Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Thoughts: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Published: August 14, 2012
Atria Books, 416 pages, paperback
Source: NetGalley
GR Summary: 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.
I feel sort of violated right now.

I had heard some pretty abominable things about this book. However, that only motivated me to download it immediately and give it a whirl. Perhaps I'd see something in this book that others overlooked. I had the same twisted curiosity about Beautiful Disaster that I felt for Fifty Shades of Grey. Kind of a "Challenge Accepted" thing.

After I flew through the first 200 pages with ease, I thought to myself, "okay. So this guy is messed up and promiscuous and violent. But so was The OC's Ryan Atwood and look how awesome he turned out. Maybe he's got some mommy issues and just needs a qualified good girl to show him how love can really be." After all, there were some pretty delicious scenes in the first half and I was anticipating good things to come. I thought maybe, just maybe, this was the extent of bad boy Travis' insanity and those ever-so-important Redeeming Qualities were just around the corner.

ryan atwood: crowned king of "broken boys with redeeming qualities"
(and he fights in season 4!)

Oh, no. No, no, NO.

Abby, what happened to you? The 19th birthday scene was despicable and embarrassing. Not to mention BFF America's encouragement to take 15 tequila shots and brushing it off like, "oh, yeah, basically she's a closet alcoholic, it's all good. Just enjoy the show." Not really something a good friend should do.

While I thought Travis and Abby's relationship was strangely endearing in the beginning, the former's psychotic jealousy, possessiveness, and violence became physically uncomfortable to me after awhile. This, coming from a girl who exceedingly enjoyed Twilight and liked to think Edward was The Perfect Specimen. (Do you see the extent of discomfort?) I didn't particularly like Abby. I thought she was pretty dumb throughout the majority of the book. But I wanted to gag, bound, and kidnap her to drive her far, far away from Travis. His behavior was legitimately frightening and I am rendered terrified that men like this exist.

And yet, Jamie McGuire can write a freaking book. I'm not kidding you when I say I snuck away to the bathroom several times to find an excuse to escape the Olympics (SHAME!) to read more of Beautiful Disaster. It was disastrous, yet these characters were so vividly painted in my mind. You know those books that play out like 3D movies instead of silent films? In my mind, Beautiful Disaster had a complete cast, score, and soundtrack.

I am so disturbed by my simultaneous love and disgust for various aspects of this book, but I cannot discredit the author's talent. Beautiful Disaster is more of a manual of EVERY SINGLE RELATIONSHIP RED FLAG IN EXISTENCE than an even borderline healthy romance. If that's what Jamie McGuire was shooting for, she hit this one out of the park.

I will undoubtedly be reading more by this author, because if she plans on doing a LOVE love story, there's no question she will write the ever loving hell out of it.


  1. I never finished this book because like you, I thought it was strangely endearing in the beginning and then it veered quickly towards NO WAY. so many red flags in this book. D:

  2. 1) OMG! A post! Yay!
    2) That cover is dangerously beautiful and it makes me want to pick up the book, but... it doesn't sound like anything I'd enjoy.
    4) Maybe I'll just print out the cover as art and hang it on my wall.

  3. THIS BOOK. Oh, I wanted to throw it across the room when I was done because I was so disgusted by how it ended. I had to go down the hall to rant about it to my best friend. Yet, I was totally addicted to it the whole time I was reading. I actually had to invent a whole new rating just for it. Like you, I enjoyed the romance until about halfway through the book red flags were suddenly EVERYWHERE, and the romance went from being sweet and risky to downright unhealthy and dangerous.

    Beautiful Disaster is more of a manual of EVERY SINGLE RELATIONSHIP RED FLAG IN EXISTENCE than an even borderline healthy romance.

    Precisely! When I reviewed this book, I talked specifically about how I probably would have appreciated the book a lot more if I had gone into it expecting a cautionary tale rather than a romance.

  4. Oh boy, I got this one from NetGalley. Challenge accepted here, too. Hopefully it isn't a waste of time for me >.<

  5. Oh my gosh! Exactly!!!! You said exactly what I thought as I read this book. It was so hard to put down and so disturbing at the same time. In the end the disturbing won out in the end, so I never could really join all the people who love this one. Those two needed some serious therapy. But you are right -- Jamie McGuire can write and deserves another look if she writes a less creepy book. :)

  6. I got it from NetGalley... sounds kind of dreadful but strangely compelling. Car crash fiction. But I'll give it a fair read.

  7. It sounds like there are too many red flags for me to ignore. I'm glad that you ended up enjoying her writing though!

  8. This made me think a bit of Fifty Shades of Fudge...abusive dude with issues...but stupid girl follows him anyway....


    Thanks for the sensible review! lol ;)

  9. Dude, wow. Okay, everything I've read about this book up until this has been like YAY I HOPE YOU LOVE THIS AS MUCH AS ME! But now I'm like WHAAAA?

    But you know Asheley: Mixed reviews mean I'll bump the book up like nobody's business. So I'm probably gonna start this one today now. Because now I'm curious. And what if I DO like i? Am I a freak, as in freak-nasty weird? Oh gracious. I hope you aren't working tonight. I'll have to start it when you're not working. Yeah, that's the ticket.