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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Review: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie McGuire

Publishers: Simon & Schuster, Inc. 
Published Date: August 14th 2012 
My rating: 4 out of 5

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. 

The First 20%
This book goes straight in at the deep end. Abby visits an underground fight with her BFF America and America’s boyfriend, Shepley. Shepley’s cousin and flatmate is Travis. Travis wins the fight but not before he hits his opponent so hard that the blood flies all over Abby’s cardigan forcing him to look in her direction. As soon as eye contact is made he approaches her. From here on in Travis and Abby begin their connection. It’s not a relationship nor is it strictly a friendship but its clear they enjoy being around one another. Within the first 18% of this book my emotions were all torn and twisted with the angst and hurt that these two main characters managed to fling at each other but it was actually enjoyable that I couldn’t stop at any cost.

The Main Characters
Abby has a past which doesn’t really get discussed in great length until midway through the book. She’s turned away from her old life and is sincerely trying to be everything that her old life wasn’t. I liked Abby a lot. Her weakness wasn’t that she couldn’t resist Travis because she could and did. Her main weakness was that Travis reminded her so much of her old life that she began to miss it including the high’s and thrills that came with it (I won’t tell you what they are for spoilers sake!). Abby could cope with Travis because she’d lived with people like him all her life. A very strong character.
Travis is all about the now. Fighting is something he’s good at, and it helps pay the rent and pay for all the nice things in life that a student needs. He drinks a lot, has sex a lot with a different woman every time and seems unable to make any sort of female emotional connection at all. We find out later why that is and it isn’t as bad as the story tries to imply. But because of Abby’s attitude towards him and the fact that she actually seems to enjoy his company rather than his looks or charm something in Travis changes. He lets her into his life. But unfortunately his possessiveness becomes his undoing. Travis isn’t written as a character that you should really like or hate. Most reviews hate him, others love him. Either way if his character and attitude affect you then it says something about the author and her ability to make you feel something.
As I was reading I had a soft spot for him but he is such a dangerous person I did feel uncomfortable sometimes and worried for Abby. Again, the Author made me think about what I would do in this scenario…
America and Shepley are great side characters. America is always there for Abby, and has been so from Abby’s earlier childhood. Shepley as America’s boyfriend is also understanding towards America, and the only one apart from Abby that can aid Travis when things go bad. They also contribute greatly to the storyline.

The Story
The plot isn’t a clear one. Actually there isn’t much of one. It’s mainly about the journey that Abby takes and about how she and Travis get through their time together. A few random sub-plots were thrown in that didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story. The mobster Benny and her father’s debt, for one. If her father was such a has-been hot shot I don’t think this was the best way to experience his vileness towards his daughter. The next was the fire and Trent’s involvement. The fire I understand but once everyone was clear with the aftermath of it there didn’t seem to be a point to Trent being there at all. It could have been anyone.

The End?
A surprising end. Realistic? I’m not really sure about that. Fun? Definitely. Character tie ups and loose ends? All sorted. Overall I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes it had incredibly painful moments that caused me to put my hand to my mouth; sometimes I had tears in my eyes. Personally I love the rich emotion that it drew from me. This is a very powerful book. -CBx

You can reach Jamie McGuire here: 

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