Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (14 Aug 2012)
Good Girl. Abby Abernathy doesn’t drink or swear and she works hard. Abby believes she has created enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college, her dreams of a new beginning are quickly challenged by the university’s walking one-night stand.
Bad Boy. Travis Maddox, handsome, built, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs – and wants – to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight club, and his days as the notorious college Lothario.
A disaster waiting to happen…Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain celibate for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’ apartment for the same amount of time.
Or the start of something beautiful? Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match. Or that this is the start of an obsessive, intense relationship that will lead them both into unimaginable territory…
Beautiful Disaster is narrated in the first person by Abby. The story opens with Abby and best friend America attending one of the secret fights. Travis is one of the fighters. Dressed in cashmere and wearing pearls, this isn’t one of her usual haunts. She makes her way to the front of the fighting and gets splattered with blood … and noticed by Travis, although she isn’t interested.
“He oozed sex and rebelliousness with his buzzed brown hair and tattooed forearms, and I rolled my eyes at his attempt to lure me in.” (page 8)
Travis is a straight A student which doesn’t go with his image. As the layers start to peel back we learn more about his background. We know Eastern University is a new start for Abby and that in her past, something happened that caused alienation – but we don’t know what. Abby confuses Travis.
“I can’t figure you out. You’re the first girl that’s ever been disgusted with me before sex. You don’t get all flustered when you talk to me, and you don’t try to get my attention.” (page 20)
The reader becomes involved as their friendship builds and turns into love. Not your average ‘fluffy’ romance but a soul experience, at times crossing into obsession, with emotions so raw you can feel it in the pit of your stomach. Abby’s background keeps pulling her back – even after we know what that is. She tears herself apart alongside Travis. There are times when the reader has no idea how it will all work out and this is a real page turner. The final crisis is very tense and emotional.
Despite the repetition of ‘rolling of eyes’, ‘pulling eyebrows in/together’ and ‘puffing breaths of air’ I really enjoyed this tempestuous love story. For me, the characters and plot overrode my annoyance at this. I loved the characters, my emotions were engaged, I couldn’t predict what would happen, and it was brilliant to see the darker side of love in the romance genre! Beautiful Disaster may take you out of your comfort zone but will definitely hook you in.
I’m really looking forward to the release of Walking Disaster. Due for publication March 2013, it tells the story from Travis’ perspective.
Jamie McGuire is the New York times bestselling author of three other novels: