Monday, 29 April 2013

New Adult Monday Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Published by: Atria Books
Release date:
14th August 2012
Beautiful #1
I got it from:
Quote:“I knew the second I met you that there was something about you I needed. Turns out it wasn’t something about you at all. It was just you.” 
Goodreads summary:

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from 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.

My review:
This has to be one of the most stressful books I've ever read. Don't get me wrong - I loved it, completely and absolutely, but it was hard to read at times. Every now and then a book will really get under my skin and affect me emotionally. I don't just mean the funny bits make me laugh and the sad bits make me cry - it's more like I become emotionally linked to the heroine and what happens to her affects how I feel. When she's happy and in love I'm full of joy and affection; when she does something stupid I'm irritable and short-tempered; when she's heartbroken I'm depressed. Abby was one of these characters. I had to keep reading and try to make sure I ended up in a good scene before putting the book down!

One of the best things about Beautiful Disaster was its ability to keep me guessing. I mean, there's usually an outcome that you want - an ending that you think is the way things should go. Much of the time books subscribe to this and give you a nice, neat ending that ties up all the lose ends and finishes the story. I don't really appreciate books like that too much. Endings are a big thing for me and it's not that often I come across a book that, for me, really gets it right. Beautiful Disaster kept me guessing all the way through. I knew what I wanted to happen, but I really wasn't sure if it was going to or not. This is part of what made for some stressful reading, but it's also what made it excellent. Life is not a story. Stuff happens, things get in the way of what you want, and you can't always rely on things, be it fate, other people or even yourself sometimes. Beautiful Disaster illustrated this point - well, beautifully. The title says it all.

Abby is an amazing character. At the start she's trying to be this girl, who fits in, studies hard, doesn't get in with the wrong crowd and definitely doesn't get tempted by the likes of Travis Maddox. She's kind of damaged, but it's made her incredibly strong - too strong sometimes. She's proud, stubborn and a bit wild. 
Her sketchy past makes her really interesting, and her determination to escape and overcome it makes for a great story. Travis is not in her plan. He is too close to everything she's trying to get away from, but she just can't help herself. The very fact that she is proud of, rather than repelled by, Travis' fighting hints at the kind of past she's had and the kind of person she is. It's the point when we start to see this at which we begin to see the true Abby Abernathy. When she finally starts to let Travis in everything takes off. The chemistry between these two is incredible. The intense relationship they have is both a blessing and a curse. I know only too well what it feels like to experience that kind of love and need. Some people may say it's not healthy, that it's destructive, but when you've felt something that strong it's impossible to settle for anything less.

America, Abby's best friend, is the very best kind of best friend. She's unswervingly loyal and supportive, and exactly who Abby needs. Travis' support network of his flatmate Shepley and his band of brothers is a rare insight into the world of boys, and the relationships dynamics between them are brilliant to read. What's interesting about this book for me is that it's almost like part fantasy novel - the type of life these people read is so far out of my realm of experience that I can barely imagine it. Yet however different the lifestyles are, the relationships remain familiar, true and real.

However stressful it was to read the first time, I adored Beautiful Disaster and can't wait to read Travis' side of the story, Walking Disaster. Check back next week for my review!

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