Wednesday, August 8, 2012

'Beautiful Disaster' by Jamie McGuire

Reviewed by: Jesi 
5 Stars

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.
(Amazon product description)

First, let me say, it was brave of the author to write a novel for the college age.  For those of you who are not familiar with the industry, traditional publishers will buy adult books or young adult books, but not the age in between.  Why?  Basically, because they don’t know where to shelve it in the book store.  But just because publishers don’t know how to sell it doesn’t mean readers don’t want to read it.  Beautiful Disaster is a refreshing novel for that mature, 17 and up reader. 

I think what I enjoyed most about this book was the characterization.  The description above kind of makes it seem like the characters might be stereotypical, but thankfully, that didn’t turn out to the case at all.  Travis is a tattoo covered, fighting bad-boy, but he is also fiercely loyal, intelligent and loving.  Anna tries to hide behind her cardigan sweaters, but she has an adventurous soul.  I loved that Anna and Travis did not try to change each other.  Yes, Travis made adjustments, but I think that was more an effect of him growing up.  He realized that if he wanted a quality relationship with someone, he would have to clean up his act.  Anna never issued ultimatums.  She didn’t hassle him over his fighting for money.  Even in the one scene where she hit her deal-breaker, she didn’t try to force Travis to do what she wanted.  She simply made the mature decision for what was good for her.  In keeping with the age of the characters, Travis and Anna were not perfect.  They made mistakes.  The cool thing was that we see them learning from them. 

The pacing of the story flowed nicely.  It was a fairly long book, but part of me didn’t want it to end.  There was a fair amount of excitement and action peppered throughout the plot.  Travis was a fighter in an underground boxing club on campus.  He got paid enough from his cut in the bets that it served as his job.  Of course, this meant he had a bit of a violent reputation.  One of my favorite scenes was when Anna and her friend were at a dance club.  Every time a guy would start dancing with them, he would suddenly disappear.  After a few times of this happening, they discovered Travis and his cousin yanking the guys off the dance floor when the girls’ backs were turned, and then threatening the guys to stay away.  Anna was mad, but I thought it was rather funny. 

I strongly recommend this book, and I look forward to more by this author.

Overall, I give Beautiful Disaster...

Plot - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Character Development - 5 bookmarks (Anna was one of the best younger heroines I have read in a while.)
Love Story - 5 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Kristen Stewart (Anna), Liam Hemsworth (Travis), America (Brit Robertson), Shepley (Jeremy Irvine)

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