can never be perfect and be all sunshine and rainbows, and I also know there are always going to be some complications involved in every relationship a person has with someone, but the thing is . . . I don't like promoting unhealthy relationships in books let alone a girl being in an actual relationship with a possessive, jealous, fist-beater boyfriend . . . I just don't like it. It doesn't matter whether he's a hottie rebel, a good-looking guy, a real charmer or even a boy who seems to watch over your every step and trying to do what's 'best for you' . . . it's just not what girls should aspire to have . . . it's wrong. Travis, as a character, has a big heart for a rough-around-the-edges guy and I get that, but with him acting with his fist rather than his head just because someone looks at his girlfriend in the 'wrong way', it doesn't excuse the fact on how violent and possessive and controlling he is . . . I couldn't stand being in a relationship with someone like Travis.
In saying that, I had no real problems with the storyline, especially in the first half of the book. It was rough in some places (I admit that) but it was still an addictive read. Only . . . once I hit the middle mark of the book and I continued reading it until the very end, unfortunately that's when things began to fall apart. Some points fell out of place for me and some things happened for no reason. But despite all of the crazy things that happened in relationships and other book events, this book was something I just wanted to keep on reading and that's the point of a book. The real point. Abby and Travis may not have been awesome characters but the supporting cast alongside them will definitely get you through til the end!
Overall, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER was in fact a beautiful disaster. Messy, edgy, dysfunctional and hella complicated in all the right places, but I know this book will definitely be a hit for readers looking for something completely different in the much older YA market and I'm looking forward to seeing Jamie McGuire's next book which is a version of this book, only it's going to be written in Travis's point-of-view, which should be interesting to say the least!