Review: “Beautiful Disaster” by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Goodreads | Amazon

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, 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.

One star

Thank you to NetGalley for this ecopy! Beautiful Disasteris already in stores.

Warning: This book contains language, sex, blood, violence and gambling.

You know, technically, there is very little wrong with this book.

It catches your emotions, it invests you into the characters and it never stops moving. In any other book, this would garner a much higher rating. But there is a problem. Actually, there are a lot of them. Let me list off a few technical things, and then get to the big problem:

#1 Travis is actually an unlikeable character. He needs a life. And depth of any kind. Not acting like he needs bipolar medication.

#2 Abby. UNLIKEABLE. Totally off kilter. Acts like a nice girl and then a bad girl back and forth like a pendulum. Her character has the attempt at depth, but the book is too much of a yoyo for it to be anything but weird.

#3 Supporting characters are also lackluster and fairly disastrous themselves.

#4 Plot twists. Too many of them. Also, too many of them are totally unbelievable and contrived to make the book work.

#5 The language. (Not the kind you think!) Any girl besides America and Abby in this book is referred to as a bimbo, slut, stupid, STD-infected, etc. These two are CLEARLY not angels, but why is EVERY other girl worse than the two girls in crazy, possessive relationships?

But now we get to the real problem…

I cannot justify championing the kind of relationship on display in this book.

Yes, yes, I understand that Abby makes Travis a better person. I understand that together they work out. But the problem is the fairytale they’re perpetrating—something girls shouldn’t be made to believe in.

Travis a violent guy. He is a drunk. HE IS A VIOLENT DRUNK. Even when he is trying to be sweet, he’s beating people up and completely controlling Abby’s life. They aren’t together, but he won’t let her date other guys. He messes up her dates. He completely blows up at her.

This is called a possessive guy, ladies. And not matter how much we want to believe they will change, Abby and Travis’s story isn’t the norm. It’s the exception. It’s the mother of all exceptions.

I have watched friends go through possessive relationships. I have seen how shattered they are when they come out. Right at this moment, I have to live watching a dear, dear friend have her life dictated to her by a boy who says he loves her and only wants what’s best for her.

All throughout this book, my stomach was twisting and churning, bringing forth all these memories. Just the things I watched happen this very evening. As much as I want to believe that this is real life, that every girl can have a happy ending, I just can’t forgive this book for trying to say it’s possible.

SPOILERS AHEAD

I mean, does Abby even get a happy ending? She has this turbulent, violent relationship, almost dies and then she marries the guy at nineteen? On top of everything else. I understand that there have been plenty of marriages that have lasted from that age, but again—they are no longer the norm. I ESPECIALLY don’t want girls in possessive relationships MARRYING the guy just because they think that will bring him inner piece, as happens with Travis.

SPOILERS END

All and all, I have too many personal opinions that killed this book for me. I have nothing against the author and totally believe the book has the best of intentions, but I can’t get past my own mental blocks. I cannot recommend this book to other girls, for fear of the example it will set. For fear of the message it would send. In the hands of my dear friend, this book would be ammunition, reason to stick it out even longer in the belief that time with tame her guy and eventually he’ll calm down and learn to trust her completely. Maybe she’ll think she has to take gigantic steps to prove it to him.

They say trust isn’t given; it’s earned. But relationships are built on trust—they DO NOT end with it. They grow with it. Possessiveness is NOT an attractive quality, and very rarely—if ever—does it have a happy ending. EVERY SINGLE PERSON deserves better, guy or girl. As someone who can’t stand to watch one more person go through this kind of thing, I’m begging you:

Trust that you deserve to be loved the right way.

Trust that you deserve the right kind of guy—you don’t have to settle.

Trust that you deserve to be trusted.

Please. Don’t wait for the fairytales that might never come. No matter how many books and movies out there that make you want to believe.

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Top Ten Books On My Fall T-B-Reviewed List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

It’s a TTT Rewind week! For this one, I’m fudging the criteria a little. I thought it was really cool to show what reviews are coming up on the blog when I did this on September 4, so I’m going to do it again! And tell me if you’d rather see it never ever again.

1. Katya’s World by Jonathan L. Howard

I actually haven’t read a dystopian in ever, so I’m really excited to take another dip back into it. This one just strikes me as different for some reason, and I hope it lives up to it’s expectations. Look for this one October 12th.

2. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

I have had this since JUNE and it’s KILLING me that I haven’t read it yet. But the release date still isn’t til November, so here we are a crapton of months later. Luckly, this review is finally coming October 19th!

3. Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to their Teen Selves edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally

This one has a really long title for not such a big book. But anyways. I have a physical copy of this sucker and I’m so happy because there are some high flying names in this one! I can’t wait to share it with you, even if I have no idea how to review it. This review will appear in some fashion on October 22nd.

4. The Messenger by Pamela DuMond

This book has, for some reason, switched titles and covers since I signed up for the blog tour, but I digress. This is the stuff Goodreads is using now, so don’t shoot me if it’s wrong. But, anyways, this is a blog tour and there will be a review and all will be discovered on October 25th.

5. Undeadly by Michele Vail

I consider myself to be lucky to have an ARC of this, considering I never realized the release date had been pushed back to November and it just happened to show up amid the chaos that is the new NetGalley. Look for a review October 29th – just in time for Halloween!

6. Endlessly by Kiersten White

This is the one and only book on this list that I have actually already read. Read a while ago, too. But I kept pushing it back for other scheduled blog tours and author interviews. I REFUSE to bump it ANOTHER month, so November 1st it is!

7. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

This is another one I keep pushing back, half because it was published ages ago and so I had to make room for newer releases and half because the reviews that came out all frightened me half to death. This should be interesting. Mark your calenders for November 2nd.

8. Velvet by Mary Hooper

This is a new acquisition that I’m VERY excited about. It’s fantasy, but it’s also historical and I LOVE IT when those two things mix. Hopefully it’ll live up to my expectations. You’ll see November 5th!

9. Secrets by Tim Mettey

This one actually doesn’t have a cover or a Goodreads page yet, but I JUST got my ARC in the mail and that’s very exciting. This one is scheduled for November 12th.

10. Renegade by J. A. Souders

Now I don’t actually have this one yet, but it does come out November 13th so Tor/Forge should be sending it to me some time before that. I have no idea when the review will go live, but it’s possible it’ll throw at least half these dates out of whack. 😛

Stacking the Shelves #5

Hi guys! Here’s this week’s Stacking the Shelves, as hosted by Tynga’s Reviews!

Blog Tour:

Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy – Goodreads

For Review:

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire – Goodreads

The Unfailing Light by Robin Bridges – Goodreads

Bought:

Captive Queen by Alison Weir – Goodreads

Figures in Silk by Vanora Bennett – Goodreads

Fudoki by Kij Johnson – Goodreads

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente – Goodreads

Discount Armaggedon by Seanan McGuire – Goodreads

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross – Goodreads

Gilt by Katherine Longshore – Goodreads

Endlessly by Kiersten White – Goodreads