Since the Atria Books paperback version of this novel was released today it seemed timely to review Beautiful Disaster (even though it has been out for a while).
All I can say is Beautiful Disaster left me feeling rather perplexed and baffled as to why good writing often has little (if any) actual correlation to a book’s sales/popularity.
You are at a secret college fight that is like some sort of UFC douche fest with a bunch of muscle bound dudes spraying blood and sweat all over the place.
And you are there and you get blood on your cashmere sweater, and you are a little afraid and a little disgusted and suddenly you find yourself face to face with the fight’s victor. The hottest. The dreamiest. The muscleiest. The tribal tattooiest. Travis “Mad Dog” Maddox.
You share a charged moment together and inexplicably Travis nicknames you “Pigeon” and melts into the crowd.
Swoon, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to be nicknamed after a bird most people consider to be vermin?
And so begins the most absurd, pointless, needlessly dramatic, unromantic romance of all time. It goes something like this:
Abby is a virginal college girl with a MYSTERIOUS PAST who wants to leave all her baggage behind and have a fresh start at college. Travis is the sexy campus manwhore who seems to do little but fight, drink, smoke cigarettes, and fuck random college girls (on his couch—never on his bed because well, those girls aren’t worthy of his bed). And somehow Travis and Abby end up JUST FRIENDS and due to the outcome of some completely implausible bet Abby is forced to live in Travis’ apartment for a month.
The rest of the novel can be summed up as Abby flirts, speaks to, is insulted by, dances with, dates, or kisses other boys and then Travis beats the crap out of aforementioned boys (always without intervention or repercussion). Next, Abby gets mad at Travis. They fight. Abby leaves. Travis flips out and either breaks something or spends an inordinate amount of time banging on her dorm room door. They make up. They have sex.
And the book goes around like this with little variation. Weird plot twists like a run in with the mob and a deadly fire that inspire them to run off to Vegas and get married (because life is fleeting ya’ll) did little to add depth to the characters or the plot.
These characters are crazy.
Much like 50 Shades, this seems to be a love it or hate it kind of novel and readers are divided on whether Abby and Travis have one of the most Epic. Romances. Ever. or if both characters should be secured on some sort of locked ward.
I vote locked ward.
I think this novel’s mass appeal is due in part to the perennially popular theme of a good girl changing a bad boy by simply loving him. Who doesn’t want to be the girl who makes the hot, bad boy be good? The problem with Beautiful Disaster is that there isn’t any redemption here. Abby doesn’t really change Travis; mostly she enables/tacitly approves his bad behavior.
Author: Jamie McGuire
Publisher: Atria Books
Price: 7.99 (for the Kindle version)
Source: Publisher provided ARC via Net Galley