Title: Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Genre: New Adult Romance
Synopsis: 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.
I D-N-Fed this book at 63% because I could not stomach this story any longer.
Lack of development in our heroine, I’m talking about richness and dept is completely missing. Also and I could scarcely read this but the slut-shaming in this novel is nauseating, it’s inexcusable and perfectly acceptable to everyone. Women are judged by their attire, women are judged by how many sexual partners they have, women are judged for having daddy issues, women are treated as sex-objects that shame themselves for being unable to resist the charms of our protagonist (and I laugh manically as I type that). Oh, and our heroine Abby (Pidge) is “not most girls”. Don’t believe me? Line from text: “I thought we established that I’m not most girls?”
On the opposite spectrum of Abby’s lack of dept is Travis “Mad Dog” – an alpha fist fighter who is great at biology and has a temper, oozing in bad boy tropes. He’s a womanizer who treats women like shit except for Abby who he has, for whatever reason, fallen crazy madly deadly in love with. When I saw people describing Travis as horrible I didn’t understand the extent until I read it for myself and the reason he’s so bad is because he is painted as a romantic hero rather than a cautionary tale. Travis has a temper and I’m not even talking about shouting and getting mad, I’m talking about I will destroy my room, break the door if I find that you left in the middle of the night. I’m talking about beating all sorts of guys bloody each time Abby is even looked at the wrong way.
The level of maturity for all the characters concerned is the size of a pea. Abby’s floundering personality is not match for his bloated alpha ego and we are left with a relationship that is very one-sided and unbalanced. What is even worse is that this is painted as a girl that is able to tame this wild man and I’m just like NO. I can’t read this shit because it’s so poorly written that it comes out all wrong. There is no balance in this relationship and thus we waltz right into a controlling and emotionally dependent relationship, this is not cute, romantic or sweet – and you cannot fix this. You cant.
There’s a scene where they’re at a bar and a guy buys her a beer even though she didn’t want it (my stomach tightened knowing what was to come) and Travis stormed in scaring the guy off and making Abby feel guilty for even accepting the beer, he threw the beer in the can. Henceforth the group has to leave the bar because Travis is ‘acting up’.
This is literally a line in the novel: “I’m gonna fuck up. I’m gonna fuck up a lot, Pidge, but you have to forgive me.”
And another gem: “This isn’t the ‘I wanna see other people’ speech, is it? Because I’m not sharing you. No fucking way.”
The side characters do not help either, Abby’s best friend America continues to flip-flop like a fish – one moment she wants Abby with Travis because she thinks SHE’S GOOD FOR HIM (mind that I capitalize that because it’s not the other way around) – the next moment she wants Travis away from Abby but only after he does the UNFORGIVABLE which is consider working for the Mob. The punching walls is cool, he just misses you. The actions, behaviors and dialogue is reminiscent of just white trash and not in a social behavior observational manner the way Winter’s Bone tries.
The other thing that really grated me of this novel is that this is supposed to be set in college but this entire environment is as un-collegy as I’ve ever seen it. For starters, somehow the entire COLLEGE student body has meals at the same time. Second, in this ridiculous universe college students care about what is happening to the social life of other college students. Look, college people don’t give a shit who is fucking who and much less did anyone get into fist fights every other week. The environment is high school, there’s reputations, there’s jocks, there’s sluts, there’s everything a high school offers you without any sort of ‘adult’presence. (For example, why doesn’t Travis get in any trouble for constantly bashing his follow student’s faces IN SCHOOL PROPERTY IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE STUDENT BODY? Inquiring minds want to know.)
The other problem I have with this book is the cheese-fest. Now, please I understand that this is a romance novel, the cheese runs rampant in these novels but it’s bad. It’s like high school fanfiction-bad. Dialogue, thought process, descriptions – it’s just cheese.
I tried, I tried so hard until I felt sick. This is not addicting, this is just a story about two fucked up people that SHOULDN’T have ended up together painted as root-worthy and I just can’t read it. I feel like I need to cleanse my soul now.