Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire – New Adult Monday

Posted 15 October, 2012 by Heather in Blog, Heather, Heather Book Review / 21 Comments

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…

Beautiful Disaster

(Goodreads, Amazon)

by Jamie McGuire

(Goodreads, Amazon, Website)

Published on July 2012 by Simon & Schuster

Kindle copy received via NetGalley in exchange for honest review

New Adult


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.


My Thoughts:

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

Hardcover of Dark Shadows 1 and 2 from Lara Parker

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I'm a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days--whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son's Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun. Goodreads

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21 Responses to “Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire – New Adult Monday”

  1. Erin D.

    There are so many mixed reviews out there for this book. I own a nook copy and have just put it off for a while because of that, but I really liked your review Heather. I think I’ll enjoy this one. Thanks for sharing.

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    Heather 10/15/2012

    This book is pretty angsty and entertaining, and I was drawn in right away. I’m glad you liked my review, and I hope you like this once you read it 🙂
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  2. Hi Heather! Awesome review 🙂 First of all, I am new to ‘New Adult’ books. I actually haven’t had the time to check this kind of book yet but I am sure, I’ll love it.

    I have seen this book on Amazon but never really checked it out. Thanks for sharing your review; I would definitely want to read it now 😀 Actually, to be exact, I’ll be adding it to my already crazy TBR pile. Oh well, I love adding books to my pile – paperback, hardcover or Kindle books. 😀
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    Heather 10/15/2012

    New Adult books have been great for me so far. I’m really enjoying them. And I hear you about the crazy TBR pile. Mine is out of control!
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  3. I’ve heard that this was controversial. But why? Is it because – as you said – you have to read it knowing that it’s not totally realistic?
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    Heather 10/15/2012

    Part of the controversy with this book is the violence that Travis displays in his fighting and his possessiveness towards Abby. But he’s never violent towards Abby at all. If anything, it’s Abby who behaves badly in that department in my opinion. Travis’ fighting for money actually takes a back seat to their angsty love story as the book goes on, and it focuses more on their dysfunctional relationship and how they can’t seem to have a normal adult relationship without messing everything up. I personally didn’t find anything to take offense to in this book, other than Abby annoyed the crap out of me with her inability to make an actual decision for a good chunk of this book.
    Heather recently posted..Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire – New Adult MondayMy Profile

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  4. I’m a bit concerned about the lack of communication or miscommunication stuff. That’s my biggest pet peeve EVER and I’m not sure if it’s one I could overlook. I’ve been a bit back and forth with this one. One person convinces me and then I see another review reminding me that they have lack of communication and I have to admit that I’m hesitant. I do keep seeing it at the store and consider picking it up. I think I’m going to wait though because there are too many books in the world to take a chance on one I might not like. I might read it if I see it at the library though…
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    Heather 10/15/2012

    The miscommunication wasn’t as huge as it’s been in other books that I’ve read, but it is somewhat predominant. Both of the main characters are very stubborn. Maybe you should wait until Walking Disaster comes out next year. This is the same book with more material, but all told from Travis’ point of view. Beautiful Disaster was told from Abby’s point of view. I think that I would have enjoyed BD more from Travis’ point of view since Abby annoyed me a little bit, so I am looking forward to reading Walking Disaster when it comes out.
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    Candace 10/15/2012

    Oh yeah, I didn’t know that! I think I’ll do that then! Thank you!
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