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Beautiful #1

Beautiful Disaster

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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.

432 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 26, 2011

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About the author

Jamie McGuire

46 books41.9k followers
Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She attended Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.

Jamie paved the way for the New Adult genre with the international bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Her follow-up novel, Walking Disaster, debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists in all four categories. Beautiful Oblivion, book one of the Maddox Brothers series, also topped the New York Times bestseller list, debuting at #1. In 2015, books two and three of the Maddox Brothers series, Beautiful Redemption and Beautiful Sacrifice, respectively, also topped the New York Times, as well as a Beautiful series novella, Something Beautiful. In 2016, Beautiful Burn made an appearance on the New York Times and USA Today, and was also named iBooks' Romance Book of the Year. The same year, A Beautiful Funeral also topped the New York Times bestseller list.

Novels also written by Jamie McGuire include: apocalyptic thriller and 2014 UtopYA Best Dystopian Book of the Year, Red Hill; the Providence series, a young adult paranormal romance trilogy; Apolonia, a dark sci-fi romance; and several novellas, including A Beautiful Wedding, Among Monsters, Happenstance: A Novella Series, and Sins of the Innocent.

Jamie is the first indie author in history to strike a print deal with retail giant Wal-Mart. Her self-published novel, Beautiful Redemption hit Wal-Mart shelves in September, 2015.

Jamie lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado with her husband, Jeff, and their three children.

Find Jamie at www.jamiemcguire.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Instagram.

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Profile Image for Sophia..
61 reviews2,579 followers
June 14, 2019
* Warning: If you're easily offended by cursing, and/or aggressivity, then don't FUCKING read this. *

I am literally losing it. This book contains one of the most disturbing scenes I have ever read in any book. EVER.
So here's one excerpt from the book.

Abby slept with Travis and left his apartment in the morning without saying goodbye. This is his reaction, a few hours later :

“Travis is a fucking wreck! He won’t talk to us, he’s trashed the apartment, threw the stereo across the room… Shep [roommate] can’t talk any sense into him! He took a swing at Shep when he found out we helped you leave. Abby! It’s scaring me! Abby, he’s gone fucking nuts! I heard him call your name, and then he stomped all over the apartment looking for you. He barged into Shep’s room, demanding to know where you were. Then he tried to call you. Over, and over and over,” she sighed. “His face was… Jesus, Abby. I’ve never seen him like that. He ripped his sheets off the bed, and threw them away, threw his pillows away, shattered his mirror with his fist, kicked his doorbroke it from the hinges! It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!


It's not okay it's not okay it's not okay it's NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOR. A few lines later, Abby calls him and everything's back to normal. NO. I'M SORRY BUT NO. YOU NEED TO STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM HIM!

Stalker :

A person obsessed with another to the point of insanity, I.E. following one everywhere, calling constantly, showing signs of irrational, sick and unhealthy behavior, that can sometimes lead to extreme violence.

It drives me insane to see how stalkerish behavior is considered as "hot". This book is really, really disturbing, and I don't understand how it could get published. I got 'til chapter 9 and basically I can't take it anymore.
The guy, Travis, suffers from very, very, VERY serious problems that should lead him straight into a shrink's office (if not prison). I'm serious.

Hey you girls, out there, who gave that book 5 stars, saying you want a Travis in your lives, in WHAT language do we have to tell you : it's NOT normal behavior!
And thank God that you haven't met a guy like him because then that would be fucking dramatic! Don't you understand how pathetic it is - all this characterization into unrealistic, hyper-sexualized, robotic male figures? These stories are all the fucking same!

The guy is drop dead gorgeous, he's dangerous, he's sexy, he wants you even if you're plain like hell and what he feels for you goes beyond words: Edward Cullen, Christian Grey, Patch Cipriano, Kellan Kyle, Travis Maddox, Damen Auguste or Dimitri Belikov, they're all the same!

Girls, NO ONE is going to want to watch you sleep, or forbid you to go visit your friends, or try to kill you because they love you so fucking much, because that's not what NORMAL people do!! If you ever have the misfortune to get involved with someone like that, GO FILE A FUCKING RESTRAINING ORDER already!

I find it appalling that young girls actually read this thinking this is exactly how they want to be treated like someday!
We're not pets! No fucking one in the world should be allowed to force you into behaving like a child!

And I'm also thinking about boys, they're not exactly the target audience but still; reading this must lead to wonder if this kind of behavior is what chicks like. It just spreads some sort of sickening message, "be aggressive, show your jealousy as well as the fact that she's yours, have no limits & be in control, use your strength to make a point, don't let her do what she wants because she doesn't really know what's good for her. You know better".

It's so hard to be a teenager, to try to find who you truly are, fiction that is destined to be read by young people has some kind of role, it should set examples instead of showing dysfunctional and extreme codependent relationships like they're normal, because they're not.

Hey! YOUNG. ADULTS. That means you're becoming a damn citizen, that you'll study, get to vote, graduate, get a job and make a living! How could you ever want someone to be that intrusive? To go as far as breaking your car down so you can't visit a friend?! (yes, Edward fucking Cullen I'm talking about you because YOU STARTED ALL THIS!)

Don't you realize it's an offense to your FREEDOM when a guy's literally forbidding you to get out of his house - even after you've asked him to let you go? When he's dragging you out of the car because you're making out with someone - all this when you're not even involved with him? When he's making you feel like shit because you're seeing someone else?

In fact, I won't even get started on all the stupid reactions of Abby. What kind of girl dates a sweet guy and then goes sleeping in another man's bed every night, when she HAS a choice ? She's just a (stupid, lying and masochist) tease.

Then she encourages Travis to beat the shit out of someone in the middle of the cafeteria? Seriously? Just because someone whistles at her or something, she says like "Teach him some manners!", and Travis throws himself on the man. Jesus, HONESTLY are you a beast or something? The poor guy ends up curled up in fetal position, covered in blood and unable to move.

WTF? How can you stand this? No really, how can you read this? How can you accept it? Where is your sense of civility, or your instinct of protection towards the human kind? How come no one in the cafeteria stands up and tries to stop this? Easy answer. Because everyone is fucking terrified to get hurt! Like that's normal!

It scares the shit out of me to see that some people are able to read such violence and yet remain flippant and oh-so-casual like it's no big deal. It makes me wonder, if they ever witness a real beat-up, would they react? Would they care? Or has modern entertainment succeeded in making all forms of abuse look so cavalier that it doesn't shock anyone anymore?..

Travis kept opening the door when Abby was with her date on the porch late at night, or coming in the bathroom when she was taking a shower, refusing to get out, and generally being so nosy it was a shocking wonder how NO ONE told him to fuck off! And that bitch didn't even say ANYTHING!

It's so genuinely dangerous when a guy's emotionally abusing/blackmailing you, or yelling at you for not obeying him, or trying to manipulate you! It is BUT romantic ! I don't give a damn whether the guy's a vampire, or an angel, or a fucking rock star, or if it was a bet or not, it's just NOT okay!

How could violence keep being depicted as something acceptable - let alone romantic? They're at a party and he hits a boy who TOUCHES her ARM. Honestly! It's not a game! And she keeps forgiving him, every single time.

How do you think real abusive relationships start? What do you think are the profiles of the men who end up beating up their wives and/or showing extreme paranoiac behavior? ("Did you just look at that guy? Did you fuck him? Are you cheating on me? Don't you lie to me, bitch. I can see it in your eyes!" This is how it ends, people.)

You just wait a couple of years, Abby. Just wait until he loses it, AGAIN, and ends up taking a fucking swing at you.

Again, awfully stupid and arrogant Abby stays at Travis's apartment and she sleeps in his bed because she doesn't really have a choice. Fine. But the guy's bringing chicks in the living room, having a big loud threesome.. And one day later, he takes Abby's hand, acts all warm and fuzzy, saying stuff like "You're better than this [I'm not fucking you like I fuck the rest of 'em], that's why I treat you different, don't you ever get near boys or I swear I'll destroy them." He even says "I'll end up in prison if I hear you slept with someone else". When you read something like that your fucking alarm must spark off! I don't know what to say anymore because honestly I feel like I shouldn't even have to say all this in the first place. This should be like, SURVIVAL INSTINCT.

What is this message that's conveyed? Should we girls be standing on the corner, watching our love interest that pretendedly loves us fuck his brains out with the whole planet and calmly stating "I can deal with his behavior because, well, he's really hot"? Or because he's so romantic that he managed to nickname her after the most stupid volatile on earth, a.k.a Pidgeon?


Why would you want to lock yourself up in some scary relationship where in the end, you just lose everything; your independence, as well as your right to have a life that doesn't exclusively revolves around him? Why would you want to give up your liberty as an individual in order to be so tied up with your love interest that you can't even breathe on your own?

(And for those who pretendedly realized that it wasn't healthy, but yet managed to like the book anyway: why would you want to witness such a relationship? What's the pleasure in contemplating two people who never, ever realize how deep they've fallen into violence and abuse?)


I don't care whether Travis (supposedly) changes at the end of the book. I don't care for his pseudo redemption and/or efforts. What matters are the facts, here and now, that Abby acknowledges them while they're horrible and still manages to stay with Travis.

I couldn't finish the fucking book because I was feeling sick to my stomach - and I insist on saying the characterization of the love story was goddamn awful and should never be seen as something okay. So do you honestly think I care when you say I should have finished it before writing all this? Give me a fucking break. I have witnessed abusive relationships in real life; this book depicts the beginning of one, and the memories alone are enough to make me wanna puke. I sure as hell won't force myself to undergo the whole 400 pages.

Besides, I read on some reviews that (spoilers):

* At some point he won't let her get out of the apartment because he thinks her clothes aren't appropriate enough. Therefore he forces her to change.
Okay. May I send you back to the "This is not okay behavior" part of the review?

* They get married at Las Vegas (at 19).

* That after him getting an "Abby" tattoo, she gets one too that reads "Mrs Maddox".

I'd like to talk about this for a second. I'm a firm believer that you can love someone in an unconditional way without having to show it with material proofs. Marriage and tattoos? What is this? Travis unexpectedly got an "Abby" tattoo, without warning her, without considering the consequences of such an act (but I guess I'm asking too much from him, considering he's got tribal tattoos all over his body).
Anyway, Travis emotionally challenged her, and so she got one too. Again, what is this? A leash that she will never, ever be able to free herself from? What if their relationship doesn't last? What if they get a divorce? Basically, until the day she dies, she will look at her skin and remember that at some point in her life, she chose to mark herself not as a person, but as a wife. As someone's something. And that's just terrible.

So. *Breathe*. In my humble opinion, I think it is better that I just don't finish it. Like, ever.

I'm writing all this because I feel so MAD about this book. Women fought and still fight every day so we can be treated as equals and not as objects. I'm not going to sit still and pretend this book didn't horrify me. Because it did. It fucking did, big time.

Also believe it or not but I'm not doing this to tear the author down, I don't really care about her, my review isn't about her but about the book. It's nothing personal, I respect her as a human being. I just feel very sorry for the messages she conveys through this everything but Beautiful Disaster.

*** EDIT#2: : Yeah, so. About that. There seems to be some kind of Reviewers VS Authors movement here on Goodreads (but also on Amazon, Twitter, etc.).
Since the author of Beautiful Disaster made me be a part of it, I've decided to join here two links. The first one is a blog post, written by author Hannah Moskowvitz. Check it out, it's really good. Second one, written by Nafiza, on her blog. And I have one thing to say: you go, girl.

*** EDIT#3: : One more, because McGuire just doesn't know how to let it go.

*** EDIT#4: : Yes, I know this is way too long already but I wanted to add something. For the trolls who've been telling me for the past fucking year that this is just fiction: not only do you come off as stupidly paradoxical for being on Goodreads in the first place, because it's a website for people who feel passionate about books, but you're also wrong. When you read a book for entertainment purposes only, you're relaxed and receptive, almost vulnerable, as unconsciously, you assume that what you're reading is okay and right (otherwise it wouldn't be published, would it?) Therefore you don't really pay attention to the real meaning behind what you're reading. After all, "It's just a book", right? Wrong. Sometimes you have to wake up, and realize that what you're reading is in reality a dangerous stinking piece of shit. Yes, it's a book, but young girls read this and unconsciously absorb the messages that are being sent, and then it has an impact on the way they carry out their personal lives, without even realizing that stupid books like this one contributed to giving her a black eye and pushing her down the stairs. Because they've been reading about that "hot" behavior for so long, they've been sexualizing it and they've been associating it with good looks, and of course, with the ultimate perfect happy ending. In reality, it doesn't work like that. You can't change someone who's damaged and unstable just because you love them, no matter what the books try to tell you. Don't waste your time trying.

And the fact that Travis Maddox is described as being extremely hot is a manipulation that tries to trick you into thinking that if it's beautiful, then it must be good. Think about that: a weird, ugly guy who follows you around and destroys his apartment because you didn't pick up your phone wouldn't be hot, it'd be creepy as fuck. And that's what I'm asking you now: try to think beyond the "good looks" (and the sugarcoating that goes with it) that the medias are trying to feed you, and just think by yourself. By the way, it also leads to fucking idiotic bitches who tweet about how they wouldn't mind being beaten up by Chris Brown because he's so hot. What the fuck? There aren't enough words to say how wrong this is. What do I care, you say? I care because I'm a woman and reading this makes me ashamed.

Wake the fuck up, girls, and never accept being treated like that. You are an individual, you are important and you matter. Your decisions will have impacts. You deserve so much better than someone like this Travis-fucking-asshole. Let him go die in a fucking hole and go lead your own life like the independent and free person you are. And please, destroy the person who will so much as try to tell you otherwise.

Finally, last but not least. Due to some comments, it feels like it's time to clarify some stuff.

If this review pissed you off, or offended you, you should know that I don't give a shit about, well, what you think. If this is about my swearing, or my aggressivity, you were warned from the very first line and I don't have anything to say to you about it. You knew it was a 1 star rating so basically, no one forced you to read but yourself. Get over it and move on. Simple as.

And I know I mentioned the 5 stars ratings girls and all, but really it was just semantics, don't feel like you should comment my review to express your disagreement or your undying love for Travis, cause whatever you say, it won't change the way I feel. I mean it, don't comment. Because I don't give a fuck about what you have to say! Unless it is interesting, of course. But if you’re here to defend the psychopath and try to explain how in the end the relationship comes full circle, or why his unacceptable behavior is only masculine and protective, please SAVE YOUR TIME. (And mine).

Obviously, we won't get along and if you can't understand what I'm trying to say then it's fine, keep loving Eclipse and Blood Promise and Hush Hush, I mean, it's cool. Honestly, I'm serious, tastes and perceptions and ideals are all different and I don't have a say in this, and neither do you. So, well, you can just save your time with the comments. And fuck off already. Thank you.
Profile Image for Lucy.
102 reviews1,813 followers
December 5, 2013

Beautiful Disaster opens up at night in the basement of an empty academic building on a college campus where a fighting/betting ring known as The Circle is being run. This is where we meet Travis 'Mad Dog' Maddox, the male romantic lead. He, of course, wins his fight. The female lead, Abby, is attending the fight club for the first time that night. She ends up with blood on her cashmere sweater and a new name given to her by Travis, who doesn't even bother to ask for her name before arbitrarily deciding on 'Pigeon.' It is the way one might rename a dog one has adopted.

We meet Travis again in the cafeteria. He is being "followed by two voluptuous bottle-blondes wearing Sigma Kappa tees. One of them sat on Travis' lap, the other sat beside him, pawing at his shirt." Abby's best friend America, who also happens to be dating Travis's cousin and roommate, makes a snide comment. One of the blonde's calls her a skank. Travis "lets his knees give way, sending her tumbling to the floor" because America is his friend. This little interlude sets up two major reoccurring issues: girl on girl hate and Travis treating girls like garbage to step over. Every girl in the book except for Abby and America is a skank, a bitch or a bitchy skank. As for Travis, this incident of deliberately humiliating a girl in public and dropping her on the floor like the used condom wrapper she represents to him is actually as close to a gentleman as he ever gets because this is one of the mildest examples of his behavior.

After lunch, Travis and Abby conveniently have a class together although they seemed to have seen each other for the first time at the fight last night. Whatever, get used to this author making up shit as she goes along and writing inconsistently from start to finish. I can give you a list of minor (yet annoying) continuity issues in the comment section below if asked.

Travis fixates on Abby and sits beside her, leaving disappointed girls by his usual seat. He indicates she should take notes for him and spends the rest of the class zoned out. Never fear though! Travis is a freaking genius. He doesn't need notes or studying or attending classes to ace the grades. On a similar note, he also does not need to eat healthy or exercise to maintain his muscle mass and six pack! I'm sorry, but every guy I've talked to with a body like Travis's could go on extensively about his diet and workout regime. We don't have to worry about believability in this world because despite the lack of traditional fantasy markings nothing about this book remotely resembles reality. In this world, control and abuse can turn into a happily ever after.

With minimal effort Travis pesters Abby into agreeing to come to his apartment after school with her friend America, who is there often to see her own boyfriend, Shepley, Travis's cousin. She agrees and then attempts to dress in the most disgusting way possible: "My hair was piled on top of my head in a messy bun. I had scrubbed the makeup from my face and repalced my contacts with rectangular black-rimmed glasses. Sporting a ratty t-shirt and sweatpants, I shuffles along in a pair of flip flops." I'll hold on while you get your favorite religious artifact to hold off this monster. This description pretty much matches me at the moment on my day off. Rawr.

Anyway, Travis is not put off by this visual and decides to drag her out to dinner, which he *gasp* never does with the girls he sleeps with. Abby's friend America is the least helpful person when it comes to rejecting Travis's unwanted advances.

"I was just heading out for dinner. You hungry, Pidge?" (We still have no idea why he's calling her this.)
"I already ate," I shrugged.
(Dialogue is routinely shrugged and smiled rather than spoken.)
"No you haven't," America said before realizing her mistake. "Oh...er...that's right, I forgot you grabbed a... pizza? Before we left."

I can't even tell you how much trouble my friend would be in if she did that to me. Still crappy friend aside, no one forces Abby to go with Travis, no one forces her to get on the back of her motorcycle. She does all of these things despite being extremely uncomfortable around him because Abby is an idiot. During dinner Travis opens up to her about his dead mother and they connect a bit. So much so that he insists on sitting beside her the next day at lunch by bullying someone else out of an already occupied chair. And it is bullying. He does not ask for the chair so much as claims it already belongs to him (much like Abby) and then he stares the guy down until he moves. Abby is pleased with the attention and the girls looking at her to see who Travis insisted on sitting beside.

The next big plot movement involves broken boilers in America and Abby's dorm room. America's solution is that they move in with Shep and Travis until they fix the boilers. What... the hell? I can't comprehend how moving off campus to be near hot water could possibly be more convenient than living on campus and heading to an off campus apartment once a day for a shower. Really, you're not supposed to be thinking this much, but since Abby protests vehemently before capitulating you do get a lot of time to think about what a stupid idea this is. I would have preferred a day of skipping a shower or a cold shower to living with someone who made me uncomfortable.

Abby and America arrive at the apartment just as Travis's latest fling(?) is getting ready to leave. She offers him her number and he declines in front of an audience of two other girls and his roommate, letting her know exactly what she means. They're not a silent audience either: "Every time!" America said. She looked at the woman. "How are you surprised by this? He's Travis fucking Maddox! He's famous for this very thing, and every time they're surprised!"

America's boyfriend must comfort her after she delivers this tirade even though the girl she insinuated was, at best, naive and, at worse, stupid is still standing there. Abby is not pleased with all of this because she didn't realize "Shepley's apartment was a revolving door for clueless bimbos." I love how other girls in this book are treated. It's just fantastic. My favorite is Abby calling the girls Travis sleeps with STD infested imbeciles.

Abby "stared at the couch, the cushions still askew and bunched up from its recent use. I recoiled at the thought of how many women had given themselves away against the fabric. Itchy fabric at that." Nice, right? Nothing about Travis or how he treated them, just the awful, dirty sexually active girls.

Abby decides she can't possibly sleep on the couch so Travis offers her his bed. He does not fuck girls in there. This speaks volumes about how he views women, good enough for his dick, not good enough for his sheets. I'll kill the suspense here. He sleeps with her in his bed, but not before he keeps wandering in and out of the bathroom while she's showering!

He brings her a towel and her toothbrush while she's showering and then ignores her shrieks at him to get out. He does not knock before entering the bathroom nor did he announce himself. He just opens the door and makes himself at home. It's creepy. He brings her stuff in, which means he went through her bags. She shrieks about him going through her stuff and he ignores her, not offering an excuse or apology. She shrieks at him to get out again and he insists he has to brush her teeth all while she's naked on the other side of the curtain. It's all invasive, scary, and the start of a very alarming and controlling relationship.

I wouldn't have finished showering. I would have gotten dressed, soapy hair and all, before heading back to my home. Abby, who has stood in the shower with her arms wrapped defensively around her chest listening to him brush his teeth, gets out of the shower and SMILES at the night moisturizer Travis brought her while violating her privacy and personal space. Vomit. Vomit. Vomit.

During Abby and America's long stay with Travis and Shepley (seriously, the campus couldn't open another dorm building for them to shower in?), they all go to a bar together. In an attempt to prove they're not sleeping together to the rest of the school Travis and Abby dance together? I don't get the logic there. Anyway he licks her throat. She is not happy. He's mad she's not happy and grinds up on some other girl. She flirts with the bartender, but Travis puts a swift stop to that! Because the guy is a rapist! He's been arrested for it and Travis knows all about it! Thank God for Travis. Thank God for his instructions not to take drinks from anyone but him and his cousin, because they treat girls with all the respect in the world and are the most upstanding citizens to take drinks from. Vomit. Vomit. Vomit.

They are still a foursome when Travis gets called for another fight. He asks Abby to go with him. America gives her non-Abbyish clothes to wear (a deep cut, yellow halter top and tight, low-rise jeans). Travis takes one look at her and DEMANDS she change.

Travis's mouth fell open. "Oh, hell no. Are you trying to get me killed? You've gotta change, Pidge."
"What?" I asked, looking down.
America grabbed her hips. "She looks cute, Trav, leave her alone!"
Travis took my hands and led me down the hall. "Get a t-shirt on... and some sneakers. Something comfortable."
"What? Why?"
"Because I'll be more worried about who's looking at your tits in that shirt instead of Hoffman," he said, stopping at his door.
"I thought you said you didn't give a damn what anyone else thought?"
"That's a different scenario, Pigeon." Travis looked down at my chest and then up at me. "You can't wear this to a fight, so please... just... please just change," he stuttered, shoving me into the room and shutting me in.

Abby gets changed.

Then she gets on his stupid motorcycle again while he drives dangerously. When they get there, Travis claims he can go his entire fight without getting hit. Abby calls bullshit. Travis offers to make a bet. He won't sleep with anyone for a month if he gets hit. If he doesn't get hit she has to continue living with him in his apartment for a month. I don't even have words to express how I felt when this stupid girl took this stupid bet, but she does. Travis wins. She must live with him. I think when you take away someone's constant choice to be with you then it becomes skeevy.

Shepley gets angry at Abby for the agreement because she promised not to get involved with Travis. Whenever Travis screws around with the best friend of the girl he's dating it ends badly for him. Of course, he doesn't fight with Travis or demand promises of Travis, no he screams at the girl. Abby insists there's nothing sexual between them and that there never will be. Travis comes out of the shower during all her insisting and gets annoyed. As revenge he goes to a bar, comes home at two AM with not one but two girls. He goes into the room where Abby is sleeping, fishes through his bedside table for some condoms and heads back out into the living room to have a threesome. She sits there listening to him giggling and moaning etc because she can't leave the bedroom without walking through the living room where his little threesome is going on. When he's finished, he kicks the girls out, and he gets back in bed with her reeking of whiskey.

She gets out of bed, steps over condom wrappers and sleeps on the reclining chair. In the morning, America acts like a real friend for the first time and packs Abby's things to take her home. Even Shepley is contrite. Travis wanders in during this conversation, having already been out to buy all of Abby's favorite foods for the month she will be staying with him. I'm going to pause and say gifts after emotional or physical abuse are part of a pretty common cycle. Abby stays because Abby is an idiot who insists a bet is a bet. Travis apologizes and hedges around letting her out of the bet. When Abby indicates it is the only thing keeping her there he holds her to it.

While she's living with Travis, Abby starts a tentative relationship with a boy named Parker who seems pretty decent. Travis responds as one might expect even though he has made no real romantic gesture towards Abby when she leaves a party with Parker.

He leaned in, seeming flustered. "I'll kill him if he touches you."
"I like him," I said, emphasizing each word.
He seemed stunned at my confession and then his features turned severe. "Fine. If he ends up holding you down in the backseat of a car, don't come crying to me."

Convenient how every guy except Travis is a rapist. Of course, Parker is not really a rapist. Travis is just insinuating it to scare Abby into going home with him. Because Travis is the safe choice. Vomit. Vomit. Vomit.

Parker behaves like a gentleman, kissing her cheek goodnight. Travis is waiting so close to the door that he opens it before she can push which causes her to fall in. He does this just about every time she goes on a date with Parker. The only exception, I believe, was when he drunkenly went down to the car where they were kissing and pulled her out of it.

The wheels of Parker's shiny Porsche squealed out of the parking lot, and Travis lit a cigarette. "You can go inside now, Mare."
She tugged on my skirt. "C'mon, Abby."
"Why don't you stay, Abs," he seethed.
I nodded for America to go ahead and she reluctantly complied. I crossed my arms, ready for a fight, preparing myself to lash out at him after the inevitable lecture. Travis took several drags from his cigarette, and when it was obvious that he wasn't going to explain my patience ran out.
"Why did you do that?" I asked.
"Why? Because he was mauling you in front of my apartment!" he yelled. His eyes were unfocused, and I could see he was incapable of rational conversation.
I kept my voice calm. "I may be staying with you, but what I do, and who I do it with is my business."
(good for you, Abby!)
He flicked his cigarette to the ground. "You're so much better than that, Pidge. Don't let him fuck you in a car like a cheap prom date."
"I wasn't going to have sex with him!"
(so much for it being her business.)

More vomit inducing craziness in which Abby accuses him of spying on her. He tells her he doesn't want to know about when she sleeps with Parker. She says that would be a big step for her. He says that's what all girls say. Abby says, "I don't mean the sluts you deal with! I mean me! I haven't... ugh! Nevermind."

Yes, she's a virgin so she really is different from all the sluts he slept with! Ugh is right. I think waiting for someone you're really comfortable with and really in love with is a good thing, but I also never felt superior to girls who felt differently about it. The girl on girl hate in this book is ridiculous.

After Travis humiliates Abby in front of her date, intimidates and threatens her date until he leaves, and laughs with delight and relief over her virginity he then attempts to drunkenly seduce her. Abby goes along with it. (This is where I felt a migraine coming on). The seduction stops because Travis doesn't want it to be like that between them. Lovely that the drunk Neanderthal calls all the shots.

I'm only at thirty percent of the book here and I only have 25% of the room left to review so I'm going to start doing some heavy condensing.

Creepy Things Travis Does:
1. He buys Abby a puppy for her birthday to keep at his apartment so that she will always have to come back.
2. He beats his friends to a bloody pulp in the school cafeteria for making sexual innuendos about Abby. In reality he would've got tasered by security. After several incidents he would've been kicked out of the university, but don't worry about reality in this book.
3. He lets Parker and the rest of the school believe he's sleeping with Abby to chase him away.
4. He refuses to allow Abby out of the bet even though he is strangling her healthy relationship with Parker.
5. Immediately after Abby and Travis sleep together he calls himself her last first kiss then he destroys the apartment and rages at Shepley and America for helping her leave when his words creeps her out.
6. After only a few weeks, he tattoos "Pigeon" on his wrist and a long Hebrew scripture quote about belonging to your beloved and your beloved belonging to you. Never has the word 'belonging' seemed so threatening.
7. Screams at her for accepting a drink from another guy because it could have roofies in it and besides, she's HIS GIRL, HE will buy her drinks. NO ONE ELSE.
8. Punches a guy who is touching her while her face is inches away from the guy's face.
9. Stalks her after a break up. Lies to his family about them still being together. Manipulates her into pretending to still be a couple so she'll cook dinner Thanksgiving dinner for his family. Kisses and has sex with her even though he's promised he wouldn't cross those lines again. (I'm not absolving Abby of her stupidity here either.)
10. Stalks her some more. Drags guys away from dancing with her. Threatens their lives if they go near her. Tosses her over his shoulder and drags her out of a party. Demands a designated driver take them to his apartment, drags her kicking and screaming out of the driver's car, tosses her in his apartment. Somehow they end up having sex. Don't fucking ask me. It grossed me out -- I can't stomach re-reading it.

Awful Plot Devices:
1. Zac Effron sing along. I read in another review that Travis had the charm to pull off a Zac Effron sing along. I thought this was meant to be an exaggerated comparison... it was not. He sings Rolling Stone's (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction in the school cafeteria with the football players as back up singers. This is really not a joke.
2. A trip to Vegas where Travis fights to win money so Abby can pay the debt her big time gambling father has transfered to her. Oh, did I not mention she is the daughter of a famous poker player?
3. Travis getting offered $100,000 per fight to continue fighting in Vegas. He decides to take the offer despite Abby's protests and then is shocked and a rage maniac when she breaks up with him because of it, despite knowing she wanted nothing to do with that lifestyle
4. A basement fire at fight club bought on by gas lanterns. Because people really use those anymore.
Don't worry! Everyone important lives. Because this is reality.
5. Abby proposes, they go to Vegas again to get married, she gets a tattoo that reads Mrs. Maddox and mentally refers to it as a brand several times.

Real Ways this Book Could Have Ended in Order to be Realistic and Send a Message:
1. Travis kills Abby in a drunken fit of rage over something she's wearing, saying, and/or doing. Travis spends the rest of his life in jail.
2. Travis kills some guy for interacting with Abby in a way he deems inappropriate. Travis spends the rest of his life in jail and either A. Abby visits him twice a week for the rest of her life or B. The guy's death serves as a wake up call for Abby and she spends the rest of her life far, far away.
3. Travis kills Abby and some guy in a drunken rage because he preceived a threat. Travis spends the rest of his life in jail.

I don't believe Travis is smart enough to get away with any of the murders because he usually doesn't see any reason to hide his awful behavior. He does everything in front of many, many witnesses every single time.


I purchased this book several months ago because I planned on reading a lot of self-published books in 2012 as a reading project. I purchased it before I read the author's blog post berating negative reviewers. I would not have purchased the book had the post happened before the purchase.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Angela.
675 reviews1,395 followers
August 22, 2023
Goodreads actually deleted my review. SO had to find my old blog and repost this since I heard it’s becoming a movie….

I haven't been this pissed off reading a book since Bad Romeo. Beautiful Disaster was a cluster eff of a read managing to throw everything I hate in a book into one novel.
My first issue with this book are the characters. Our leading lady is Abby Abernathy. Then there's our leading man Travis Maddox. I can capture my feels for both of them at the same time. I HATE THEM!!! I CAN'T STAND THEM!!!! Actually that really undersells how I feel towards them but whatever. Abby is DUMB! there's is no other word I can use to describe her. I have never wanted to tear a characters hair out more than hers. She is such a plain character that turns out to be more boring than watching paint dry. It's clear that the writer wanted to make it out to be that Abby would be this special snowflake but it was the fail of fails. Her sub story is that she comes from this terrible up-bringing... Even though the premise behind her tale was set up to be a success it too failed! This brings me to Travis... Oh God I don't even know where to start with this this Patrick Bateman in training. This boy was two shakes of lambs tail away from cutting Abby up and making her into a skin suit. I would gladly let "Mr. Grey see me now" than let him touch me with a ten foot pole. He is creepy, abusive, controlling, scary, unattractive, cocky, and bizarre. This dude is beyond unstable. I also imagine him to be a mouth breather so that just adds to the growing list of reason I hated him. McGuire writes it so that Travis is this womanizing-college frat-man whore. Girls vagina literately bust out of their pants every time they see him. This causing me to roll my eyes so hard that they almost dislodged from my head!

This leads me to problem two and three with this book. Maybe it's just me (doubtful but maybe) but if I was about to hook up with a dude and I opened his besides table and there was an endless amount of condoms and KY Jelly I would fly out of that room so fast that boy would think he was Dorthy... And if that didn't make up my mind then the fact that he brings home not one, but TWO girls and sleeps with them in the living room while I'M IN HIS BED! would of had me never ever speaking to him again. NO GIRL IN HER RIGHT MIND WOULD HAVE SWEPT THAT UNDER THE RUG! The scene made me want to vomit then drink the cleaning products under my sink. Travis has major bipolar, drinking, jealousy, and personality issues. Travis also manages to keep Jesus abs the whole time without ever working out... HA NO!

My fourth issue is the "love triangle"... It slightly reflected the same way the one from Twilight did, as in it was pointless. You never once think that Bella's not going to choose Edward. Never once did you think. "Wow Jacob might actually win the girl", No! that doesn't happen! Why this B would choose the travesty that is Travis over the handsome pre-doctor gentlemen is beyond me... Again Maybe that's just me. On to issue five, NO GUY NO GUY EVER!!!! WITH ANY AMOUNT OF PRIDE, STANDARDS, OR EVEN ONE WITH HALF A BRAIN WOULD LET THE GIRL THEY ARE COURTING SLEEP IN THE BED WITH ANOTHER MAN. You're telling me that you still want to take this girl on a date even though she is living with another man and laying in bed with him every night (no the pre-doc wasn't clueless to these acts)?!?!?! YOU STILL THOUGHT SHE'D END UP WITH YOU?!?! Please GTFOOH! No, there's no way I'm believing this. I also don't believe Abby could be dangling these two dudes by their balls when they both openly know she is bouncing between them like that white ball in a game of pong. Nope, again I just can't!

My sixth issue is the plot. It's all over the place. It's one spotty scene after another of Travis trying to dick measure with any and every guy. Once I heard this dude had tribal tattoos and was in an underground fight club (did I fail to mention this, YEAH HE IS IN A POOR EXCUSE FOR A FIGHT CLUB!!!) I should have known to put this book down... HMMMM TRAVIS I HATE TO BREAK IT TOO YOU BUT YOU ARE NO BRAD PITT. I also struggled to remember if this was high school or college... They had a set freaking lunch time!!! Did no one else catch that?! Oh and the fact that Travis kept beating the snot out of people with NO repercussions! WHERE THE EFF WAS THE PRINCIPAL DEAN??? OH and don't get me started on the whole high-school musical sing along thing. (Seriously, what the hell did I just read?) No just No!

My seventh and I think final issue (JK I could probably go on for days) with this book are the sub-characters. America is the worst best friend in history of friends. Shep is the worst family member in the history of the world. The only character that I thought made any sense was Kara!! She was the only character I liked. I kept screaming "THANK YOU!" every time she spoke!

"Do you know what codependency is, Abby? Your boyfriend is a prime example, which is creepy considering he went from having no respect for women at all to thinking he needs you to breathe."

Why Abby kept blowing her off also blew my mind. There were just so many things I couldn't get behind. I know that the great part about books are that they can be anything. That they can go anywhere real or unrealistic. But this was just to far from either. I just can't really get over how much I disliked everything about this book. The characters, weak. The plot, weaker. The romance, the weakest.

Whatever. I'm so over this.

update: people were telling me to watch the movie because it better then the book…. I’m here to tell you ITS NOT. It might even be worse. Didn’t think it was possible. But here we are.
Profile Image for Kiki.
194 reviews8,528 followers
October 9, 2019
I read this book on an 8-hour flight from London to Toronto. This book and I spent 8 hours together, in coach seating, with nothing to do but surrender to the impossibility of escape. There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, and this book caught me. It caught me like Slenderman in a dark forest.

I will proceed to chronicle my transition from literature enthusiast to broken shell of a woman below.

Beautiful Disaster: A hallmark of passive aggressive literature that is secretly at home in the apocalyptic genre

Take off: My spirits are high. The first page is fine. Laughing at the ridiculous character names, but reminding self that neither "America" or "Shepley" is as bad as "Eureka Boudreaux".

Hour one: Surprised by route taken by book. There appears not to be instalove, which really shouldn't be surprising, given the nature of the absolutely nauseating love interest.

Love triangle is dire, like watching three stray dogs attempt to hump each other at the park. And why is Travis even in this fraternity, since he's constantly beating up his frat brothers? No one called the cops on his ass? Also, aggressive misogyny abounds: every woman except Abby who shows interest in Travis is a bimbo or a slut. Of course, Travis engaging in promiscuous behaviour is fine because he's "troubled". (And a man!)

Hour two: I'm waning. Abby and Travis revolve around each other like the doors at M&S, meanwhile the entire college zeroes in on them as if they're the only thing keeping the moon in orbit.

"A really popular creep is in love with me," Abby says, in front of her adoring audience. "But we're just friends. Whatever. I don't let it go to my head."

Hour three: Cabin fever sets in. The book and I stare each other down, with the seatbelt sign looming over our heads as a hellish omen sent to warn us of the impending five hours of the journey, in which we will remain locked in a turbulence-fuelled death grip at 40,000 feet. Determined not to succumb, I throw the book under the seat and watch Oz, The Great and Powerful. Dreadful movie. I'm losing the will to live.

Book finds its way back into my hands. I open it and go hard at it, determined to finish it in the next three hours. I read another hundred or so pages filled with nothing but belly button fluff, and then the proverbial towel is thrown in again.

(Bonus points for Travis trashing the apartment like a fucking gorilla in heat after Abby leaves in the morning without saying goodbye. Bonus bonus points for having Abby apologize for his deplorable behaviour.)

Hour four: Abby and Travis break up because Travis wants to join the mob (???). I am losing touch with reality.

Hour five: Hilarity ensues when one realises that Abby and Travis have broken up but Travis is stuck with "Pigeon" tattooed on his wrist.

Hour six: The plane has entered Canada and the end of the longest flight in history appears to be in sight. However, the ordeal continues. I have seen the face of evil.

Hour seven: Subplots appear and disappear like planes over the Bermuda Triangle. My resolve is waning. There are tears in my eyes.

Hour eight: Travis and Abby are married (!!!) in Vegas (!!!) at nineteen years old (!!!) which I suppose is meant to be a happy ending. But there is only cheese, cheese everywhere. I am drowning in it, but when the pilot announces that landing will commence in fifteen minutes, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. My limp, defeated, nearly gangrenous body begins to come alive. It is almost over.

Landing: A tsunami of relief washes over me. I arrive home, go to bed, and do not awaken for eleven hours.

In conclusion: this book is not beautiful. This book is just a disaster.

Profile Image for Shelly Crane.
Author 34 books5,819 followers
December 5, 2013
I'm not sure what to write about this book. The reviews for the book were SOOO incredibly misleading. I thought Travis was going to hit her, or come close, the way everyone was going on about the 'abuse' in the book. I get it, it was intense. But having seen real abuse with my own eyes, in real life..I didnt understand what everyone else saw that made it be worse and stand apart from all other books.

This is a book about an alpha male. Just because it's not a paranormal book and instead, a contemporary, it's not ok for him to act like that? I'm a pretty (very) conservative person and I've read paranormal books where the guys act worse than that.

Abby was the one who got on my nerves the most throughout the book for jerking Travis around all the time.

It's a book, and only a book, and I enjoyed it. I think I'll stop reading reviews before I read a book. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don't want to deterred from a book again. I want to make my own decision. :) And in my opinion, I LOVED Travis!

Great book, Jamie. Life is not roses all the time and everybody can change.
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
December 5, 2013
Nope. Can't do it. It's just too horrible. I've reached my max saturation point of stupidity.
88 reviews1,108 followers
August 5, 2016

Shake in your boots,boys,and drop your panties,ladies!

I give you : Travis 'Mad Dog' Maddox!

"He made his entrance,shirtless,relaxed and unaffected.The lean muscles stretched under his tattooed skin."

Okay ladies,here we go.1,2,3 and....S.W.O.O.N!!

"He oozed sex and rebelliousness with his buzzed,brown hair and tattooed forearms."

Uh-oh boy!!Here go my ovaries!!


Can I get pregnant from this?


Okay,now the storyline!!

Abby Abernathy has a secret.She has a past.A dark past.And to escape it all,she makes a new beginning at Eastern University,with her best friend America.

"I could finally walk somewhere without the whispers of those who knew-or thought they knew-anything about my past.I was as indistinguishable as any other wide-eyed,over-achieveing freshman on their way to class; no staring,no rumors,no pity or judgement.Only the illusion of what I wanted them to see:Cashmered,no-nonsense Abby Abernathy."

Okay,I'll be truthful and tell you that I have no special love for her.Now,coming back to the story,America has a new boyfriend Shepley.He takes them watch a ring fight.

And there Readers,we are first introduced to Travis,room-mate and cousin of Shepley.

He can't be beaten.

He can't be ignored.

He never backs down from a challenge.

He is a walking one-night stand.

Ladies....he is UNTAMABLE.

Now,I wish I could tell only good things but it won't be fair if I don't tell that he is also.....

A jerk,temperamental,impulsive,has anger-management issues,immature,at times downright stupid,and also has a little stalkerish tendencies!!

Now,Abby's whole life goes topsy-turvy when she becomes Travis's Pigeon.

Their attraction is instant.But Abby is not ready to become yet another conquest.And Travis is not ready to back down from such a refreshing challenge.

"So what's your story,Pidge?Are you a man-hater in general,or do you just hate me?"

"I think it's just you.....I didn't say you're a bad person.I just don't like being a foregone conclusion for the sole reason of having a vagina."

His eyes widened and he quivered with howling laughter."Oh My God!You are killing me.That's it.We have to friends.I won't take no for an answer."

That marks the start of their friendship.

But are they destined to be just friends or something else,something more?

Readers,they are insane together.They are out of control.

"It's dangerous to need someone that much.You're trying to save him and he's hoping you can.You two are a disaster."

I smiled at the ceiling."It doesn't matter what or why it is.When it's good,Kara...it's beautiful."

So together they are... BEAUTIFUL DISASTER!!

Now you must be wondering 'Why 3 stars then?'

Read on for that...but only if you have read this book!!



I'll say once again--Please do NOT read this if you have not read this book already!!

Okay,my greatest complaint about this book was...

SENSE...the plots one after the other made none after sometime.

I was actually loving and enjoying this book when I watched in horror the events unfold.

How could Abby not know that Travis was in love with her??I don't blame her for trying to keep Travis only as a friend.

But HOW could she sleep with him and then LEAVE him???

And she accepted to go on a date with Parker that very day.

And after that....

"You're going out with him tonight?" Travis seethed.

"I told you he was going to ask me out after I got back to Morgan.He called me yesterday."

"Things have changed a little bit since that conversation,don't you think?"


Why?WHY??Because you slept with him even though you knew you were leaving and he's crazy about you!!!

I stood my ground,staring straight into his eyes."Since when is sex so life or death to you?"

And Travis...

"Travis is a fucking wreck! He won’t talk to us, he’s trashed the
apartment, threw the stereo across the room.Shep can’t talk any sense into him! He took a swing at Shep when he found out we helped you leave. Abby! It’s scaring me! Abby, he’s gone fucking nuts! I heard him call your name, and then he stomped all over the apartment looking for you. He barged into Shep’s room, demanding to know where you were. Then he tried to call you. Over, and over and over," she sighed.

"His face was… Jesus, Abby. I’ve never seen him like that. He ripped his sheets off the bed, and threw them away, threw his pillows away, shattered his mirror with his fist, kicked his door... broke it from the hinges! It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!"

Seriously Travis,I LOVE YOU,baby but you NEED TO GROW UP!!

Be the Travis who never backs down from a challenge and say...


Now,this was just the beginning.

After sometime I felt as if I was watching a ping-pong match!!

Abby fucks up.Then Travis fucks up.Then Abby fucks up again.Then Travis (never backs down from challenge,remember?) fucks up again.

Oh God!When they broke up and were saying good-bye during Thanksgiving...it was too much.

She had already dumped him.And then she realized her mistake,and wanted to get back with him.But when he was letting her go and saying....

"I can't imagine being with anyone else,but I'll be happy as long as we're friends."

"You want to be friends?" I asked,the words burning in my mouth.

"I want you to be happy.Whatever it takes."

My insides wrenched at his words,and I was surprised at the overpowering pain I felt.He was giving me an out,and it was exactly when I didn't want it.I could have told him that I had changed my mind and he would take back everything he'd just said,but I knew that it wasn't fair to either of us to hold on just when he had let go.


The only thing I can think of is either she is a MASOCHIST or she loves playing damsel in distress!!

Their last make-up was weird too.I'm still trying to figure out how that happened!!


I know that you are still thinking about....'Why 3 stars?' Though in a different sense.

Well,frankly,I gave it 3 stars because I am biased.And because no matter how much they fucked up,there were several moments when I absolutely adored them.

Travis,you are a disaster and immediately need a shrink!!

In the end, I want to say that I can empathize with people who gave it 5 stars,as well as with people who gave it 1 star.

That's all for now,Readers.


Profile Image for Kristen.
834 reviews4,768 followers
September 2, 2016
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!)
Profile Image for Rose.
1,878 reviews1,064 followers
July 27, 2016
Jamie McGuire's "Beautiful Disaster" is the worst adult contemporary romance novel I've had the displeasure of reading.

I'm imagining I've raised a few eyebrows with beginning this review on that note. You might be thinking "Well, aren't you being a little melodramatic, Rose? It's just a book - it can't possibly be that bad, right?"

*exhales slowly* Let me state for the record I'm a person who likes reading many different kinds of romances because I'm an avid reader and genres know no bounds with me, for the most part. I hesitated reading "Beautiful Disaster" because I was informed of issues with the book long before I picked up the e-galley and took the task of reading it in full.

Books that glorify abusive relationships, especially if it's veiled abuse and doesn't give proper context nor knocks down the manipulative behavior, do not sit well with me. Nor do those that champion misogynistic ideals and present women in a negative light.

Granted, as I mentioned before, I like a good romantic read. I also like books that deal with tough subjects and push the envelope when it comes to tackling a tough subject matter. I don't mind those things, especially if they leave me with things to think about long after I've turned the last page of the book. Developed, rounded characters in the mix are a bonus as well. Prior to reading this book - what I'd read of Travis was that he's a condescending, patronizing, controlling jerk who gets away with a lot in this book. (I could describe him in more crude terms, but I'm trying to keep that at a minimum in this reflection.) And it's not necessarily knocked down by the passive heroine who actually does have another guy who cares about her and treats her well, but the portrayal is never equivocated because all the while, Travis comes up as the obvious horse in the love triangle race. If one could even call it a true triangle. And the heroine never focuses on the wrong that Travis does, but rather focuses on all the other external elements (other women, etc.) as being wrong.

I could open the floor and ask a simple question: why do people find personalities like Travis to be romantic? I ask that question sincerely in a manner of discourse, because I don't understand the attracting factor of someone who would go to such lengths to control what a woman wears, who she sees, where she resides, and practically throw a fit if she deviates from those restrictions. People argue that Travis is not abusive, but there are more dimensions to abuse than just physical context (despite the fact that he tears up a room in response to the heroine's actions in one scene of the book). What little I had skimmed in BD's snippets and also read in other reviews had abuse of another sort - mental and emotional. The heroine keeps being drawn back into Travis's influence, though it's clear on several counts that there are moments when she wants to get the heck away from him, but then turns around and commends his behavior in implied gestures. It's not made okay by the fact that Travis starts singing in the middle of a certain setting "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" or the fact that he buys her a puppy. He might have moments of good, but the larger impressions of the novel were that his influence is negative and the heroine desires him in light of that negativity.

That was the initial reason why I passed on this book for content rationale. My experience with McGuire's first novel in her "Providence" trilogy didn't sit well with me either. But curiosity has never let me lie in peace when it comes to a book. So when I saw this available as an e-galley, I decided to swallow my qualms and go for it.

The experience was worse than I'd initially believed it to be. There has been debate with this novel as a self-published work as to what genre it fell under, given its respective thematic and the frank content of Abby and Travis' relationship. McGuire herself had stated that it was once a mature YA title (which I would adamantly refute given the strong language, sexual, and discretionary content of the book). It's been since marketed as an adult contemporary romance.

There's also a question that I think might raise a few other eyebrows that I'm going to explore: Is it really a romance novel? The knee-jerk reaction might be akin to: "Of course it's a romance novel! What else would it be? It's showing a dysfunctional relationship between two trainwreck lovers who are meant to be together and weather all kinds of hardships and such to ultimately be one."

I'll give a single initial argument though - just as food for thought. When the dysfunction becomes more than the love, where is the line drawn between it being a romance or a staged drama in prose form? It's true that people do crazy things when in love and act in the veil of desperation - sometimes going through something akin to the five stages of grief before coming to terms with the heart of their true sentiments (and there's plenty of that to go around in this book). Yet when it becomes so manufactured that the people inside the story don't act in the way that the character would act given their personality traits and knowledge in the book, and the author's obviously playing the puppeteer strings to skew it to a certain result, it can make the experience sour faster than week-old milk. And while I would say in romance literature, many may see the experience as escapist...manufacturing a storyline to milk its drama doesn't do anyone any favors.

Which is why I wasn't buying what "Beautiful Disaster" sold.

Abby Abernathy is a college freshman who meets Travis "Mad Dog" Maddox at a fighting match in which he's a participant. To say their relationship gets off to a rocky start would be an understatement. Abby's quick to push him away because of his reputation, perception of his tattoos, and perceived sexual promiscuity. And Travis, bad boy extraordinaire, can't help but be drawn to Abby in her innocence and challenge to shove him away.

Their relationship is further drawn together since they know people in the same circles. Abby's friend America (Mare) and America's boyfriend, Shep, are just two examples. America has to be the most inconsistent best friend I've read, because she goes back and forth between passionately wanting Abby to be a part of Travis's life and thinking Abby is the only one who can "right" him, and also thinking it's best if Abby stays the heck away before she gets hurt.

Suffice to say, in the course of the story, Abby and Travis have a lot of on-again/off-again relations. That normally wouldn't bother me in a romance novel. It happens even in real life. Given the context of this novel, however, I was horrified and made numb by it.

Abby is a passive heroine crafted in the guise of proactive by her incendiary attitudes towards Travis. There's really very little to no background given on her to round her character. It took me five chapters to realize what she was studying at her college, let alone a good bit of the novel to know anything about her family (and when that comes to light, it's fairly reminiscent of McGuire's other, latter penned novel "Providence" - heroine has father issues, father's associated with criminal activity, etc.) I think that disconnect was what made it hard to truly sympathize with her, aside from some harrowing moments where she's desperately getting away from her relationship with Travis and facing some antagonism from other sources (a near rape, a fire, etc.).

Travis - again, I do not understand why he's a desirable male lead. He takes on the typical "bad boy who's hurting" trope, and while I actually do tend to like alpha males who are in pain and sometimes lash out for genuine reasons, Travis never has any kind of development to justify his actions, let alone does he face the repercussions of them. It's clear he has issues like his boiling anger, propensity to hit anything that gets in his way or offends "his girl," and some jarring examples of insensitivity to anyone but himself and his needs.

There are moments penned where it's made to seem like he's being cute, but the majority of the time he's creepy, clingy, needy, and self-absorbed. There's a false guise of self-awareness given in the book when he acknowledges to Abby that he's "messed up", but never seems to learn from his actions. There's a part of me that wondered if he was suffering from (and I'm being very serious here) a mental disorder that made him as such. It would've been helpful if maybe McGuire had the insight to delve into that part of his character more, but it never shows. Not once. Travis's actions are often glorified and made okay by Abby's abrupt about face. No expansion given.

Examples? Here are some:

He walks into the bathroom one scene while she showers. Abby's horrified one moment and then suddenly finds the gesture cute.

He calls her Pidge - it's given as a nickname (which she isn't initially affectionate toward) and is supposedly a reference to the Disney film Lady and the Tramp, but that's never given in the context of the book. Very rarely does he allude to her real name, and when he does, it's often to mock her or mock someone else discussing her (with the effect of guilt tripping her).

He totals his apartment after Abby leaves the day after a bet they made together expires (requiring her to stay at his place for a month). They just so happened to have sex the night before, and she leaves the next morning without telling him. She's blamed by pretty much everyone that she was the cause of his tantrum and she accepts it.

Travis also gets desperate and chases her back home after a stint in Vegas and wanting to fight there for a mobster in order to obtain money. Abby's upset by it because her father was involved in that line of work and she doesn't want to go through the hurt and pain she endured from her father's involvements. Travis tries to restrain her, storms into the apartment with her roommate, and she has to hide from him until he "calms down."

How is that love? How is that respect?

There are other factors to consider here as well. Let's take it from the perspective of the man who, for a time, is set to be the "other" love interest in this novel.

Meet Parker - a high achieving, Med-school aspiring student who seems like a nice guy, even if he seems like a bit of a Gary Stu initially considering his wealth and intelligence (and the diamond bracelet gift does seem a bit presumed as Abby's birthday gift for the duration of their initial relationship). But one can tell he's genuinely attracted to Abby - he treats her well, is even patient when he's sidelined by her. You can't help but feel bad for this guy after a point because he's pretty much a pawn in the "Travis and Abby" show. It's not a real love triangle because, where Parker's in the picture, either Abby, Parker himself, or someone else brings Travis up as the topic of conversation/comparison. It's not realistic.

What frustrated even more is that I felt McGuire's authorial voice often intruded with the relations between Abby and Parker where Travis was used as the comparison. It was as if it were set up to failure from point one. The way Abby treats Parker broke my heart, because either there's a hateful comment he makes that's decidedly out of character (and McGuire's intruding voice) in an attempt to make Travis look like the better guy, or there's a point where Travis or Abby completely skewer the guy for trying to use reason, or for just being who he is.

The only two characters I can say I actually liked consistently through the work were Finch and Kara, though their respective roles were very small in the overarching novel.

The events of the novel themselves are problematic, but let me take a moment to discuss the writing and thematic. (I mentioned misogyny in this novel, so I'll go a bit into it as well here.)

It's one of those reads that can be quickly digested, but it's poorly written. Awkward dialogue tags (other than "said" or "asked"), stilted dialogue, choppy phrasing - all things that could've been avoided with thorough editing. The thematic of this book bothered me considering the misogynistic language that's prevalent in this. If not just for the events themselves (i.e. Travis dropping a woman from his lap after she insults Abby or Travis saying that he wouldn't want his future daughter to open her legs for a man so easily), then the language left something to be desired with frequent slut shaming, causal throws of "bitches" and "hos" and such. I'm not a stranger to crude language in a work, but some of these were championed for obvious humor purposes, and they didn't come across as humorous or realistic at all to me.

So, in sum, I think "Beautiful Disaster" didn't contain much beauty to it at all. I'll end on the note that after reading the book, I see the symbolism of the cover with a butterfly being kept in a jar. The sad thing about is that, when you think about the image in a sense, a romanticized version of it may mean that it's beauty captured and contained from the rest of the world. But the reality, the longer that butterfly is contained from its habitat and not left to wander free to experience the world, it suffocates, withers, and dies. I think that Abby and Travis's relationship is, indeed, a suffocating presence that doesn't have any true romantic notions at all, and I deign to think it represents anything that could be construed as healthy or desirable.

Overall score: 0.5/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher S&S/Atria Books.

Profile Image for Brittany.
90 reviews30 followers
August 9, 2016
Jamie McGuire. Putting the woman's movement back 200 years. D: It saddens me that someone from my own gender is writing such shallow and mindless dribble. I know the economy is bad, but damn have some pride!

If you were able to get through this book without throwing up I have to applaud you. I had to stop reading at page 225 because I was becoming physically ill. It wasn't the subject that sickened me, it was HOW the subject was being written. The characters and their reaction to Travis' obsessive behavior was INSANE. Literally insane! How Abby's friends could encourage her to date such a loose cannon is beyond me. Anybody with common sense (or any real friend) would tell her to run for the hills- this guy is mentally unstable! I know books aren't meant to be realistic, but I think they should be rooted with some truth. I don't need to like all the characters I'm reading about, but it's nice to understand where they are coming from. Here I did not like the characters nor did I understand their motives.
Profile Image for ~ Becs ~.
709 reviews2,136 followers
March 12, 2015
I read this because it tops so many lists here on Goodreads and I wanted to see what the hype is about but it sadly didn't even begin to live up to my expectations. I actually believe this may be the worst book I have ever read.

The characters are poorly developed, the writing style just appalling, I never really understood their motivations and the narrative never gave them time to react to situations. This felt like it had been written by a twelve year old to me.

This takes place over 2 semesters at college. Travis is a manwhore student who earns his money by bare knuckle fighting. He treats women terribly - very much wham bam thank you ma'am and kick her out the door 2 seconds later.

Inexplicably, the moment he sees Abby, he falls in love and calls her pigeon - a rather scabby rodent like bird. Abby has a past she wants to escape - her Father was a successful poker player whose luck ran out when Abby turned 13 and so he hates her now! I soooo didn't get that either. The characters make decisions that just had me all WTF?? It just doesn't make any sense. It's possibly the worst character development I have ever seen in a novel.


Anyway, the story stumbles from situation to situation - Travis is goofily in love and will savagely beat any guy that looks at Abby sideways. We have descriptions of him holding someone on the floor and repeatedly smashing his fist in their face more than once. That's not protective - that's downright violent and could actually result in a serious brain injury. And this is aimed at a YA readership with Travis cast as a 'hero'?? WTF?

The sex scene where Travis takes Abby's virginity is absolutely forgettable. I know she begs for it but he just ruts away on top of her with no thoughts of her pleasure or even preparing her to make it easier for her. He's pretty shit in bed to be fair and I was quite shocked he didn't have more pride in his performance given that he's had so much experience.

Travis appears to be harbouring some serious schizophrenic tendencies - perhaps he has actually sustained a serious brain injury in one of those fights? That might well explain his truly ridiculous character and decisions and reactions to situations - or could that possibly be just do to the poor character development on behalf of this writer.


Travis is not one of the good guys. He is not a hero. There is nothing endearing about his character at all. He is one of those nasty, jealous, possessive, violent guys that will beat the supposed love of his life senseless just because she glances at another man or he glances at her. Abby's future is likely to be fraught with peril, on edge constantly with what Travis will think about what she is wearing, who she is talking to and what she is doing. She will be so scared of upsetting him, it will totally rule her life. Someone needs to tell Abby to get out and to get out quick before he beats her to a pulp because he surely will.

I fully accept f*cked up characters in books but this guy is written as a 'hero' and he is aimed at the YA audience. Horrific!! To think that a girl of Abby's age could think that Travis is some kind of romantic hero is pretty scary and a pretty appalling message to be sending out to this book's target demographic.


I'm real sorry that I didn't get this - I can see that this story is so well loved by so many here but it really wasn't for me. To this day I just cannot even begin to understand why so many people here that I respect have given it 5 stars. What in the world do you all see here that I just can't? It completely baffles me. It's not even halfway good.



I'd like to add that it's really not often that I leave reviews like this but I felt so strongly that this book is sending THE most appalling message of accepting violent tossers as heroes to it's young readers that I felt compelled to speak out against it.
Profile Image for Abbi Glines.
Author 111 books85.7k followers
July 30, 2011
I rarely review books unless the author is a friend of mine. However, I thought I'd say something about this one. I put off reading this because I'd read the reviews and the ones that complained about the editing issues worried me. I don't like reading a book for enjoyment and find myself mentally editing it the entire time. OMG, I am so glad I gave in and read it. It's insanely good. Yes, there are errors but honestly I was so wrapped up in the story I didn't care. It is really edgy and I wouldn't call it YA. The sex scenes are too explicit to be considered YA. As for Travis and his screwed up ways, all I can say is I WANT ONE! Must read for lovers of the alpha male. It's truly addictive. Don't start late at night like I did. It will rob you of your sleep!
August 26, 2022

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This is not going to be one of those reviews that thoroughly breaks down the story and supports all of its main arguments with quotes. Too many people have done this already - and they've done a much better job than I could. BEAUTIFUL DISASTER is second only to FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and perhaps TWILIGHT in terms of books that have been lambasted and deconstructed to the point where most readers can easily tell you, without even glancing at a page, what the plot of the story is.

If you don't know the plot, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER is about a girl named Abby who is a freshman in college. The book starts out in an underground fighting ring on campus. Anyway, Travis, the hero, is in the ring, he pounds some other guy's blood onto Abby's cashmere sweater, their eyes lock, it's instant attraction.

The problem is, Travis doesn't believe in exclusivity. He dates a different girl every night and he's a gentleman about it, too. Literally knocking them off his lap if they annoy him, kicking them out of bed in the middle of the night, referring to the act of sex with these women as "bagging." There really is no shortage of charm in this guy. Surprisingly, Abby is fully aware that he is bad news, and disapproves of him only slightly less than the women he's sleeping with (she refers to these ladies as sluts, hos, bimbos, and STD-infested imbeciles). Since she's unwilling to go out with him, but he's unwilling to leave the picture, the two become friends. Platonic friends.

When the heating system goes out in Abby's dorms, she ends up spending a month at Travis's apartment because her BFF (America)'s boyfriend, Shepley, lives there. Also, something about a bet. Sexual tension ensues, and pretty soon, it becomes clear that staying friends is impossible because this is teh lurve.

While reading this, I kept wondering if maybe I would have liked this more if it had come out when I was in college. That was the better half of a decade ago, and we were starved for college stories. There weren't really any books in my age bracket: there was YA and adult, and crossover was rare. I can name one book that I found that actually took place in college and was geared towards young adults, and that book was Diana Peterfreund's SECRET SOCIETY GIRL. McGuire did find a demand in the market and was perfectly willing to supply it. Since she's one of the more famous examples, it's unfortunate that she didn't do a better job, because BEAUTIFUL DISASTER did have potential until it unraveled into a psychodrama of enabling behavior and emotional manipulation.

Here are my main issues with the book, and why it didn't work for me (and, I imagine, the other people who were similarly displeased).

It doesn't really represent the college experience. One of the reasons I loved Elle Kennedy's THE DEAL is because all of the characters have friends. They go out, and not just with each other. There's banter, female and male friendships, parties, homework, studying, final exams, school spirit, you name it. It felt like college. Even Jen Fredericks's Gridiron series, which I was ambivalent about, shows students doing student-like things. With the exception of Abby chugging nineteen shots on her birthday (please don't do this), and a couple outings that involve or revolve around Travis, Abby and her friends don't really do anything. BEAUTIFUL DISASTER is a college story in the same way that bad historical romances are historical; it's a wallpaper setting that just sets the stage, and that's it.

Travis is not a good boyfriend. I was alternately disturbed and bemused by Travis's character. Here you have this guy who might as well have the words "bad news" tattooed on his arms right next to those tribal tattoos. He sleeps with women to make Abby jealous. He destroys his furniture after they sleep together when he wakes up and finds Abby gone. He punches a man because he's mad at Abby. He's constantly threatening, glaring at, or actively beating up any other guy who gets too close to Abby. He shows up where he's not wanted and won't leave when asked. Right after they start going out, he gets her name tattooed on him along with another tattoo that says something like "I belong to my beloved, my beloved is mine." He tells her he's going to be her "last first kiss." He blackmails her into coming to Thanksgiving with his family because he a) didn't tell his family that they broke up and b) told them all that she would be cooking dinner. He kicks desks over when he goes to class and Abby's not there. When Abby is dancing with other men, he literally grabs them off the floor afterwards and threatens them to make them leave because it's funny. He gets mad at a security guard for making him take off his ring at the airport when they get married, because he said he would never take it off. There's a long list of these scary and intimidating behaviors, including grabbing Abby herself and pushing her way past her comfort zone and ignoring several no's. What makes it even more disturbing is that Abby is well aware of how bad these behaviors are, and alternates between being angered and charmed by him, even when she admits that he's sending up "red flags." She even attempts to get away from him several times, although her friends always sabotage her and intervene.

Her friends are not good friends. America was basically Abby's pimp. She continually thwarted Abby's attempts to leave Travis, even guilting her about it and telling Abby that Travis was in love with her so she should cut him some slack. She laughs when Travis picks her up while she's screaming and kicking and begging to be put down as she struggles to get away. Laughs. The reason she is so heck-bent on this pairing? Because she has always wanted to have her friend date one of Shepley's friends so they can all go out together. That's...only just a little creepy. Shepley is also a big enabler, and also takes part in threatening other men if they come too close to his girlfriend. He takes Travis's side in most of their arguments, too, because bros before...well. You know the saying.

Abby is not a nice person. The back of the book calls Abby a "good girl" because "she doesn't drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe." Maybe not (although, again, nineteen shots), but she doesn't treat people well. She uses Parker, the red herring love interest whose only purpose is to stir up conflict between Travis and Abby, and ditches him without a thought whenever Travis comes along. She treats her roommate, Kara, pretty badly, too, getting the poor girl drawn up in her drama and then shooting her down when she tries to give helpful advice. And the words she uses to describe the women Travis is sleeping with are pretty unpleasant, too.

There is a lot of ridiculousness. Let's not talk about the Vegas trip, the mafia bad guys, the stupid fire, the college ring fighting, the professional ring fighting, the professional gambling, Abby's "dark" past, the fact that Abby sleeps with Travis without a condom without having him get an STD test even though she knows that he's slept with most of the women in their college, and the infamous cafeteria scene where Travis starts singing an a capella rendition "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" while the football team accompanies him. It's all so silly, so random, so unrealistic. I can't figure out if it's funny or not. This book was one amnesia subplot short of being a prime-time soap opera episode.

BEAUTIFUL DISASTER didn't work for me, but I can see why other people found it fun. It's a trashy read that's good for entertainment purposes and not much else. It certainly kept me entertained on lunch breaks and since I didn't throw it out the window, it was obviously passable. Truth is, I've read so many bad romances that the bar is set pretty low by this point, and BEAUTIFUL DISASTER is better written than most "duds." In fact, up until about page 100 or so I was actually guiltily enjoying it, and I didn't actually start to skim until the last 100 pages (which is where Vegas mobsters and stupid fires come in). The inconsistencies and bizarre subplots are this book's real downfalls, I think, as is the unhealthy relationship that is idealized by all the characters in the book as being a redemptive character arc. The purpose of a relationship should not involve one "bad" person putting the onus of their redemption on the "good" person. That's not love, that's codependency.

1 to 1.5 stars
757 reviews2,348 followers
May 29, 2018
there is so much wrong with this book, i don't even know where to start, jesus christ.

this annoying little pest named Abigail moves from her """dark past""" to start fresh at a university far from her """dark past""" and be a goody little two shoes. her friend takes her to a secret (illegal?) fight where she gets sprayed by blood and catches the attention of the baddest bad boy on earth, Travis LILBITCH. then she challenges him and, betting against him and if she loses she must stay in his apartment for a month.

anyways, i want Abigail to fall into a pit of fucking sharks and die the most brutal of the deaths, because god fucking damn was she the most annoying little bitch, i EVER read about. when she meets Travis, she treats him like a piece of shit because of his reputation for fucking basically every ""pretty"" girl he encounters. she thinks she's SOOO much better than him because she doesn't have sex and basically if you like having sex then you're like a piece of shit and should be treated as one.

also, the world just revolves around abby!!! and if you don't think that you're fake and should probably remove your existence from this earth. whenever travis tried talking to her, she always thought every encounter he has with her is to try to get into her pants even though he mentioned twice or three times that he doesn't want to!!! BUT NO, HE WANTS TO FUCK HER TOO because like how can he not want too??? you're really fake if you think otherwise. abby is such a hot girl!

also,,, screaming/arguing and fighting constantly over the smallest things is just SUCH a healthy relationship to have with your friend. treating them like they're lesser than you is being SUCH A GREAT FRIEND!!!! because that's how she acts with Travis,, like fighting and arguing over the dumbest of shit and i wanted to slam my head against the wall and question who even considered getting this shit published.

"also, if you want to have sex and flirt then you're also a dirty whore and a slut and youre dumb and youre so gross, why do you exist, bye!!!!" this is pretty much how everyone in this book think about women who want to have sex. if i could count the number of times, abigail or someone else called the many girls in this book a whore/slut for flirting with travis and having sex, i'd be a fucking millionaire right now and buying better books than this one. like honestly, i was so disgusted at how badly the women are slut shamed jfc.

like, thinking about this book makes me want to throw up and cry about why i even breathe oxygen anymore.

if you think Abby is horrible, don't you worry, THERE'S SOMEONE WORSE. aka Travis McBitch, the fucking douchiest dickbag of them all.

this guy is not hot.
he's not.
he's not hot.

this guy is a fucking MistakeTM. he's disgusting and equally as annoying as abby. i don't know what the FUCK he saw in Abby McFuckingBitch that was worth getting yelled at and treated like a dogshit. anyways, he's just as worse.

first of the firsts, he is scary. he's scary. he's scary. he's fucking scary, extremely controlling and just no. there was this one time where he told abigail to change out of her clothes because they were "revealing" hmmmmm how about no, you sausage roll of dicks. women can wear whatever the fuck they want?? fuck off,,, thanks. also, he's really violent??? there was this one scene where he trashed the entire room and broke everything and no one could control him. yikes.

he also got borderline psychopathic-ly angry when she was flirting with some guy and decided to date a sweet, nice boy who is not Travis!!! in a scary drunken haze, he opened the car door, in which abby was making out with her bf and pulled her out because he couldn't stand them. he also doesn't let her fucking hang out with any guy and wants to control every aspect of her love life (or just her life in general) aka don't love anyone but me.


this was so fucking horrible that around the 50% mark i literally started skipping pages and reading two words each page and then just stopped altogether because i care about my health and this book is a horrible fucking disease to it!!!!

so like,, fuck this book??? have a nice day.
Profile Image for Jude.
198 reviews641 followers
May 23, 2013

*My Review on Walking Disaster. No Spoilers.

The book Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire has been all around the Blogosphere lately. It became available on Netgalley and many bloggers are currently reading it. This book has caused many controversy and has earned some really nasty reviews, still, the book has an average rating of 4.13. I recently stumbled upon a review that said very very no-so-nice things about Beautiful Disaster, and it also mentioned that everyone that rated this book with 5 stars was a @%#^&!#$% and insane. Well Hello! I'm a @%#^&!#$% and apparently also insane because I gave the book 5 Fat Stars. So sue me.

And now I am taking the time to make a second review for Beautiful Disaster explaining why I think this book was great and why I don't think it was a book encouraging abusive relationships and blah blah.

*Scroll Down for my original review of Beautiful Disaster

I'm picking up my sword and helmet because I know lots of people won't agree with me. Anyways, here I go. *deep breath*

*Point One - Travis is an abusive and violent asshole.
I disagree. Yes, there is a scene in the book where he trashes his place because of a few situations with Abby where she left and lots of drama. Yes, that was violent but I don't think it was completely and utterly scandalous. Some guys tend to break or hit things when they're angry, NOT people. I have 3 older brothers; One of them would always, always hit a wall when he was angry, hence, he always had a broken wrist. One of my other brothers would simply go to his room in silence and do nothing but stay dead silent, he would shut down. I cried, and Yelled to my pillow, and cried some more. My mom throws things at people, I'm not even kidding, every time mom got angry we all just yelled "Duck!" luckily she always missed - I still Love you mom! - So maybe Travis's way of releasing stress wasn't the best and maybe it was a bit over the top and you would consider it violent, but he never, EVER was violent towards Abbey in the book. Ever.

*Point Two - The Abusive and Twisted relationship of Travis and Abby.
Their relationship was probably not the best of the world. It was, in fact, a Disaster. And the author knows it and she mentions it in the book and wrote it in the title.

“It's dangerous to need someone that much. You're trying to save him and he's hoping you can. You two are a disaster." I smiled at the ceiling. "It doesn't matter what or why it is. When it's good, Kara... it's beautiful.”
-Beautiful Disaster

I don't think that the Author - or anyone for that matter, would ever encourage an abusive relationship. EVER. Abby and Travi's relationship is very very far from perfect, but the beauty in it is that they both become the best versions of themselves when being together, and I think that's what relationships are all about: being with someone that inspires you to be better each and every day.

“You know why I want you? I didn’t know I was lost until you found me. I didn’t know what alone was until the first night I spent without you in my bed. You’re the one thing I’ve got right. You’re what I’ve been waiting for"
-Beautiful Disaster

You are not supposed to enter into a relationship thinking the other person can save you or that you can save the other person. Because, eventually, if you think you're doing the saving, you'll probably realize that it's not possible and they'll become a weight on your shoulder. If you think you can be saved by the other, you'll realize no one can really save you but yourself. In the first quote mentioned, Travis thinks he can be save and, guess what? the relationship fails. It isn't until BOTH of them deal with their issues and learn their lessons that they get back together. And they are still not perfect, because perfection does not exist.

*Point Three - The Jealousy
Travis is a very jealous guy. This is what I think about Jealousy:

“A person shows signs of clutching on too fast, of being needy, of not hearing the word "no," of jealousy, of guarding you and your freedom. But the signs can be so small they skitter right past you. Sometimes they dance past, looking satiny, something you should applaud. Someone's jealousy can make you feel good. Special. But it's not even about you. It's about a hand that is already gripping. It's about their need, circling around your throat”
- Deb Caletti, Stay

No one could have said it better than Deb Caletti. Huge HUGE flaw in Travis, and I'll say it again: the relationship fails until he's able to pull his shit together.

*Point Four - A Bad Book.
This book will never be at a Shakespeare lever, that's for sure, but it's not a bad book with bad messages to YA readers. I think the exact opposite. The author made this story for a reason, made the characters that way for a reason, and gave the book that title for a reason. And I honestly think that when you place everything together, aside from being a good entertaining story, this book turns out to be genius in a quiet way.

I really did get a lot of things out of this book, and I know that many many of you won't share the same thoughts and feelings with me, and that's perfectly normal, we're not the same and we don't think the same way. But I definitely felt the need to explain this because I don't like the assumptions they are making of us Beautiful Disaster Lovers. Now I wave my 5 star flag with pride because this book - in my eyes - earned every single one of them. And I shall be forever grateful to Jennifer from Some Like It Paranormal and Header from Nightly Reading for insisting on me reading this book.

and now going back to fan-girl mode: OH MY GOD!!! I Cannot wait for Walking Disaster!!!! Which is Beautiful Disaster told in Travis POV!!! *SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL*


This book was so good, so so so good! and the ending was so Incredibly Happy and Good that it seemed unrealistic....

Let me explain my situation: I'm sure we've all had a friend when we were young that was in a relationship and swore they were going to get married and you were like "Pfft, yeah right, you'll break up eventually, you'll see." Something similar happened with me and this book, I was like "Pfft, yeah right, nobody gets such a happy ending. Pfft." Which really pisses me off! I used to be a hopeless romantic and now I've become un-romantic and disgustingly realistic. and it's not even realistic because Happy endings DO exist. We're just all too blind to see them. Society killed good romance and Happily Ever After

But then I got to talking with lovely BF Jennifer from Some Like It Paranormal and I was ranting about how I was such a pessimist and she said [Quote] "Yeah I'm a big pessimist but I love my HEA! I don't care how unrealistic, an author should end things nicely otherwise I'm all upset and can't eat dinner!"


So Screw being a pessimist! Screw it I say!  I will enjoy this Happy Ending and give this book the 5 Stars it Deserves! It was a great and addicting story! I Loved it! and I want One Just like it! [well, we can keep a few situations out, I guess] 

The story was full of great elements, for example Abby mentions she has a troubled past, but you will never come close to guessing what she's running away from, I was very surprised and pleased when I found out, not your average situation. Moving on to Travis: Swoon worthy guy [Duh] Strong, with Tattoos and trouble trouble trouble. He was way to jealous at times for my taste and very violent [though never towards Abby] also very much of a jerk at times but, you can see he tries really hard to be better, which gives him bonus points. Abby was also driving me nuts at times, BOTH of them drove me nuts during the book, they were perfect for each other and they were both too stupid to see it, but it was never annoying and it only made me want to read faster! Spoiler Note, if you haven' read the book don't you dare see it! it'll ruin a really cool/cheesy/stupid part in the book!

In conclusion: this book was Incredible. And the title could not describe it better, it's a Beautiful Disaster, because even though their relationship was, well, a Disaster, it was still Beautiful, Travis being the best version of himself he could be when he was with Abby, wanting to be the right guy and making the right choices, and Abby learning to take chances and also that sometimes life has other plans for you, and that this plans are often the best choice. An Amazing book that it's worth keeping and re-reading. You won't forget it.

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1,059 reviews74.9k followers
March 29, 2013

“I need to hear you say it. I need to know you’re mine.”
“I’ve been yours since the second we met.”

ooooo *sigh* what can I say about this book except that its reeeeally good, HIGHLY addictive and utterly captivating. You literally feel compelled to keep turning the pages. You just can't stop. No joke!

Abby and Travis meet in college. He's a tough, charming, insanely hot, tattooed badboy who also is a womanizing A student who fights in a ring at night and once he meets Abby, he's just captivated by her. Abby is a good girl, no drinking, no swearing, pretty much just his complete opposite. Despite their differences, they are somehow drawn to each other other.

“I knew the second I met you that there was something about you I needed. Turns out it wasn’t something about you at all. It was just you.”

He makes a deal with her where if he can remain abstinent for a month, she has to live with him for a month. They become friends before they become lovers but its clear that they are meant to be together. Travis thinks to highly of Abby to initially be with her. He doesn't feel worthy of her. And in the book, we get to watch that change as it becomes more and more impossible for them to not be together.

“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.”

Its weird, there were a lot of things in this story that normally bother me a little, but for whatever reason, I just loved it here. I couldn't get enough of this book!

I fell in love with how fiercely protective Travis was of Abby. He may have gone overboard a few times but it made me totally swoony! This is a book after all, and in books we accept things that may not work in real life but that, in a story context, just make your heart race!

“You can’t tell me what to do anymore, Travis! I don’t belong to you!”
In the second it took him to turn and face me, his expression had contorted into anger. He stomped toward me, planting his hands on the bed and leaning into my face.
“WELL I BELONG TO YOU!” The veins in his neck bulged as he shouted, and I met his glare, refusing to even flinch. He looked at my lips, panting. “I belong to you.”

I loved Travis' character. He was flawed, oh so flawed, but his heart was in the right place. I love a guy who is sure of who he loves, not afraid to defend them, and will try as hard as he can to prove himself.

This book is fast paced and action packed. There are no slow or dull points. The writing is smooth and sucks you right into the story - puts you right there with the characters. It is heart racing and heart breaking and has a HEA.

“-It’s over. Go home.
-You’re my home.”

I loved watching the journey that the characters went through - watching Travis change and become a better person, watching Abby come to terms with her past and watching the two of them fall head over heals in love.

I'm unfortunately writing this review months after I originally read the book but all I know is that this book is sitting on my favs shelf and will definitely be re-read at some point.

I'd definitely call this a MUST read for any fan of badboy romances.

Here's how I see Travis & Abby (ps, I know Travis is supposed to have a buzz-cut so lets just mentally shave the hair on the guy on the top right cuz I love the look of him for Travis despite the slightly longer hair lol):

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Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 21, 2018
I know we're fucked up, all right? I'm impulsive, and hot-tempered, and you get under my skin like no one else. You act like you hate me one minute, and then you need me the next. I never get anything right, and i don't deserve you…but i fucking love you, Abby. I love you more than I've loved anyone or anything, ever. When you're around, I don't need booze, or money, or the fighting, or the one-night stands… all I need is you. You're all think about. You're all I dream about. You're all I want.

okay, well i understand the disaster part...

and if i am honest, i can see how some readers would find this beautiful. i, personally, find this relationship one of the most toxic ones this side of gone girl, but i can see how someone who is young, inexperienced in relationships, and possibly living somewhere a little sheltered would see this as terribly romantic.

"It's just me and you against the world, Pidge."

i know i talk about wuthering heights like it's the only book i have ever read. but i just keep coming back to it because it serves as a template for so many of these all-consuming passionate love stories. the first time i read wh, i was fifteen, and i didn't have the life or relationship-perspective i have now. and reading it at that age, all i saw was heathcliff. this dark brooding man who loved enduringly with all of his being, and i sighed and thought, "how romantic." i didn't see what a bitch cathy was or how heathcliff's love for her was terrifying - i only saw the capital r romance.

and then as my sphere of experience grew, i was better able to see what was really happening, and how they were both terrible, selfish people who only became their best selves when they were together; everything else they touched, they destroyed. their love is a horrible, destructive thing, but it is theirs, and it is the only one that will ever work for either of them.

a wuthering heights-type relationship, when situated on the isolated moors, in a time where communication with the greater world was essentially nil, makes sense. in a modern-day setting, where women have options… it just doesn't.

but i can understand why a reader younger than myself would read this relationship as passionate instead of unstable. and having been in a relationship with someone with a jealous side and someone else who was prone to dramatic and violent acts in the name of love (of the room-destroying variety, not any hitting of me, dad), i understand that willful blindness that can interpret a room-trashing in a flattering light, and is attracted to the unpredictability and the demonstrative aspects of a passion that oversteps acceptable social mores. it is exciting to be able to elicit such a response in someone, no?? it means they care, yes? i'm old enough now to find it childish and wearying, but i get it, i do.

but i still can't see travis as a love-interest. i hold grudges. and i am capable of forgiving, but i never never forget, and i have always had a sort of overdeveloped sense of my own worth, and have filtered out potential lovers who threaten my dignity. these, to me, are deal-breakers:

1) man barges into the bathroom while you are showering. not post-coitally, or even once a relationship has been established, but who has opened his doors to you out of "kindness" because you temporarily do not have hot water at your place. not cool, travis. bad host.

2 ) man sleeps with half the females on campus and dismisses them with an ass-smack in front of you. this diminishes you as a potential love-interest, or even an intercourse-interest. no one wants to be a headboard-notch.

Travis rounded the corner in a pair of boxer shorts and yawned. He looked at his guest and then patted her backside.

"My company's here. You'd better go."

She smiled and wrapped her arms around him, kissing his neck. "I'll leave my number on the counter."

"Eh…don't worry about it," Travis said in a casual tone.

"What?" she asked, leaning back to look in his eyes.

"Every time!" America said. She looked at the woman. "How are you surprised by this? He's Travis Fucking Maddox! He is famous for this very thing, and every time they're surprised!"

and this is from girl who still wants her best friend and travis to be together. some friend. a sane person would automatically eliminate him from the dating-pool.

3) will not take these women into his room or bed - he sleeps with them on the couches in the communal area of the apartment. dude, people have to sit on those to watch t.v.! it is just selfish and discourteous to the people with whom you live, and it is a very telling indication of your lack of respect for your conquests.

4) childish displays of displeasure like travis trashing his room after abby leaves without saying goodbye. again - i understand how this can translate into a mystique of uncontrolled emotions and exciting dangerous elements, but it's just - no. use your words, travis.

5) emotionally underdeveloped and erratic. before abby, travis was all love-'em-and-leave-'em with this very studied and disingenuous posturing. not a spoiler, but a long passage that you may or may not want to read:

SO many things wrong with that passage. SO many. and this scene is exactly one page before that walking in on her in the shower scene, where he goes through her luggage and brings her the things he thinks she will need for her ablutions. and despite that explosive scene THAT JUST HAPPENED, her reaction to this is, after the initial reasonable reaction of "get the fuck out, you perv," is He was thoughtful and almost nice when he wanted to be.

which is moronic, but the point is that even though he has lived that casual sex lifestyle and been disgusted by the women who put out "too eagerly," once he and abby get together and he becomes the redeemed beast to her beauty, he becomes soooo clingy. which - once a woman has foolishly succumbed to your bad-boy charm, is a complete bait-and-switch, and no one wants that, even without all the other bullshit.

6) evidence of protection or no, sleeping with a different woman every night of the week is just a dangerous guy to hook up with.

7) watching her sleep. again, this is excusable once a relationship has been established, but when people are platonically sharing a bed, it is uncomfortable at best.

i realize i have not gone into much plot detail, so some of this probably makes no sense, but i'm already afraid i am going to exceed the space allotted to write this review (or response) and i figure most people bothering to read this have either 1) read the book or 2) have already made up their minds not to, so it's what i'm doing.

other bullshit things travis does:

vagblocking abby's flirtations with other men while being himself a manwhore, like bringing home two women one evening to intercourse while abby is waiting for him in the bedroom, is unacceptable. right, because it's other guys who treat women poorly and he's just looking out for her best interests.

taking drinks out of her hand and throwing them

telling her to change before they go out in public because he doesn't want other men looking at her when she is looking sexy. again - they are not together at this point. oh, and she changes. dumbass.

dragging her out of a car when she comes home from a date with another guy

"Why did you do that?" I asked.

"Why? Because he was mauling you in front of my apartment!" he yelled. His eyes were unfocused, and I could see he was incapable of rational conversation.

I kept my voice calm. "I may be staying with you, but what I do, and who I do it with is my business."

He flicked his cigarette to the ground. "You're so much better than that, Pidge. Don't let him fuck you in a car like a cheap prom date."

right. let him fuck you on a couch. is classier. god, none of these characters have any self-awareness. travis in this and other scenes, and abby in most of her scenes. there's a lot of this:

why do people think i am dating travis?? is it because we walk around campus holding hands or with our arms around each other and he has stopped flirting with/bedding other girls and i sleep in his bed?? that's just because we are friends! and i lost a bet!! i can't believe everyone is talking about me like i am a slut just because i sleep in one guy's bed while publicly dating another boy. i'm a virgin for goodness' sake! and i don't like it when women say bad things about other women (me), even though i have spent most of the book judging the girls that travis beds and calling them clueless bimbos. i'm a virgin with a virgin's disdain for other women's expressive sexualities but no one has the right to talk about me even though i am behaving like a complete tease. (not an actual quote, but an unauthorized synopsis)

in college, sure, i slept in many beds of boys and girls platonically, and not because of any bet, but because it was all innocent puppy-piling after raves or parties or whatever (feel free to just glide over the word "rave.") but never with someone i knew was into me, because i am not cruel, and i never embraced that casual nudity thing, while these two act like a long-married couple in this weird sexless domestic arrangement and then act surprised when something is made of it in gossipville.

more bad behavior:

dragging her away from a date in order to drag her to one of his fights because he needs her there. "no, parker, we are not involved, but imma just leave this date you are paying for to go watch this guy with a reputation for sexing every girl beat some guy bloody for money, mmkay?? call me!" (again, not an actual quote)

throwing her over his shoulder and forcibly removing her from a party, throwing her in a car, dragging her home, coming very close to taking her virginity (consensually it must tragically be noted) even though she is seeing someone else, but then - is too sensitive even in his drunken lust (mcguire wants you to read it as "love") and so all the before with the manhandling and kidnapping is erased/forgiven.

forbidding her to leave his house when she asks him to let her out of the terms of the bet. because she has principles, and she can't just welsh on a bet, even if it becomes potentially dangerous and is ruining her relationships

waiting for her at the front door when she is out on dates, opening it as soon as she arrives to i guess establish dominance and prevent that goodnight kiss?

He leaned in, seeming flustered. "I'll kill him if he touches you."

"I like him," I said, emphasizing each word.

He seemed stunned at my confession and then his features turned severe. "Fine. If he ends up holding you down in the backseat of a car, don't come crying to me."

again, because other men are threats to women.

beating someone up on abby's tacit command

saying things like: "I'll end up in prison if I hear you slept with someone else."

that whole cafeteria scene where he jumps on the table and sings and everyone joins him in song like he's some hero even though this is the same cafeteria where he unceremoniously dumped a girl from his lap who smart-mouthed america (the character, not the country) and beat a boy severely who smart-mouthed abby. again - deal-breaker for 1) embarrassing and foolish public display and 2) manic episode contrasted with violent episodes a huge red flag for bizarre impulsive behavior.

getting a tattoo of abby's name. or the (stupid) nickname he chose for her at first sight. okay, this is hypocritical for me to point out as a warning sign because i have one, and i got it about nine months into the relationship, because he was hurt that i was going to see an ex's show, so on the way to the show, i popped into a place that advertised "haircuts and tattoos" and got a tattoo of his name on my marriage-finger, and when i got home and showed it to him, he was understandably freaked out, because who does that? but he was pleased at the gesture. story told to show that: people do stupid things when they are young, and jealousy can be normal and rational and not lead to broken mirrors. and that was 13 years ago, and he still lives with me, so.

but i can comment on his other abby-inspired tattoo, which is another deal-breaker for me. the one that says, in hebrew: I belong to my beloved, and my beloved is mine. leaving aside the fact that he is not jewish, and there is still some jewish cultural discomfort regarding tattoos, it is just another personal bugbear: people who get tattoos in languages not their own and with which they have no personal connection.

which view i expressed aloud one time to an ex , forgetting that he had this tattoo: which is the japanese kanji symbol for "musician" (or it might just be "music" but this is the one i remember him having, so he probably just fucked up, which is why we don't get tattoos of these things in the first place, hmmm??? and - clearly it wasn't a deal-breaker in this case. whatever) which resulted in wounded eyes and me having to do some quick verbal jazz-hands, because i am terribly indelicate and bad at relationships. but still - i think it is dumb. co-opting a culture to be "cool" is just the opposite.

but enough about "why i wouldn't date travis" which is neither here nor there. this book is just bananas, in so many ways. characters are oblivious about their own feelings and the feelings of others. america is inconsistent with her wanting abby to be with travis and her warning her away from him. the poker/mafia subplot is laughable whose only narrative excuse is that it supposedly broadens abby's character and attempts to plant the seed that she isn't as clueless as she appears, and has been using secret ninja poker face this whole time and maybe the prey was the predator all along, and after the reveal, she is suddenly a different person, and travis is in awe of her and suddenly the power is in her hands. but it doesn't wash. it could, but in the hands of a stronger author, one who isn't so prone to inconsistencies. like that one with america. and this one:

page 91 -

Parker nodded toward the living room and smiled. "You wanna dance?"

page 134 - abby asks parker to dance

He shook his head. "Uh… i don't dance."

but… you just...

here are moments of what should be clarity:

I closed my eyes. "We are dysfunctional, Travis. I think you're just obsessed with the thought of owning me more than anything else."

"That's not true. I love you more than my life, Pigeon," he said, hurt.

"That's exactly what I mean. That's crazy talk."

"It's not crazy. It's the truth."

but then the inevitable backpedal:

"Do you know what co-dependency is, Abby? Your boyfriend is a prime example, which is creepy considering he went from having no respect for women at all to thinking he needs you to breathe.

“It's dangerous to need someone that much. You're trying to save him and he's hoping you can. You two are a disaster."

I smiled at the ceiling. "It doesn't matter what or why it is. When it's good, Kara... it's beautiful.”

little moron.

and the "it's okay for me, but not for other people" attitude.

"Can you believe how ridiculous they are? The girls here are shameless," America said.

Finch shook his head in awe. "It's Travis. I think it's the bad-boy thing. They either want to save him or they think they're immune to his wicked ways. I'm not sure which."

"It's probably both," I laughed, giggling at the girls waiting for Travis to pay them attention. "Can you imagine hoping you're the one he'll pick? Knowing you'll be used for sex?"

"Daddy issues," America said, taking a sip of her drink.

but, wait. aren't you….but then, if anyone has daddy issues, it is abby. bizarre, seemingly transplanted from a book with a different plot altogether, daddy issues.

now, abby's poor view of all the women travis slept with but then sleeping with him anyway because he has changed and he really loves her etc etc has been called out by a lot of reviewers, and that whole slut-shaming accusation has been made.and i can understand that interpretation of it, but it's not necessarily the same thing as being disgusted with women who are undignified in their pursuit of men. i'd be a hypocrite if i judged women who had experienced a rich full sexual life, but there's a difference between the confident woman who chooses her lovers selectively, and the women who stand in line outside a hair-metal tour bus to be systematically and clinically fucked by the bassist. there is an uneven power-dynamic between women who want to fuck fame (even such small-scale fame as travis represents) just for the sake of fame and a story to tell, and that dynamic is different from those girls who are just party girls who like what they like. to me, the: two voluptuous bottle-blondes wearing Sigma Kappa tees where One of them sat on Travis' lap, the other sat beside him, pawing at his shirt. are kind of ick, and i don't think it is anti-feminist to think they are ick. because they aren't being portrayed as female characters, they are being used by the author as evidence of travis' sexual allure. but again, i have that need for dignity, so - yeah - i judge. but i also judge the judge abby. i judge everyone in this book - they are all horrible people.

like in this scene between abby and travis' father.

which will have to be continued in the comments because, as predicted, i have gone on too long.

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Profile Image for Torie.
264 reviews25 followers
January 12, 2015

Because you feel like such shit for reading it, but you can't stop yourself from reading it anyway. There were more typos than I could count, the dialogue is just so cheesy it's cringe-worthy, the boy is such a Gary-Sue, BUT...oh my Lord I could NOT stop myself. I was so grossed out by myself for liking it, my boyfriend was grossed out by me liking it, but I couldn't pull myself away!

The Issues
The boy is a character OBVIOUSLY conjured by a woman and a HUGE Gary Sue! He's a bad-boy that's superb at fighting, but he's still a genius that doesn't have to work towards school. How convenient! No one can beat him at a fight and no girl can pass him without shamelessly throwing herself at him. The only flaw he really seems to have is his inability to control his anger and his violent tendencies (which apparently make him all the more appealing), but other than that, he's pretty peachy keen. He has a sob story, which isn't really all that sad, but McGuire was trying to fault him somewhere--anywhere--and his lack of a mother seemed good enough. He says all the right things, that are so incredibly cheesy, and it makes me wince every time I read them.

The girl is a special little snowflake. I didn't really hate her, and I didn't quite love her, but since I was saddled with her, I chose to quietly accept her as a narrator. Her decisions were so stupid sometimes and so ridiculous, that it was unbelievable. Like, I wanted to hit her and say, "Really? Why are you such a wuss? Why are you so weak? Why do you keep running?" Her sob story wasn't really that sad either, but I guess EVERYONE has to have a sad backstory in this tale. Ugggh. I did not sympathize with her at all. It was such an absurd sob story that I like really could care less.

The cliches run so rampant throughout the book! The only girl who refuses the sexy bad boy is the one he wants the most. Why? I don't know! Nothing really stands out about her other than she wears short dresses and gets drunk a lot. I guess that's hot for boys. I'll take note! If a boy hits on you, try to repel him by being bitchy, ugly, and distant and he will LOVE YOU even if he denies everyone else!

The foil to the boy was horribly developed. He did not prove a strong antagonist because all Abby would describe him as is "rich, cute and charming," so we don't really learn much about him other than that. Like, what are we going to do with the fact that he's going to go to Harvard?? It's too obvious that he's supposed to be the polar opposite of Travis' "wrong side of the tracks" lifestyle (and supposedly the right choice for Abby), and therefore makes it too obvious who she's going to choose.

Why I loved it anyway

The narrator was annoying, but she wasn't THAT bad. Sometimes I enjoyed her quips, and I sure as hell enjoyed the smutty scenes (Mcguire, you sure can write some good smut!), but what I really loved were the supporting characters. Loved America! Though, to be completely honest, I've never heard of a blonde girl named America before. I love when girls actually have supportive girl friends rather than destructive ones. It's a refreshing change and I loved it. Shep was really minor and off to the side, so I can't really talk about him since he just pops in when it's convenient. I like the whole fighting idea and some of the plot turns were really fun to read. Travis may have been a Gary Sue, but aside from all the CHEESINESS he oozed, you get to like some of the stuff he says and does. But seriously, SO MUCH CHEESE. THE DIALOGUE MADE ME WANT TO CLAW MY EYES OUT. UGH.

Still, I enjoyed it and I absolutely hate myself for it.
Profile Image for Ceilidh.
233 reviews577 followers
January 11, 2012
Now that I have officially joined the Kindle army, I felt that it was an appropriate time to start checking out the burgeoning e-book and self-published market. Only a fool would underestimate the growing power and influence of the e-book market in relation to mainstream publishing and I’ve noticed several particular books coming up time and time again amongst both my GoodReads friends and the book blogging scene in general. This book is one of them.

I’d be lying if I said that I ever thought this was my sort of book since I’ve made my disdain for the ‘bad boy’ romantic interest known clear many times. However, I do honestly try to go into every book with an open mind. This is the job of a reviewer and it’s what every book deserves, be it traditionally published or otherwise.

I loathed this book.

Before I even touch upon the abusive relationship in this book (yes, I consider it an abusive one and will detail why later on), I shall discuss other elements of why I so seriously disliked “Beautiful Disaster”. First, there were several spelling and grammar errors which wouldn’t be considered acceptable in traditional publishing so I shall not consider them acceptable here. Why shouldn’t I hold self-published novels to the same standard as traditionally published ones? The writing style itself was fine, although I did wonder if the book started out as fan-fiction or if McGuire got her start in fan-fiction writing. This book reads like it was written chapter-by-chapter in the manner of fan-fiction, with the expected pacing issues that usually accompany this. This also applies to the plotting, which felt predictable, plodding and offered nothing new to the bad boy trope, nor the college romance trope.

Character-wise, before I even discuss the breeding pair, I had serious issues. Travis has no respect for women, and almost every other woman in this book, no matter how fleeting their appearance, is described by the narrator Abby in the most derisive terms. Almost every woman Travis encounters wants to have sex with him and acts as seductively as possible when around him, which leads to many of them being called a “slut”, an “STD ridden imbecile”, a “whore”, and so on. They’re also frequently referred to as “bimbos” by Abby, which sets up a sort of virgin/whore complex with Abby and Travis’s former sexual partners. Travis’s promiscuity is mentioned many times but never as derisively as it is when in relation to the women he consensually has sex with. The women in this book seem to exist solely to inflate Travis’s ego and reassert the insulting double standard of “he’s a stud, she’s a slut” (Travis declares that he is a man of standards in that he never sleeps with ugly women. Tell me that’s an attractive trait). The one female character given a modicum of personality and common sense is Kara, Abby’s roommate. She’s the token ‘bitch’ which means she is supposed to be deserving of our scorn or ridicule but she’s the only character to stand up to Abby and tell her Travis is co-dependent and could be dangerous. Abby’s so-called best friends America and Shepley don’t seem particularly concerned with how at risk Abby often is. Granted, there are some scenes where America stands up for her friend, but more often than not she is more likely found to be pushing Abby towards getting together with a noted violent jerk. In fact, America often seems to hold Abby responsible for Travis’s actions. She’s an erratically written character – first telling Abby to stay away from Travis, then pushing her towards him. She ends up serving more as a conflict creating mouthpiece than a real character.

Then we come to Travis.

If you were ever to create a bad boy checklist, Travis would tick off every box on that list; Troubled upbringing, parent issues, tattoos, extremely sexy, smarmy attitude that others somehow see as charming, motorbike, heavy drinking, no respect for authority, promiscuity, etc. We are supposed to believe that Travis is something of an irresistible enigma. Men secretly admire him, women want to sleep with him, he’s even so charming that he can lead a cafeteria sing-along like a bad boy Zac Efron. He gets straight A’s without having to work for them. He keeps a top class athlete physique and unbeatable fighting skills without having to work out or train in any way. He’s an unoriginal character who only differs from every other bad boy in literature right now by going the full distance in his extreme behaviour. Travis is a disturbed individual in every way. He can’t control his temper, he gets jealous at the slightest of actions, he is prone to smashing up whatever is in sight, and he emotionally manipulates Abby into doing his will, including telling her what to wear, where to go and accompany him to events where she’ll have to act romantically with him. The list goes on. He gives her the nickname “Pigeon” for some ridiculous, badly explained reason, and refers to her as this for the majority of the book instead of by her name.

Sometimes these actions are rightfully criticised and Abby shows a remarkable amount of backbone at times in her criticism of Travis, but time and time again she forgives him and time and time again he commits further controlling, manipulative and violent acts. At one point, he punches a man for touching her arm, coming precariously close to punching Abby. Below is a passage from the book, after Abby has had sex with Travis and left without saying goodbye:

“Travis is a fucking wreck! He won’t talk to us, he’s trashed the apartment, threw the stereo across the room… Shep can’t talk any sense into him! He took a swing at Shep when he found out we helped you leave. Abby! It’s scaring me! Abby, he’s gone fucking nuts! I heard him call your name, and then he stomped all over the apartment looking for you. He barged into Shep’s room, demanding to know where you were. Then he tried to call you. Over, and over and over,” she sighed. “His face was… Jesus, Abby. I’ve never seen him like that. He ripped his sheets off the bed, and threw them away, threw his pillows away, shattered his mirror with his fist, kicked his door… broke it from the hinges! It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!”

This is not okay. This is not normal. It’s certainly not ‘passionate’ or ‘sexy’.

I understand that this is supposed to be somewhat messed up. However, there is a complete lack of authorial control over the contents of this book. The choice of a 1st person narrative is part of the problem. Abby, nor any other character in the book, fully explains their motives and she can barely explain why she feels so strongly about Travis, let alone describe why she continues to come back to Travis again and again. Even when she condemns his abhorrent actions, it’s never fully convincing. She stands by and watches him pummel people to the ground on more than one occasion and seemingly accepts it. In fact, the entire book seems to accept his actions as just being part of wacky crazy Travis’s wild life. He’s the stud (never a slut) with a temper and it’s your own fault for pissing him off. I don’t care what people are saying about you, you don’t bash a man’s head in with a lunch tray! Despite doing this – in public! – over and over again, nobody in the college intervenes, the police are never called on him and the possibility of mental health problems, which would be perfectly justified, are never brought up. The author has mentioned how realistic this book is but this particular element is definitely not. No college in America would accept this behaviour, no matter how many A’s that student gets.
This book is supposed to be in the vein of the old favourite ‘bad boy and the one girl who changes him’ trope. But that’s the biggest issue here. He doesn’t change. They marry, she gets a “Mrs Maddox” tattoo and this is all seen as okay, but it’s not. Throughout the book he talks about how Abby has changed him or how he needs her with him at all times to help him become a better person, but he remains a violent, rude and ultimately dangerous individual throughout. On top of having absolutely no respect for the many women he has slept with, he never really has any respect for Abby. He makes major decisions that would affect them both without listening to Abby, he stalks her several times and never seems to truly trust her. If he truly trusted her, why would he become so violent when she’s in the presence of other men? Listening to Travis and Abby justify his actions sounded far too much like the justifications of spousal abuse, the broken down words of a beaten wife trying to prove that he’s really a wonderful man who loves her deeply but sometimes he just can’t help himself. By the end of the book, Travis and Abby declare that they are each-others for life but Travis is clearly the one with the power here. Does anyone think he’ll ever really change? Someone I love very dearly is in a situation like this, albeit an emotional one rather than violent one. The difference? He’s a regular looking man, not a tattooed motor-biking bad boy. Not so sexy now, is it?

This book may be right up your alley. You may be a fan of the bad boy trope and here it is taken to the most extreme conclusion without resorting to wife battering, although in my opinion a lot of Travis’s behaviour is that of an abusive spouse. If this book is your thing then more power to you. I may not understand why but for some people, the idea of a damaged man being consumed by his obsession for a woman is an ideal fantasy, and I have no right to criticise that fantasy, no matter how unhealthy it may be. This book’s got a lot of fans. I’m not one of them. I despised this book. “Beautiful Disaster” now topples “Hush Hush” and becomes the most disgusting book I have ever read.

0/5 (that one star is too good for this).
Profile Image for Christy.
3,912 reviews33k followers
June 26, 2019
original review, June 2012:
I absolutely loved this book. I read it, then the next day immediately picked it up and read it again. I wasn't ready to let go. Abby worked my nerves at times, but I LOVED Travis Maddox!

re-read 2019
This made me feel so nostalgic. I'm not sure if I read it for the first time now I would love it as much as I do, but I still 5 star loved it <3
Profile Image for • Lindsey Dahling •.
322 reviews645 followers
December 20, 2018
Um, guys? Remember that time about 12 years ago when we were all reading Twilight in high school and were positively swoOoOoOning over how romantic Edward Cullen’s love for Bella Swan was? Remember how our hearts were aflutter as we read about him breaking into her room before they were even dating just so he could watch her sleep?

And remember that time we all graduated from high school and then slowly began to realize that...wait...Edward Cullen’s love may actually be categorized as an unhealthy psychopathic obsession and Bella’s chief of police father should have thrown Edward AND Jacob in jail?

Remember? REMEMBER???????

It concerns me that Beautiful Disaster is so highly rated because it means that a large percentage of the population is suffering from amnesia and maybe I should contact NASA to alert them to a possible brain eating alien invasion (which I should’ve done two years ago in November of 2016, honestly).

Our dear Edward Cullen goes by Travis Maddox in this setting. He’s a bad boy college student with tattoos (😱), a motorcycle (😱😱), and an endless supply of condoms (😱😱😱). He participates in underground fighting, Sig Tau date parties, and smashing in the skull of anyone who even blinks in his Bella’s direction.

Bella Swan is operating under the pseudonym Abby Abernathy and I swear to you that isn’t a joke. In Forks she wore floor length khaki skirts with off-white turtlenecks. Now she wears cashmere sweaters and pearl earrings. She’s not Mormon in this one, so she does sleep with the lead male. But, if you’re reading simply for the anticipated sex scenes (like I was), give up now and go back to the Harlequin romance novels you find at garage sales (NO SHAME—WE ALL DO IT).

Travis and Abby attend Eastern University with Abby’s bff Mare (short for America...ALSO NOT A JOKE) and Travis’s cousin Shepley. When the two main characters start dating, put your sunglasses on because this dumpster fire is bright AF.

Travis Maddox...
-got a tattoo of Abby’s nickname “Pigeon” (that only he calls her and I legitimately have NO IDEA WHY) on his wrist immediately after they make it official
-cannot function unless she is with him holding his hand or cuddling with him at night
-literally destroys his apartment when he wakes up and finds Abby gone the night after they first sleep together
-barely lets any other male within a five mile radius approach her, even if said male is homosexual
-has to be told he can’t talk about marriage all the time because he’s only known Abby for a month...and has been dating her for less than four days

Abby Abernathy...
-is, like, soooooooo amazing at gambling!*~!*~ HOW SCANDALOUS.
-does a shot of whiskey any time there is a slight problem in her life (which is DAILY)
-is totally-for-sure-I-just-got-a-manicure in l❤️ve with Travis, even though she resisted dating him for as long as possible because she KNEW he was toxic
-likes to slut shame all “sorority bitches” and “bimbos” Travis has slept with ONCE, even though she’s head over heels in love with this walking STD

Someone, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, go reread The Host and remind us of how to fight this indisputable alien invasion. I would, but I’ve suffered enough this week.
Profile Image for xrysa.
143 reviews920 followers
April 2, 2013

I think this is my favorite book ! I'm still book hangovered .

Where should I begin?
Ummm , yeah ...

“I belong to my beloved, and my beloved is mine.”

I loved him , many people may consider him as immature but his will for love was unbelievable.
Travis is fighting illegally ,he is hot , he has tattoos and all the girls want to f*ck with him. ( I wonder why?*innocent eyes*)


She was just an innocent girl who fell for someone that reminded her , her past.She bet with Travis and this gave an interesting twist to the whole story. I liked her a lot but there were a few times that I was so pissed off with her!

“I know we're fucked up, alright? I'm impulsive, and hot tempered, and you get under my skin like no one else. You act like you hate me one minute, and then need me the next. I never get anything right, and I don't deserve you...but I fucking love you, Abby. I love you more than I loved anyone or anything ever. When you're around, I don't need booze, or money, or the fighting, or the one-night stands...”

When you are everything for him , how can you not love him??

She broke his heart so many times

“-It's over. Go home.
-You're my home.”

Also there were some moments where evrything was ok!

“I need to hear you say it. I need to know you’re mine.”
“I’ve been yours since the second we met.”

Finally , this ripped my heart apart
“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.”

Profile Image for Jessica Edwards.
Author 20 books798 followers
August 10, 2017
Travis Maddox...well if that name doesn't make you fangirl, I don't know what does.
Thanks to my mother who recommended me this book, otherwise I never would've picked this book up. I went into this book blind because I heard a lot of mixed reviews about it so I didn't know what to really expect when I read this book.
I really really liked it. That's pretty much all I can say. There was nothing I didn't like about it.
I like a hero that's possessive and gets jealous because ultimately it means that the hero does actually care about the heroine. I also think Travis is a good example of the perfect bad boy. He fights, he's popular, has tattoos, drives a motorcycle and sleeps around etc. Travis sleeping with other women didn't bother me at all, I know it probably should bother me, but that just makes me more anxious to see how he wins the girl in the end. Abby was a really good heroine, she was very likable and probably one of the few heroine's I actually enjoyed reading the perspective from.
This book needs to be a movie!!
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,981 followers
May 2, 2017
*Update December 2011 - original rating dropped. I realized after much thought that the ending really bothered me. I wish

Review revised to add a warning : You may cringe at the ridiculous amount of nickname usage in the book.

Beautiful Disaster is an appropriate name for this book. We're talking seriously messed up people with seriously messed up issues, and a book that could possibly glorify this sort of behavior. This couple should have never gotten together. This couple represents everything that you should run away from in a relationship.

Having said that, I found the book to be realistic to a fault. Oh man, someone is going to flame and skewer me for this statement.

But, I'm going to get real here. Volatile and destructive relationships happen. Maybe not to most people, but there is going to a be a select group of people who read this book and think, "holy crap...been there." And I was one of them. I've been in this relationship before. Did it work out? Of course not. Hence, my issues with

Book relationships are often glossed over. Couples come together, and problems are usually just tiny obstacles to the happily ever after. Or...the problems come from a source outside of the couple itself. The world is falling apart, supernatural creatures are invading, etc. The actual problems aren't with the people, but with the hurdles they have to jump before they can be happy.

This book dealt with real issues, real drama, and things that do often happen when people become obsessed in a relationship. Should this be romanticized? Probably not. Does it make for an interesting read? I guess it depends on the reader. I like train wrecks, maybe because I've been inside of them myself in real life. I didn't have my shit together when I was younger, and sometimes it's nice to read about other people who don't always have their shit together. I wish I had been one of these teens in books who seem to have their head on straight, but I was flitting around doing stupid things and hanging out with other people who were doing even stupider things. In that sense, I can relate. Did I grow out of my wicked ways? Haha, I hope so...

Abby and Travis are (and pardon my language) fucked up. Nothing about this relationship is healthy. Even knowing that it was all wrong, I was still rooting for something good to come out of this. It just didn't go down in the way that I would have liked to have seen happen. There was opportunity for the author to take a tough story and turn it into something responsible and this just didn't happen. I say this all the time : I do enjoy reading about flawed characters. Mistakes are fine. People are flawed. People screw up. I just need real growth to happen at some point! For me, the resolution didn't show growth so much as it showed hesitant compromises from people who didn't want to lose each other. Again, been there. It's called desperation and fear of losing the other person, so you tentatively make concessions in order to keep them. Again, that's the relationship doomed to fail without some sort of hardcore change or therapy.

I feel bad for going back and picking apart a book that I enjoyed reading to start. Train wrecks are pretty damn entertaining. Travis had issues and scared the shit out of me, but his vulnerability and fears reached out to the part of me that wants to comfort hurting people. The responsible side of me says that he's damaged goods and women need to run far, far away. The empathetic side of me wants to just cuddle him. I have a weakness for people who are hurting and in real life, those are the people I would reach out to - the people who want love, but don't know how to make it happen.

I'd only recommend this book for older teens and up. There was a lot of smoking, drinking, fighting, sex, womanizing, etc. Even though the drama made it feel a little younger, the content was more adult in nature.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
May 1, 2019
quick reread because i couldnt remember this being as problematic as people are saying.

and yeah, its a pretty dysfunctional relationship and no way would i condone any of the characters behaviour in real life. but thats the beauty of fiction - to read about experiences that you would never be exposed to otherwise. i think as long as the reader is aware of unhealthy behaviour and relationships, there shouldnt be an issue reading about it. i think its when people cant distinguish fiction from reality, thats when it becomes dangerous (also, obviously, if content is triggering, then one should definitely avoid it).

but for me, i loved all the drama and possessiveness and passion and angst. would i want any of this in my personal life? no way, jose. but i dont mind reading about tattooed bad boys one bit. lol.

4 stars
Profile Image for Ridley.
359 reviews327 followers
March 25, 2012
I can't really be bothered to write my usual style of review. I'm the last person on the planet to read it, so summarizing the plot just seems a waste of time. Instead, I'm going to skip straight to my criticism.

First off, if you don't like first person narration, this is not the book that will change your mind. It uses the device particularly poorly. Our narrator, the heroine, at times has too much insight into the minds of others and at other times has too little knowledge of her own mind. None of her personality comes through in the narration. She just describes what she and the people around her did, using a flat, emotionless sort of voice. It was like the story was written in third person then run through a find/replace to switch the pronouns. Abby thinks bizarre things like:
I looked down to my plate, letting the long strands of my caramel hair create a curtain between us.
and mangles grammar like:
Kara was reading ahead in her brand-new books, grimacing at America and I when we walked in.

Secondly, I think this early bit of characterization says it all about Travis:
He had tattoos on opposite sides of his chest, and black tribal art covering each of his bulging shoulders.
Since tribal tattoo = douchebag, the fact that he's a misogynist asshole didn't surprise me too much:
“I don’t promise anyone anything, Pidge. She didn’t stipulate a relationship before she spread eagle on my couch.”

I stared at the couch with revulsion. “She’s someone’s daughter, Travis. What if, down the line, someone treats your daughter like that?”

“My daughter better not drop her panties for some jackass she just met, let’s put it that way.”
Nice sex negative message there, don't you think? Abby the virgin is a good girl. All of Travis' past one night stands are referred to as "sluts," "bimbos," "whores" and "Barbie dolls." Abby joins right in with Travis on the slut shaming, making it plain that the sexual double standard isn't just a character flaw of Travis', it's an assumption that drives the narrative. Women who enjoy sex are dirty sluts who don't deserve respect in this story's world, and that's some sad internalized misogyny.

Next up is how Travis is a textbook abuser archetype. He never hits Abby or any other woman in the book, but he exhibits every quality present in your average domestic abuser. He has a violent temper when he doesn't get his way:
“He took a swing at Shep when he found out we helped you leave. Abby! Please tell me!” she pleaded, her eyes glossing over. “It’s scaring me!”

The fear in her eyes forced only the partial truth. “I just couldn’t say goodbye. You know it’s hard for me.”

“It’s something else, Abby. He’s gone fucking nuts! I heard him call your name, and then he stomped all over the apartment looking for you. He barged into Shep’s room, demanding to know where you were. Then he tried to call you. Over, and over and over,” she sighed. “His face was…Jesus, Abby. I’ve never seen him like that.

“He ripped his sheets off the bed, and threw them away, threw his pillows away, shattered his mirror with his fist, kicked his door…broke it from the hinges! It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!”
He's possessive, even after Abby's broken up with him:
“I love you. I can’t let other guys dance with you.”
He's quick to violence when he feels he's been insulted:
Travis lifted Finch’s tray off the table and swung it into Chris’ face, knocking him off his chair. Chris tried to scramble under the table, but Travis pulled him out by his legs, and then began to wail on him.

Chris curled into a ball, and then Travis kicked him in the back. Chris arched and turned, holding his hands out, allowing Travis to land several punches to his face. The blood began to flow, and Travis stood up, winded.
And, most importantly, he sees nothing wrong with his behavior. I'm not a sheltered delicate flower. I'm a hockey fan who has been in her fair share of scraps over the years. I don't think a violent temper necessarily makes someone a predator. What makes Travis a predator, to my mind, is how his violent attacks on people outside the fight ring aren't treated as a personality flaw. These actions are not only not condemned by the characters or narrative, they're actually held up as examples of his love for and devotion to Abby. Viciously bloodying an innocent bystander's nose is treated as a heroic act.

All that said, had this book ended at its halfway point, I think I would have begrudgingly given it 4* for being a cracktastic trip back to college to stroll down Bad Life Decisions Lane. It encapsulated the self-centered, impulsive, emotional and dramatic whirlwind that is young adulthood in a way adult contemporary romance does not. I know, as someone who graduated from college more than a decade ago, that Travis is bad news and that Abby's a head case, but college is the time for bad behavior. I would've liked an indication from the narrative that they were all screwed up and/or getting away with something, but it was seductive to go back to a time where you didn't know any better and you felt free to take crazy risks.

Unfortunately, the author seems to have been unable to part with her characters and spent the second half writing her own fan fiction where Abby and Travis have Adventures! and break up and make up along the way. There's a beyond bizarre trip to Vegas that comes out of fucking nowhere. Abby's father is pointlessly introduced and forgotten about in an abrupt fashion. There's a throwaway sub-plot involving a mobster and a brush with death just to seal the deal. Where the first half of the book follows a nice dramatic arc, the second half is a half-witted sine wave shamelessly stalling the HEA. Bleh.

In the end, the gratuitous violence, misogyny, poor writing and uneven pacing team up to make this a sub par read for me. I'm not going to wring my hands over the terrible message this sends to YA readers, because I don't think fiction works on people like that, but neither can I enjoy something with such glaring negative themes in it. McGuire has a knack for telling a story, but I can't ignore the flaws in this to enjoy it. 2*
Profile Image for SueBee★bring me an alpha!★.
2,417 reviews14.2k followers
August 15, 2017

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★★★★★! The Beautiful series, book 1 & 2. Read both books together concurrently! A truly unforgettable experience!

“When you’re around, I don’t need booze or money or the fighting or the one-night stands … all I need is you. You’re all I think about. You’re all I dream about. You’re all I want.”

There have been over 18,000 reviews of this series already, so why must I post another one? Well, I do feel the need to say something in tribute of the one and only Travis ‘Mad Dog’ Maddox!

But first, I did something different – I read both books together concurrently and I really enjoyed it. Abby’s POV (book 1) serves as the backbone of the series and then Travis’ POV (book 2) adds to it and it’s such a treat to read his thoughts and feeling – to get even closer to the enigma that is Travis Maddox.
Whether you are planning to re-read or if you have not read series yet, I highly recommend you read them together in tandem. The experience was epic! Here is the order I recommend:

Book 1 – Chapter 1
Book 2 – Prologue, Chapter 1 & 2
Book 1 – Chapter 2
Book 2 – Chapter 3, 4, 5 & 6
Book 1 – Chapter 3 & 4
Book 2 – Chapter 7, 8, 9 & 10
Book 1 – Chapter 5
Book 2 – Chapter 11
Book 1 – Chapter 6
Book 2 – Chapter 12
Book 1 – Chapter 7
Book 2 – Chapter 13
Book 1 – Chapter 8
Book 2 – Chapter 14
Book 1 – Chapter 9
Book 2 – Chapter 15 & 16
Book 1 – Chapter 10
Book 2 – Chapter 17
Book 1 – Chapter 11 & 12
Book 2 – Chapter 18
Book 1 – Chapter 13 & 14
Book 2 – Chapter 19
Book 1 – Chapter 15 & 16
Book 2 – Chapter 20, 21 & 22
Book 1 – Chapter 17
Book 2 – Chapter 23
Book 1 – Chapter 18
Book 2 – Chapter 24
Book 1 – Chapter 19 & 20
Book 2 – Chapter 25
Book 1 – Chapter 21 & 22
Book 2 – Chapter 26 & 27
Book 1 – Epilogue
Book 2 – Epilogue (be sure to save for last!)

The story opens up with Travis and Abby both attending Eastern University. She is a freshman, but Travis has a few years of College under his belt. Abby’s best friend, America is dating Travis’ cousin/roommate, Shepley. Their first meeting takes place at one of Travis’ underground fights hosted by the “Circle”. He spots her in the crowd and is instantly smitten and so their whirlwind romance begins. Nothing short of a roller-coaster with Abby’s secrets and Travis’ past. They are perfect together, yet their story will be filled with many ups and downs:

“Now that it’s over, I wish I could have all the bad stuff back… just so I could have the good.”

Travis ‘Mad Dog’ Maddox is larger-than-life. He is everything I could ask for in a hero and so much more. Until he met Abby he was an enigmatic, hard, cocky, short-tempered and unattainable man-whore. It is revealed early on that he lost his mother at age three and was left to be raised by his oldest brother while his father recovered from the loss of his wife. His mother had this advice for him on her death bed:

“One of these days you’re going to fall in love, son. Don’t settle for just anyone. Choose the girl that doesn’t come easy, the one you have to fight for…”

He grew up not letting anyone in. He has love for his five brothers and his father plus his cousin, but no woman has ever held his attention until Abby.

“I decided a long time ago I would feed on the vultures until a dove came along. A pigeon. The kind of soul that didn’t impede on anyone; just walked around worrying about its own business, trying to get through life without pulling everyone else down with its own needs and selfish habits. Brave. A communicator. Intelligent. Beautiful. Soft-spoken. A creature that mates for life. Unattainable until she has a reason to trust you.”

Abby Abernathy has a past and secrets. Attending Eastern University is a new beginning for her. She has it all planned out from staying focused and keeping her distance to the type of man she wants to date. Travis does not fit the bill:

“He was the worst kind of confident. Not only was he shamelessly aware of his appeal, he was so used to women throwing themselves at him that he regarded my cool demeanor as refreshing instead of an insult.”

Instead she agrees to be his friend:

“His eyes widened and he quivered with howling laughter. “Oh my God! You’re killing me! That’s it. We have to be friends. I won’t take no for an answer.”

But all too soon they spend all their time fighting their attraction to each other. Abby manages to be annoying about it while Travis is intense, adorable, possessive and insecure all at once. Because Abby is what Travis wants you’ll find yourself rooting for him and for them and for their happily-ever-after.

“You like Pigeon,” he said defensively. “It’s a dove, an attractive girl, a winning card in poker, take your pick. You’re my Pigeon.”

Jamie McGuire is an excellent storyteller! Travis Maddox is an unforgettable hero! The Beautiful series is an epic must-read!

“I didn’t know I was lost until you found me. I didn’t know what alone was until the first night I spent without you in my bed. You’re the one thing I’ve got right. You’re what I’ve been waiting for, Pigeon.”

Hero rating: 5+ stars
Heroine rating: 3.5 stars
Sex scenes rating: 5 stars
Sex scenes frequency: 4.5 stars
Storyline concept rating: 5 stars
Storytelling skills rating: 5 stars
Story ending rating: 5 stars
Book editing rating (5 = no edits spotted): 5 stars
Overall rating: 5 stars

Would I recommend this series: Yes.
Would I re-read this series: Maybe later.
Would I read future books by this author: Yes.

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