Sunday, January 8, 2012

Beautiful Disaster

Author: Jamie MacGuire
Goodreads Rating: 4.24/5
My Rating: 2/5 stars
Pages: 360 pages

This book was the type of book I would have loved in high school, but now I am older and wiser, and I was really displeased with this book. This book is a prime example of everything that is wrong with Young Adult fiction. MacGuire paints this dysfunctional relationship as the most normal thing ever. It took me about a day to devour this whole book, so it is a nice quick read. 

Synopses from

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.

My review and spoilers after the jump.

As I was reading this book, all I kept thinking was "These are the types of daydreams I had when I was in middle school and high school. That I would be a beautiful girl leaving behind a dark past who attracts the untamable bad boy who cleans up his act (mostly) for me, then some disaster strikes, I'm juggling two boys who are vying for my attention, but it eventually it all works out for the better. I would have liked to read this in high school, but not now.

Not only was the plot line unrealistic, but the setting and such were so high school. With rumors and people staring in college, no one cares enough in college to stare at you for talking to someone unlikely. Not only did that irritate me, but so did the fighting. Travis is this badass who beats the hell out of anyone that looks at Abby wrong, in the real world thats called assault and you can go to jail for smashing someone's face into a headlight, drunk or not.

I just bumped this down from three stars to two the more I think about it. I have a big problem with Young adult books that make life so unrealistic. I read a lot of these books and was expecting more from college knowing that it wouldn't be like that, but it raised expectations slightly. The volatility of their relationship (Abby and Travis) to go from just hanging out to living together to broken up by Thanksgiving! Thats barely a three month relationship in which she admits shes a virgin and sleeps with him. And we know that they don't sleep together until after a least a month of knowing him. 

I can understand these two damaged people coming together and having their own dysfunctional relationship, but still there were sooooo many red flags. Trashing the apartment after she left him, getting her name tattooed on him after only 2 months together, beating the shit (please excuse my language but there is no better word) or of a few guys because they said something about Abby. I was actually disturbed when none of this seemed to phase her and she married him anyway! (Which, he got the ring at an undisclosed time before Thanksgiving when they were still barely in a hatching relationship. Mind you she was also only 19 as this happened and the book spans from (I assume) August to March/April.

The book was funny at times and made me smile, but in this book, the bad outweighed the good. The only thing this book was missing was having Abby actually get seriously injured ( she escaped an attempted rape and death by fire with a few scratches) and it would have been a perfect new teen drama for the CW. 

Who do I recommend this to? I'm not really sure because I think it is too old for middle school and early high school because of the sex scenes that made me squirm, but I think its a little juvenile for college aged kids. This book is probably good for someone who just enjoys a good YA, but someone mature enough to handle the content.

As a side note: I just read a blog post by MacGuire in which she expressed anger about people negatively reviewing her book. She brings up the point that there are people who have dysfunctional relationships, and I won't argue with that, I just don't think that this story should be geared toward Young Adults because I remember being that age, and thinking that I wanted my own Edward Cullen to watch me sleep, but it wasn't until I was older and in a good relationship that I saw all the problems with what I wanted, or thought I wanted. My only fear is that a young girl will think thats okay and it turns out to be a bad situation. I'm not saying that every girl is naive and will think that Travis Maddox is the perfect guy (although the amount of reviewers that say so is terrifying), but I am saying that when marketing a book to a group that is known for their impulsive behavior and ability to be swayed by peers and media, there needs to be a certain amount of care given to the relationships portrayed on the pages.


  1. AWESOME BOOK! This has to be in my Top 3 Books of ALL-TIME!!! I can not wait for Walking Disaster! Great read!

  2. I really enjoyed this book. I can understand how you didn't connect with it. I think for me I enjoyed it because it was so dysfunctional and I knew the chances of something like Abby and Travis's relationship being like that in real life was slim.

    Furthermore, I don't ever think the book was geared towards YA readers. It's always been NA/adult. Even now the majority of Jamie McGuire's readers are people in their 20s and up. Most are probably 30s and up, but that just goes to show her appeal to readers.



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