This book was taken from Netgalley with the permission of the Publisher.
JAMIE McGUIRE is the author of the Providence trilogy and the New York Bestselling Novel – Beautiful Disaster.
(Picture of the author: Jamie McGuire)
The cover was wonderful. I love that in the center it’s lighter and grows darker as it expands to the edges of the book. It’s very much like the toaster effect on instagram. The dark butterfly in contrast to the brightest spot on the jar (and book) is a nice touch. The title was a smart idea as well. The world beautiful is a basic black in cursive font while disaster is in red and in all caps. The duality of it really shows on the cover and fits wells with the synopsis.
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend America, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.
Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the charming college co-ed. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’ apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
[Warning: This review might have some spoilers]
This book *huffs* was a letdown. It starts off as a college romance and then veers off into 50 Shades of Grey territory (minus the S&M). The first half was great. I read it as soon as I got it and was half way through in 3-4 hours (2 and ½ of those hours was at work). When I got to the second half, I was confused as well as irritated. Mobs and professional poker players are thrown into the story so easily as though it was an ill-advised adverb and the so called secret Abby had was anti-climactic. It was overdramatized, accelerated and the entire book was far too long as it drags along like a zombie dragging its rotting corpse despite limbs breaking off. It was a hot mess.
What was really disturbing for me was the story’s undertone. Just like its 50 Shades of Grey counterpart, you have a severely unhealthy relationship that has been romanticized but at least E. L. James had the sense to make it adult. This book is being marketed as young adult and this has me worried for the teen girls who might get in their heads that as long as you love someone enough, nothing can harm you…
Shallow. This book was clearly a plot driven story versus character driven which probably explains why the language used is so simplistic and the bare minimum required for communication.
All of the characters were one dimensional. There were so many melodrama moments that consisted of shouting matches, breaks, and make ups that didn’t make sense and were likely added to create tension. It did the opposite.
I liked him at the beginning. He’s your typical bad boy and someone that you’d admire from afar. The fact that he does well in school despite being labeled the “bad boy” made me like him more. Then things changed. Travis is the perfect example of a guy you SOULDN’T date. He has anger management issues, he’s manic one moment and then angry/depressed the next and he’ll beat the living crap out of guy who looks at his girlfriend. His obsession with Abby is not cute but a little frightening and I wouldn’t be surprised to see domestic violence in his future…
While the characters in the book are one dimensional, they’re more developed than our protagonist. Travis was a player who fell in love with Abby and thus changing him from playboy to boyfriend. Yet, the author doesn’t offer any reason as to why this is. Nothing in the book has shown me something interesting or unique or substantive about Abby that caused this relationship. One reviewer said that the author might have created the protagonist as a placeholder in order to allow the reader to put themselves in the story. One of my biggest pet peeves about Abby was a) she went back to Travis after rightfully dumping him for no other reason other than she loves him. He’s still the same b) she gives the reader insight into what the other characters are thinking (which makes no sense because how would she know?) but is clueless about what she is feeling/thinking. She’s started out a strong protagonist but then wilted into a weak one.
She’s Abby’s roommate at the residence and is a minor character in the book but I love her. She’s the only sane person and I hate that she’s often demonized when all she’s really doing is being normal. She’s the only one to say to Abby that her relationship with the Travis is a co-dependent one which is unhealthy. Yay, Kara!
Memorable or Forgettable:
One thing I can say that’s a good thing about this book is that it’s addictive. No matter how many times you shake your head or roll your eyes at the absurdities, you will finish it. Unfortunately, 50 Shades of Grey will have one thing that it won’t have: a memorable story. Whether you hate it or love it, you will always remember the S&M story that was based on Twilight. You won’t, however, remember this book.
I give this 1 disturbed reader out of 5.
Keep on reading,
A. A. Omer
The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.