Review: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1) by Jamie McGuire

book reviewing-01

beautiful disasterTitle: Beautiful Disaster
Jamie McGuire
Beautiful, #1
Date(s) read:
January 7, 2013
New adult
Purchased (Paperback)


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.

my thoughts-01

When I finished reading this book, I struggled majorly on how to rate it — I liked it and it kept me turning the pages until the very end, but there were some definite things in it that bothered me. I figured to rate it in the middle of the road felt about right — even if I finished wanting to continue on with the series and didn’t find it as bad as some people said it was.

Personally, I really like stories that involve a really good girl getting together with a really bad boy. The relationship between Abby and Travis was just that — at times, it felt like a normal relationship, but there were other times where it felt just a little too intense. I feel like teenagers or young adults who are reading this book might feel like that’s the norm for relationships, when it really isn’t.

I liked Abby’s character and felt like she had a good head on her shoulders, and so did Travis to an extent. I liked the idea of him fighting for money and I liked some of the situations he and Abby got into , but there were other times where I felt like it was a little much. I guess that’s why I felt like it was a good thing these characters were in college because it made the story have some semblence of being believable.

The writing felt very accessible, even if the story felt a little long. Like I said, I was so interested the whole way through, but there were times where I thought there was just too much going on and too many things happening in one book. And, again, that message that love has to be all-encompassing — especially a first love — seemed a little dangerous.

Of course, even when I think that, I am a romantic at heart and kind of liked the idea that Travis and Abby seemed made for one another, ready to do whatever it takes to be together — even if that bordered on being a very disfunctional relationship. Yeah, there was some hokey things going on, and some unbelievable things (like moving in with a strange boy on a bet, having to sleep in his bed, etc.), but I still really liked the story. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it was one of those stories that just wasn’t as bad as people had made it out to be.

With all the issues I had, I still want to read the next book in the series which is told from Travis’s point of view. I feel like it might explain some of the issues I had with him.


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28 thoughts on “Review: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1) by Jamie McGuire

  1. Hmmm, interesting review. I just read another review that had nothing but praises for this book, so it’s nice to get a different opinion. I can understand your reservations completely. Maybe the book was very aptly named after all? 😉

  2. I have heard SUCH mixed review of this one. Every time I think maybe I’ll look into reading it, I read another negative (read: scathing) review that makes me decide against it. Then I’ll read a mixed or positive review, and consider it again. Ultimately I think I’m curious about it, but not yet curious enough to read it. I am glad you enjoyed it, Kristilyn! Your review definitely puts forth some perspectives on it I haven’t seen before, so yay!

  3. I agree with you on so much of your review, especially this: “I feel like teenagers or young adults who are reading this book might feel like that’s the norm for relationships, when it really isn’t.” I feel that way about so many “new adult” books these days, even Twilight to an extent. I’m nervous that teens reading about this kind of a relationship think it’s the only “true” romance and not recognize that a relationship doesn’t have to be tumultuous to be love.

    • Yes! We need more books that promote HEALTHY relationships — or at least a relationship that is more real. I feel like teens would be expecting a romance like this when it’s just not real.

  4. I liked this one and didn’t understand all the drama about it either. Maybe they had taken some stuff out when it got picked up by a publisher, who knows. I did feel like the first half of the book could have been a book on its own. I wasn’t big on the second half and that’s when it started dragging for me. Great review! I can’t wait to get inside Travis’s head in Walking Disaster (If you didn’t know, that one is on NG now)

    • That definitely might be it — books can change once they’re picked up by the publisher! And I was pre-approved for Walking Distaster! I hope I can read it soon. 🙂

  5. I find it funny that we both posted reviews on this one today! I absolutely loved this one though. I never read reviews for books before I read them, so I really didn’t know that there were a bunch of bad reviews out there. I do agree that Travis’ feelings were a bit strong, acting like he needed her to live, but, he did get past that point (well pretended to) I think given enough time if they did decide not to give it another chance, he might have recovered.

    I’m a new fan of NA though. I like the college age.. lol

    I also like that she tried to be just his friend at first because of his reputation. I too love the good girl + bad guy combo 🙂

    Great review!

  6. There are so many mixed opinions about this book! It makes me really unsure about reading it, but I do think I’ll read it eventually…and I’ll probably be like you and not think it’s nearly as bad as people say since I think the same thing about Twilight. 😛

    I loved your review though, and I’m glad that you mentioned that people do say bad things about it…and the fact that you didn’t think it was so bad reassures me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kristilyn! This is a great review! 😀

  7. I really enjoyed this one and the flawed characters, I rated it a four, but I also felt Abby was equally as damaged as Travis and that his bad boy persona was just an outward reflection of his fear of commitment. Walking Disaster really gave us a much better perspective of both characters. Wonderful review Kritilyn

  8. I like good girl/bad boy stories too. What can I say, I’m a fan of cliches. However, I wasn’t really into this book. I do agree that the writing is accessible though! It’s pretty easy to read. Great review!

  9. The more I read about this book, the more I’m sure it’s not for me. I’m not big on the bad boys or the dysfunctional relationships and I really don’t read that much contemporary.

    Oh well you can’t like them all!

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  12. I’m not particularly tempted to pick up this book, as I’m fairly certain I’m going to be one of the people who has a problem with it. I’ve heard it’s easy to read, which is always a good thing, but I’m not so sure I’d like this boy. HOWEVER, I don’t think that says anything about how good/bad it is, as I’m sure other people will LOVE it – like my sister.

  13. This is definitely one I had major problems with (though I’m curious after reading the comment above; maybe they did edit it substantially?), and I can’t see a lot of good in the relationship it depicts or the themes. However I can say that this author is talented at writing, because it kept me reading and wanting to know what happened even while I was totally cursing out the characters and scenarios in my mind.

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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