So I may be one of the last people to finally pick up Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. It's a fun read, and I blazed through it one day, although as you'll see in my review, I thought that the main two characters were possibly the most dysfunctional people (and even more so as a couple) I had ever read about. Then there came Walking Disaster, which I had a lot of problems with. But here are first my reviews, and then I'll get to the rant portion of this discussion.
Goodreads Book Description: 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 wants—and needs—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 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
My Review: I
actually received the ARC for the sequel, Walking Disaster, so I knew I
had to read this one first before sinking into the next one.
Disaster by Jamie McGuire is told from the perspective of Abby (or
"Pigeon" as she is affectionately nicknamed by Travis) as she maneuvers
through college and her love life, which is kind of like a mix of a
romcom with Fight Club. Travis is a man ho for lack of a better term,
and he is the most glorified fighter in a secret betting fight club. He
sees Abby for the first time there, and their love/hate relationship
starts in that moment. He won't leave her alone, and she is determined
to ignore him because he's everything that's she's tried to leave
behind. Will they make their way together or will it all end... in
disaster? Sorry, couldn't help it.
I would characterize this book
more as new adult than young adult and would recommend that no one
under 18 should read it for graphic violence and sexual encounters. This
book is well written and the characters pop off of the page. I read it
from cover to cover--pacing is definitely not a problem. The characters
are really well described and three dimensional, and McGuire pulls out
some twists that I did not expect but really liked.
problem I had with this book is while there is no doubt that this couple
was sizzling hot, they were also probably the two most dysfunctional
people I've ever read about. I think Abby was probably right in that
they'd end up just destroying each other. Maybe years of counseling
would help them, but would it be worth it? If I were Shepley or America
(their respective best friends), I'd give them a berth of at least 50
feet... maybe even a few continents. I also have to agree with other
reviewers that this may give the wrong message to teens about love-- if I
were a parent, I'd really have an honest discussion about relationships
and what is okay and what is not. Having a guy fight for and over you
using physical violence is not something to adore and admire.
said, I really enjoyed this book overall, but couldn't help but be
relieved that 1) I didn't have to watch them tear each other apart any
longer and 2) that I don't have a relationship like theirs.
Goodreads Book Description: Finally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Can you love someone too much?
Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.
Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground
gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby
Abernathy brings him to his knees.
Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
My Review: Don't
hate on me... I can already feel the anger from the rest of the people
who absolutely loved this book. I received this book from Netgalley in
exchange for an honest review.
Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire
is a version of Beautiful Disaster from the perspective of Travis, the
hotblooded fighter from the first book. And let me repeat, it's exactly
the same book with a different epilogue. You can read the synopsis from
either book to get an idea of what this is about-- Travis and Abby (or
Pigeon) fall in love and have a very dysfunctional relationship. That
pretty much sums it up.
Don't get me wrong, seeing into Travis'
rage crazed head is interesting at times and a sometimes fascinating
exercise to write a book from a male's perspective. I would say that
McGuire succeeds and that I felt like Travis' voice was authentic and
believable. I not once thought he was a girl (a problem that a lot of YA
books have with female authors writing as male voices). The epilogue
was entertaining (and the one part that was new) if not unbelievable.
way I read and review companion books is TOGETHER. If this were a stand
alone, it would probably have earned another star. The first book was a
solid 4 stars for me, but there was no anticipation in this book of
what was going to happen. I had just read the first book, and had the
sense that this book was a cut and paste except for a few additions here
and there. I mean, talk about a great way to easily get out another
book for fans of Travis and Beautiful Disaster to salivate over. But for
me, I felt like this was just a letdown-- could we at least have seen
the time between the end of Beautiful Disaster and the epilogue? That
could have been more interesting (and different) than the first book. I
found myself skimming through all the dialogue and scenes with Abby and
Travis because you can be sure they were the same.
Overall, a repetitive addition to the Beautiful Disaster franchise-- this one wasn't for me.
Rant (Beware: Major spoilers from both books)
OK, so here's my problem, which I kind of went into in my review above on Walking Disaster. Is it just me, or does it seem kind of wrong to charge people for an entire "new" book when it is basically the same book as before? I could actually tell that McGuire was getting a little tired of the "new" book herself, when she just cut and paste large chunks of dialogue from one book to the other without any new additions into Travis' head.
The two big additions are a prologue (which I could have done without), and a completely unrealistic epilogue where Travis becomes an FBI agent. REALLY? I mean, Beautiful Disaster's ending was pretty unbelievable (ok, the getting married part wasn't that unlikely, but the living happily ever after DEFINITELY was), but this was completely in left base. The likelihood of Travis pulling himself together and snagging a high profile job after a lifetime of being messed up and a fighter seems very low. It is much more likely that he ended up in jai,l and he and Abby ended up divorced with kids. In fact, it seemed like a more fitting end for these two was a dual suicide-- it would fit their pattern of total insanity and violence.
These two people are completely dysfunctional, and honestly, make each other more unstable. Are we supposed to believe that once they finally decided to be together that they never had any more fights? And are we also supposed to believe that someone who is physically violent with other people won't ever hit a woman or children? I see a lifetime of abuse for Travis' loved ones-- and I can see him totally doing the "I'm so sorry, I promise I'll never do it again." It seems to really fit his personality.
Overall, while I enjoyed reading Beautiful Disaster, it had its problems, and then Walking Disaster was basically... a complete disaster. I would pass that one by.
What did you think of these books?