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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Thoughts: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

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.

When I was thinking about reading Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, I tweeted two fellow bloggers- Ashley from The Bookish Burnett and Evie from Bookish- both have read it to get their opinions. One loved it and had nothing but good things to say about the novel. The other, while she enjoyed it, was not all that impressed with the message it sent. With these two opinions in mind I hopped in.


I am not sure what to say about Beautiful Disaster. I am conflicted because there were some things that I liked but there were a number of things that I had a HUGE problem with.

Initially I thought Beautiful Disaster was a young adult novel, albeit a more edgy YA novel. However, when I was on one of my many field trips to the bookstore there was a giant sign- "For People Who Liked Fifty Shades of Grey"- and there was Beautiful Disaster alongside novels by Sylvia Day (Bared to You) and Megan Hart (Tempted, Broken, Switch), all of which have extreme adult content. Therefore I thought it was erotic fiction. But, so many YA blogs/bloggers were reading/reviewing it. So I was confused as to what category to put it in.

Therein lies problem number one.

 Beautiful Disaster reads like a YA novel with a more adult theme. If that makes sense? While I reading the novel I was noticing that the drama of the story felt very juvenile the dialogue felt like something I would read in a contemporary YA book. However the setting wasn't a high school it was a university, and the two protagonist were both over 18 (I think Travis was even 21). They were adults and would do adult things. This really irritated me. I had a hard time determining who this book was for.

The biggest problem I had with Beautiful Disaster was Travis Maddox. What a terrible boy.

The thing is. Teenage girls are going to read this and maybe they are going to think that the way Travis acted, how possessive and controlling he was is normal behaviour. I have said it before and I will say it again- when an author is writing for young people, I believe they have a responsibility to tell their readers what acceptable behaviour looks like or make it clear what acceptable behaviour isn't. McGuire made it look like the relationship Travis and Abby (the female protagonist) had was your typical relationship.

Abby was a pushover, in the beginning I liked her, I liked how she resisted Travis-or tried to. I liked how she was snarky with him. But she lost that. I can't really put my finger on it, but she lost that. She became Travis' shadow, his puppet. All in the name of love. Give me a break.

I could go on and on about what I think of this book and why I found it so lacking. But I won't. Jamie McGuire is a good writer, although she needs to be more clear on who she is writing for. Her story was interesting, but her characters killed me.

I had thought that I wouldn't read Walking Disaster, but after perusing Jamie's website and seeing all the hype about the novel, I will admit I am curious to read the story from Travis' point of view. I would like to see if McGuire has the ability to make me like him more. We will see.

~Happy Reading Everyone.


  1. I think the ultra possessive and jealous to the point of insanity type of hero is something that's getting more and more common - and one that I hate. I couldn't stand Travis. I thought if I came across him I'd be more likely to get a restraining order than a marriage license.

    I think curiosity is the reason why I'm sure I'll also be checking out Travis' story when it's released.

  2. Whenever I think of this book I think of Abby's roommate Kara when she says:

    "Do you know what co-dependency is, Abby? Your boyfriend is a prime example, which is creepy considering he went from having no respect for women at all to thinking he needs you to breathe."

    A-freaking-men, Kara.

    Like honestly, the writing in this one is decent in that it kept me reading. The author actually does have talent, so I wish she would use it to write a male character who wasn't one argument away from using all his rage to become a wife beater. Because honestly that's how I see the future for those characters. So freaking dysfunctional.

  3. I think it's great you read this book in order to get your own opinion on it. I think you have a great point...what you said kind of reminds me of how the CW treats it's shows...teens acting like adults.

    Perhaps the message is in what Ashley @Book Labryinth above said...her roommate pointed out the behavior. At least someone in the book did.

    I really liked reading your thoughts and I totally get where you're coming from. I'm not sure I agree that YA authors have an obligation to model appropriate behavior, but I can't help but wonder why they wouldn't WANT to.

  4. Well, I'm still avoiding this book because it doesn't really have anything to appeal to me - Travis doesn't sound appealing to me at all and I don't like pushover 'heroines'

    Hope you like the next book too :)

  5. Hmm. I will probably skip this one. Can def see where confusion would come in, I thought it was YA too.
    Thanks for review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog


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