Kristen's Reviews > Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
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5 stars with a caveat, and by far my most difficult review to write to date.

I’m honestly baffled by my response to this book because I not only enjoyed the story, but I also gave it high marks. In many ways this book is everything I hate in a Young Adult romance, but I still found myself enthralled, giddy, and starry eyed, regardless of how annoyed I became at time. In fact, I felt like I was at odds with myself during most of it. There was my latent teenage self, all starry eyed and idealistic, who loved everything about this book, warring with my more mature and realistic 40-year-old self who knows better. It became quite exasperating.

I found I liked all the characters in this book. Not once did I become annoyed with them- shocking for a Young Adult story. The characters were multi-dimensional and authentic. I was easily transported into their world of college drama (although, frankly, it felt more like High School).

Right from the start I fell head-over-heels in love with Travis. He's such a lovable jerk. He epitomizes the charismatic, lackadaisical, tattooed, sexier-than-all-get-out bad boy over whom most young girls swoon. He's volatile, tough, flirty, compulsive, charming, aggressive, shameless, intelligent, domineering, proud, and nonchalant. He also has a tenderhearted, kind and vulnerable side that makes it impossible not to love him. He really is the ultimate fantasy.

Our book begins with Abby, our level-headed and strong-willed heroine, attending an underground college fight club where Travis "Mad Dog" Maddox is the undefeated champion. Unimpressed with his slick and smooth talking manner, she brushes him off, wanting nothing to do with him. Only too familiar with his type, she knows he means trouble. Travis, intrigued because Abby is immune to his charms, all but stalks her, wanting to win her over. Eventually he succeeds. What begins as a genuine friendship slowly blooms into an all consuming, passionate, and frankly, obsessive and codependent relationship.

I really liked Abby's character. I was braced to dislike her as the story progressed, fearing she would become little more than a doormat because of the codependent and obsessive relationship she had with Travis. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how level-headed she remained throughout the book. She confronted all of his “red flag” behaviors in a mature and rational manner, even leaving him for a time.

The thing that makes this story both intriguing and appalling, is Travis' obsession with Abby. He is consumed by her. She becomes his everything. Exhilarating in theory; unhealthy in reality! His obsession, at times, becomes disturbing and worrisome. In the end Travis makes some behavioral changes, albeit more surface than substance, hoping to win Abby back. He succeeds, and Abby returns to the relationship. In doing so, some readers may believe in the misconception that one person can change another.

While a part of me knows better I still loved so much about this book. I am a girl, after all! Would I want my 17 year old daughter to read this? No. Very few teens have either the experience or maturity to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

But will I read this book again? Yes! (Oh dear, this makes me a hypocrite!)
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Quotes Kristen Liked

Jamie McGuire
“To douchebags!" he said, gesturing to Brad. "And to girls that break your heart," he bowed his head to me. His eyes lost focus. "And to the absolute fucking horror of losing your best friend because you were stupid enough to fall in love with her.”
Jamie McGuire, Beautiful Disaster

Reading Progress

8.0% "I've wondered about this book. Wasn't sure I would like it but am finding it rather good."
23.0% "I can't quite figure out why Abby puts up with Travis' mood swing. She doesn't seem like a doormat. I can tell this story is going to deal with some heavy issues. Anger and alcohol issues to be specific."
58.0% "I can't believe how much I like this story. The grammar and punctuation on the Kindle is awful and it's very YA, but I can't seem to put the book down. Lol."
58.0% "I can't believe how much I like this book. The grammar and punctuation errors are annoying and it's definitely YA, in terms of plot, but I can't seem to stop smiling or put down the book." 7 comments
83.0% "I'm starting to get annoyed with the breakup device that's going on. It's dragging out and I have a sick feeling this is going to last until the end of the book."

Comments (showing 45-94)

Sakura I was surprised with this book myself, but it turned out to be a great read!

Kristen It's very cliché but addicting. I'm really surprised at how much I like it. Lol.

message 92: by Jenny E (new)

Jenny E Great review... just downloaded to my Kindle after reading it!

Kristen It reads like a fanfic with better writing and plot development. Very addicting. Enjoy!

Wendy Great review Kristen! Now I can see already a few issues here. But I shall definitely keep you posted, when I get to reading it :)

Kristen Please do. I'll be curious to see how you feel about it.

Taryn at My Secret Romance LOL I already liked your review before! I must have forgotten I've already read it!

Taiyesha-Duchess of Indiana omg this is exactly how i felt kristen! i ended up writing a very untraditional, interview, type review!

Kristen Tai the Lioness wrote: "omg this is exactly how i felt kristen! i ended up writing a very untraditional, interview, type review!"

I'm glad you understood where I was coming from. I love this book but still cringe when I think too deeply about it.

Leslie Wow, awesome review and though YA books are not my fav, I may have to indulge! Nice, Kristen!

Kristin (KC) nice review! i look forward to reading this!

Kristen Thanks Kris. I hope you enjoy the book.

Jean♥ I'm sitting here trying to review this book and it is like you took all the words out of my brain lol. I agree with you about this book being a cliche. It is completely but I as well fell in love with this book. Oh Travis<3

message 81: by Lisa Kay (new)

Lisa Kay Lovely review, Kristen!

Kristen Thank you, Lisa Kay. My crazy teenage self loved this book! Lol.

Kristen Juna wrote: "I'm sitting here trying to review this book and it is like you took all the words out of my brain lol. I agree with you about this book being a cliche. It is completely but I as well fell in love w..."

Haha. Yeah, there is a lot wrong with this book, but I still loved so much about it.

Kristen This book really isn't young adult. I think the new publisher changed the genre it's in. It's quite the ride but I still loved it.

~ Becs ~ Why do you think it isn't YA Kristen?? I think it's very much aimed at the Twilight demographic.

Personally, I detested this book.

Kristen Becs wrote: "Why do you think it isn't YA Kristen?? I think it's very much aimed at the Twilight demographic.

Personally, I detested this book."

I can see why this book wouldn't work for many, believe me! Still, I loved it. Which is really ironic since YA isn't my genre at all!

Yes, Beautiful felt YA many times, but what I meant was that Beautiful Disaster was originally self published and classified, I think, under YA. A publisher bought the rights a few months back and changed the genre.

Here's a quote from the author's website:

Isn’t Beautiful Disaster a little racy to be classified as Young Adult?

Yes, that is why it is classified as contemporary romance. Beautiful Disaster is “rated” by the author as mature for strong language and sexual content, and is recommended for ages 17+.

message 75: by ~ Becs ~ (last edited Aug 04, 2012 08:15AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

~ Becs ~ Ah, right. Thanks Kristen. I think there was only one sex scene and it wasn't very descriptive or passionate, as far as I remember.

I think what's going on here, is they've seen the success of 50 Shades and are trying to ride the crest of that particular wave. Kind of like Sylvia Day's Bared to You although that is being done really successfully if you look at Amazon's best seller's list.

What I hated most about this book was the fact that it was aimed at the YA readership and yet the hero was an unmitigated and almost psychotic thug - a truly awful role model so maybe it's best if it's aimed at an older readership now.

Kristen I haven't read Bared to You so I won't comment on that book or the controversy surrounding it, but I understand and agree with your feeling regarding Travis. Still, I loved him and the book, imperfections and all. And I agree, like I said in my review, I wouldn't want my teenage daughter–or any teen–to read this book.

~ Becs ~ Yes, I agree 100% with you there. Wouldn't want my teenage daughter to read this either.

KatLynne Fantastic review Kristen! You so very well stated many of my feelings about this book!

Kristen Thank you, KatLynne. There were things about this book that disturbed me greatly but I still love it.

message 70: by Robyn (new) - added it

Robyn Rankin-shorb Thanks Kristen, NOW I KNOW which new book to start! I will let u know!

Kristen Enjoy Robyn.

Muffin Kristen, I agree that this book is not for the typical teenage girl, without life experience. However, this couple and their love/hate relationship have become my obsession... lol! I'm looking forward to Walking Disaster this spring!

Kristen Me too, Muffin. Travis's book is going to be quite the trip! Thanks hun.

message 66: by Lynn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lynn This review complete captures my thoughts about the book. The latent teen in me loved it, couldn't put it down, and is swoony over Travis. But the adult in me is highly troubled by the story, and if my daughter ever brought home a guy like Travis, I'd be sick with worry. I don't get it. What is wrong with all of us?

message 65: by Kristen (last edited Nov 12, 2012 06:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kristen Exactly! Lol. I guess every now and then it's good to let our latent teens out to play. Unfortunately, I can only handle so much of mine before I have to lock her away again. Lol.

Megan That's pretty much where alot of us sit I think. I love the book to the point of considering buying it for my collection (which is hard for me to do), but I cannot particuarly figure out WHY. :)

message 63: by Kristen (last edited Nov 12, 2012 12:43PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kristen Megan wrote: "That's pretty much where alot of us sit I think. I love the book to the point of considering buying it for my collection (which is hard for me to do), but I cannot particuarly figure out WHY. :)"

Beleive me, I know right were you're coming from. Sometimes, however, it's nice to just let yourself be okay with fantasy. I have to look at this book like that or I'll ruin it for myself, because if this was reality, it's so not okay! But that's what books are for, they let us escape reality for a little while. :-)

Megan Kristen wrote: "Megan wrote: "That's pretty much where alot of us sit I think. I love the book to the point of considering buying it for my collection (which is hard for me to do), but I cannot particuarly figure ..."

Completely and totally agree with you! That's the best part of books, is getting away from reality!

message 61: by Rica (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rica Kristen - great review. I finished reading this book in one sitting. I have had it for awhile, but just read it today. I don't know why I waited. Like you, I would not want my daughter to read this now, but I enjoyed it!

Kristen Thanks Rica. I just let me teenage self out during this book and she had a blast. Lol. Most of these type books don't work for me but I loved this one.

Tracey Great review thanks, totally agree with all you said. My 40yr old self also loved this book and it wasn't until after I finished it I remembered it was supposed to have disturbing scenes and in hindsight I can see where they are. I agree I wouldn't let my 17yr old read this and that is not due to the content but because I don't think at that age they have the maturity or life experience to fully understand the emotional turmoil displayed in this book (at least i would hope at that age they didn't)

Kristen Thank you for your comments, Tracey. Yeah, my 40 year old self wasn't a fan of the this book but, oh boy, did my latent teen self LOVE this book and couldn't get enough of it. Lol.

message 57: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne R. I'm one of the younger people who have read this and I LOVED it soooo much. Some people might not agree with younger people reading it but I think that there are people out there that are mature enough. Also I liked your review of the book it described it perfectly.

Kristen Thanks Anne. I'm glad you enjoyed the book so much. It's one of my favorites.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Great review, Kristen.

I think sometimes a story is just a story. It's not a role model for behavior. I don't have kids, so it's hard to say where I draw the line. It's intuitive to each person as a parent. I guess you go by what you have gone and lived for the stronger through and your own values, which makes sense from a parenting standpoint. I like the way you break things down in this review. Thanks for the food for thought!

message 54: by Kristen (last edited Jan 24, 2013 06:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kristen Thank you, Danielle.

I agree, sometimes (actually most of the time) a story is just a story. However, when I read this book it was placed in the Young Adult genre. This book is NOT YA. The content is waaay to mature. The author even stated that this book is not YA (it's now placed in the New Adult genre). Anyway, as a parent I had some difficulty reading this book because I kept think of the age group that could be reading it. Other than that, I had a great time in Travis and Abby's world. When you get the chance to read it, I look forward to reading your thoughts. ((hugs))

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I'm glad they have a new genre for these books that are about younger people but have more adult themes. I think for a parent, it makes it a lot better to vet books for your kids.

*Hugs back at you*

Kristen Exactly. :)

message 51: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen I got such a chuckle out of your review, Kristen. :-) Jolly good show!

Kristen I had fun writing this review and it's makes me smile when I read it. Lol. Thank you, Kathleen.

message 49: by Kathleen (last edited Jan 25, 2013 08:17AM) (new)

Kathleen Kristen wrote: "I had fun writing this review and it's makes me smile when I read it. Lol. Thank you, Kathleen."

Haha! Sounds like you had fun!

message 48: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda Grooms Great review Kristen! I felt like you really put into words how I felt when I read Beautiful Disaster. I read a lot of YA, and a lot of Romance, but though there were many ideas and behaviors in BD which I wouldn't support in reality, I was completely sucked into this story! I have read it three times since my initial reading last fall... That is not something I typically ever do, especially so soon. There were so many things wrong with this story that it just turned out perfectly right. I think no matter how unhealthy, most women fantasize about an all-consuming, all-encompassing love... This was what Beautiful Disaster provided. I for one am very happy for the experience.

Kristen Thank you, Amanda. I agree with everything you said. Beautiful Disaster is imperfectly perfect.

message 46: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Excellent review Kristen, It sounds like a REALLY GOOD book :-)

Kristen Kathleen wrote: "Excellent review Kristen, It sounds like a REALLY GOOD book :-)"

Thank you, Kathleen. Now you know what all the hype is about. Lol.

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