Wednesday, 2 May 2012
Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Released: 26th May 2011
Source: eBook- Bought
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 America, 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 charming college co-ed. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, 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’ apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match
First up, this book contains a fair bit of sex, bad language, under-age drinking, drug references, violence and relationship issues. It's not YA, it's more....New Adult. If any of that makes you uncomfortable, this isn't the book for you.
This was recommended as post-Fifty reading, no, calm down, no erotica or BDSM here. It's more because of the dysfunctional, non-mainstream relationship, but personally I found it much better written, much more engaging and much more believable than Fifty.
Abby Abernathy wanted to recreate herself. From what, we do not know....at first. I really respected her desire to move away from her past and have a clean slate, I found her a little bit conservative, but the more I learnt about her the more I liked her. Abby first meets Travis Maddox at an underground fight club, and refused to be wooed by his bad boy charm and undeniable good looks. This wasn't just down to a refusal to be another notch in his bedpost though, Abby feared a return to her pre-college lifestyle, and I really respected her desire to avoid that. It wasn't that she thought Travis would drag her down, she was worried that in the wrong situation she wouldn't be able to trust herself to stay clean. I liked that she was independent, that she didn't blame her potential downfall on a boy but on her own weakness. Despite their differences and Abby's reluctance, the two end up becoming friends, and this leads to the bet mentioned in the synopsis.
From here on in, things get a bit messy. If you've ever been in one of those blurry-lines friendships and/or messed-up/self-destructive/intense relationships, you will really relate to this book. Travis and Abby's friendship is confused, fraught and basically a hot mess. They rile each other up, frustrate, upset and anger each other, yet they also bring out the good in each other. They stabilise and balance each other. I genuinely found the whole thing really authentic, and thought it was very cleverly written. The moments where they were happy were so sweet and adorable. It was good to see the guy more emotionally dependent, a nice break from traditional gender norms.Throughout the book Abby is usually the more level-headed, more rational and more determined of the two. She makes the hard decisions. She wants to be her own person and not be defined by who she's with. She wont be dragged down and she wont be taken advantage of.
Throughout the whole book, Abby is torn between what she wants and what she thinks she needs. She makes a few mistakes and a few good calls and there are high points and low points. She was your typical first year university student really, and I found the whole 'college experience' to be really realistically portrayed, including the under-age drinking, partying and sleeping around. There were some aspects that were a little bit out there for me, such as how involved Travis and Abby's friends became in their relationship, how much outside attention was focused on them, and I wasn't a massive fan of the ending, though I can't really see how else it could've ended.
Beautiful Disaster is a messy, edgy and real story. It's the tale of a relationship that isn't perfect, that is dysfunctional and does have issues. It's the story of two people with deep psychological scars who both fix and break each other in equal measure. It's one of the best self-published novels I've ever read and I would happily pay double, triple what it cost me. If you're looking for something a bit less YA, a bit less censured, a bit messier, this is the book for you