Title: Beautiful Disaster
Series: Beautiful, Book 1
Author: Jamie McGuire
First published: May 26th 2011, self-published
Edition: ebook, 276 pages
Age group: New Adult
Rating: ★ ★
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.
“This is wrong. This is wrong on so many levels,” says Abby at one point in this story, and these words pretty much summed up my whole impression of this book. There is so much going on in this book that just seems way off normal, but I kept reading till the end in hopes I would finally get something worth the time spent. Sadly, I didn’t.
The thing that bothers me most about the book are the characters. And not just the main ones, but all of them. Most of them are very distinctive personalities, but despite all of them being bad, Abby is just plain. There’s not much facts given about get personality, aside from her poker-obsessed father. That’s it, we just have Abby who went to Eastern University to escape her troubled family. And what about her family? Yes, we know about her father, and her mother is mentioned only being described by Abby as an alcoholic. And that’s it! Well, then how am I supposed to sympathize with her if I don’t know her story. Abby keeps saying she will mean only trouble for Travis and break up with him for that reason and I am supposedly expected to be heartbroken by it. Not gonna happen!
Than it’s Travis, of course, and just like in Abby’s case we are not given any worthwhile background story, though we do get to learn more of him, than Abby. We see his family, his fights and find out the reasons behind his intentions to be a fighter, we see him changing from being a womanizer to a committed boyfriend. But the main object is still his relationship with Abby.
The characters I found even more disturbing are America and Shepley, Abby’s and Travis’ best friends. They are even more inconsistent, strangest persons in this story. Their points of view change every second. Like on one page they don’t want Abby and Travis to be together because it will stain Travis and Shepley’s friendship, and on the other they are pushing Abby into Travis’ arms after he punched some guy for having a look at Abby, because he just loves her so much and Abby is stupid not to see it.
The relationship between Abby and Travis it the main plot of the story and I get it, that the author’s idea was to show an unhealthy bordering with obsession relationship. But to me, even Fifty Shades of Grey managed it better! Again we are just presented with the fact that Travis loves Abby unconditionally and he will quit his womanizing ways to be with her. And Abby is also in love with him but she is just afraid to show it, but she has a whole month living with him to get used to it. There is no feelings-growing story in here, when the characters get to know each other and find out that they really belong together.
And it’s probably the first romance story I read in my life where I didn’t want the characters to be together… Because there was nothing about them being together to make them even slightly interesting. It’s like when they got together they just lost all their character traits and merged into one creature with least attractive qualities. Travis is too possessive and in charge while Abby is a voiceless sidekick.
And it’s just a roller coaster ride with this story. It keeps turning from being a too sweet lovesick love song into a heartbreak hotel. The events would just happen so randomly in this story sometimes I was left feeling like the author didn’t have any idea how the story should end. Like she just put in any scenes that came to her mind in hopes something interesting would come up out of them. But in the end I was just tired of all this mess. The only exciting scenes that captured my interest were the fight scenes especially the last one, but that’s it.