14 August 2012

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

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.
This book was so ridiculous -- so dramatic, so poorly executed, so pitiful -- that there was no way I could take it seriously.  It was shallow beyond compare; it even beat out ABC Family dramas in my eyes.  But.  It was a very entertaining read.  A simple guilty pleasure for nothing but dramadramadrama.  If you, dear reader, are expecting a Sarah Dessen/Kody Keplinger style serious story, this is not the book you're looking for.  If you wanna kick back, go through the simple act of reading without getting emotionally involved, this is totally it.

My words might seem harsh, but I enjoyed the book.  I finished it in two days.  I liked reading it.  I just couldn't take it seriously.  It went from shallow but cute to absolutely, downright ridiculous.

Abby and Travis's relationship was formed and shaped by extremes -- extremes that could've been prevented by good ole common sense.  But then it wouldn't be fun, right?  Abby was a nightmare.  I never bothered trying to like her character -- there was too much that I couldn't agree with from the get go.  Didn't help that she was just plain dumb.  And she strung Travis around like a broken kite.  Their relationship was so messed up, I couldn't even...Good grief.  None of it made sense.

If that's supposed to be the point, then kudos.  This obviously wasn't the book that would win the gold in my eyes.  By the time I'd surpassed the first third of the book, I knew the rest of it would be impossible to take seriously.  The plot was predictable, shallow and sloppy.  Constant ups and downs -- breakups and takebacks.  The whole time, I'm going WTF?  They'd break up, sleep together, break up again...and all the while, they're kissing and acting like they were dating regardless of whether they were or not.  Two people who couldn't get their senses together enough to pick a decision and believe in it enough to stick to it?  They deserve what they get.

The best part, though, was the dialogue.  Jamie McGuire did a lot with dialogue -- very little with prose in general.  A lot of the characters' personalities came out through what they said, which gave the book its own unique air.  It was also hilarious.  I loved the humor.  I was constantly laughing from what the characters would say, though the rest of the time I was laughing about their stupidity.

This story easily fits any of the top pop love songs.  Since it's so cookie-cutter, it fits to: "Payphone" by Maroon 5, "Wild Ones" by Flo Rida, "Glad You Came" by The Wanteds, "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars and even "Just a Kiss" by Lady Antebellum.  Travis totally had that "That's What Makes You Beautiful" thing going on about Abby and Abby...she doesn't get a song because she was so unstable.

It was a crazy story, and I would recommend it to any of you, dear readers, as long as you try not to take it too seriously.  Because it's ridiculous.  And even though I knew full well it was ridiculous, I read it.  It was like taking a break from reality in the best possible way.  People doing stupid things, making stupid decisions, feeling stupid emotions.  It worked out in the end.

My heart pounded in my chest. With a pink cashmere cardigan and pearl earrings, I felt like a schoolmarm on the beaches of Normandy.
"Good thing Morgan's boilers are out. You'll need a cold shower after getting ogled by that tall drink of water."
"It looks like Vegas threw up on a flock of vultures," America sneered.
I turned over on the bed. "You are officially fired. You are a terrible conscience."
Book Info
  • pages - paperback, 416
  • published - August 14, 2012 (originally 2011)
  • publisher - Atria Books
  • genre - contemporary
  • received via - NetGalley
  • rating - 3/5
  • series - Beautiful
    • Beautiful Disaster
    • Walking Disaster (coming 2013) 

More Info