New Adult Monday
.. a bi-weekly Feature where we will review and talk about New Adult books! If you are not familiar with this term, you can read Danny’s New Adult Discussion post!
It’s Heather here this time, and I’m reviewing a book that Danny has already tackled and reviewed, but she said that it was so good that I just had to read it…
by Jamie McGuire
Published on July 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Kindle copy received via NetGalley in exchange for honest review
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.
This book has been pretty controversial from its humble beginnings as a self published book, and even after it was published by Atria and has reached a much wider audience since it’s now available in paperback. When Danny said that this was available on Netgalley and that I needed to read it, I swooped on over to see what all the fuss was about. And I’m glad that I did.
Beautiful Disaster tells the usual story of boy meets girl, loses girl, and then they somehow have to find their way back together again. But where this book is unusual is that the main characters, Abby and Travis, have pretty tragic pasts that they don’t like to speak about. While Abby has gone so far as moving to another state to attend college where no one will no who she is, Travis hides behind his bad-boy womanizer/bad ass-fighter persona so no one can get close enough to see just how vulnerable he really is.
Abby tries hard to be the virginal good girl, but bits of her old self leak through when she parties with her best friend–who just happens to be dating the roommate of Travis. When Abby goes to one of Travis’ underground fights, she’s intrigued by the brutality and drawn to Travis. But she knows to stay away, and they begin a friendship that spells the beginning of their relationship that forms over time.
Travis is charming, smart, handsome, and certainly he’s used to getting his way. Abby gets under his skin and breaks down his walls, and that’s when both of them take a turn for the worse in the behavior department. Travis is jealous to the point of attacking other men who dare approach Abby. But the longer they are together, the more violent and aggressive Abby becomes too.
I liked Travis as a character. Sure he was a fighter to earn cash, and he was damn good at it too. Once you learn his upbringing and background, you definitely sympathize and see how he came to be that way. Is that an excuse for his short temper and his extreme jealousy? No, but I’m sure there will be much more light shed on that in Jamie McGuire’s next book, Walking Disaster.
Abby, however, irritated me for a good portion of this book. She seriously jerked Travis around way more than he deserved with her wishy-washy “Do I want Travis or the frat guy?” back and forth. Like in a lot of books, miscommunication was a big issue between the two of them, and there were a lot of times where Abby simply ran away instead of facing things head on with Travis. I could see how she wanted to hide from her past and be a different person, but a lot of the time she seemed almost worse than Travis acted.
I give this a four out of five. You definitely have to read this with a firm “This is fiction, because if it was the real world, everyone would be in jail.” reminder in the back of your head. But the story is engaging, extremely angsty, and hard to put down. I’m definitely going to pick up Walking Disaster, the book written in Travis’ point of view, when it comes out next year.
And now : Enter The Fall Clearing