Book review: Jamie McGuire’s “Beautiful Disaster


This is model Rob Devita.

Those who know me in real life know that I have a particular weakness for “bad” boys with tattoos. If you tell me that a halfway nice looking guy has tattoos, they become immensely more attractive to me.

As such, Travis Maddox from “Beautiful Disaster” should be a guy that’s right up my alley. A tattooed, lean-muscled underground fighter with an aptitude for academics? It’s like Jamie McGuire read my high school diary or something.

But online opinion on “Beautiful Disaster” is divided, to say the least. There’s a fierce, pro-Travis Maddox club that think he’s just the bee’s knees, while there are those who think he’s disturbing and probably abusive.

The schism interested me enough that I picked up a copy of “Beautiful Disaster” just to see which camp I would find myself in.

beautiful_disaster_jamie_mcguire_a_pAbby Abernathy is your quintessential good girl — or at least she looks the part. Frumpy cardigans, perfect attendance record, and a firm resolve to stay away from her college’s resident bad boy, Travis Maddox.

However, Travis is intent on not letting her out of his sight. After a harebrained bet forces Abby to spend a whole month in Travis’ apartment, he’s convinced that he can win her over. But as their time together progresses, it becomes clear that Abby is more than just the good girl front that she puts up.

When the two finally decide to have a relationship, it is as explosive and volatile as their first meeting. But when their past and their personalities start to chip away at their present arrangement, will they have the strength to stand together or will they wilt before the heat of their own  unpredictable passions?

As much as I would have wanted to start reading “Beautiful Disaster” without any bias, it was impossible to do so. There’s McGuire’s involvement in the whole Goodreads drama llama early in 2012, as well as her hounding readers on Amazon. Not particularly endearing for an author, yes? So I started reading this book very biased.

By the time I put it down, I’d learned — and un-learned — enough information to form my own opinion about the book. Some things weren’t as intense as I thought they would be, but some things were as horrible as I was led to believe. And some things were just plain stupid.

What were the things that I liked? On a purely physical level, I really liked Travis Maddox. Like I said earlier in this post, it’s like Jamie McGuire read my high school diary or something.

The moments in the book when Travis was being sweet and sappy, as well as the sex scenes, were also doing it for me, but only when I examined them separate from everything else that happens in the book. I mean, who doesn’t like being given a puppy? And I have to admit a guy getting a tattoo because of me is something I’ve fantasized about for I don’t know how long.

While there was most definitely abusive behavior going on, it wasn’t as intense as I thought it was ging to be. From most reviews, I thought that Abby was going to get herself beat up. She doesn’t, but Travis does almost hit her accidentally and he’s really apologetic about it. That doesn’t make the rest of the abusive behavior that goes on in the books any better, though.

The abusive behavior that was in the book was definitely as horrible as I was led to believe. I like a little possessiveness in a guy, but to beat up people who look at you in a way he thinks is inappropriate? To actively prevent other guys from going out with you by threatening them with possible violence? Not cool. And the controlling behavior? Only cool when it’s pre-arranged and in a safe BDSM environment.

And while I was adequately prepared for that, what I wasn’t prepared for was how stupid some of the plot points were, and how hilariously Mary and Marty Stu Abby and Travis were, no matter how messed up they were portrayed in the book.

I mean, seriously, a lean, mean tattooed fighting machine who also aces his academics? And look! Abby not only attracts the school’s top two guys, she also has magical poker playing powers. Amy and Tina are having none of that shit.


And what was the deal with the “sacredness” of that bet? It was just a bet! It’s not like it’s a binding legal contract! It won’t stand in court! And the utter hilarity of “I’ll give him my virginity so he’ll stay away from me!” and “Hello, date! Don’t worry about that hot guy I share the same bed with, we’re just friends!”

tumblr_mf53i7ALef1qcq7oaAnd on a totally personal note — because apparently I’m the only one that had this problem — who freaking names their child “America” and then comes up with “Mare” as a nickname? Where the hell did that come from? All I kept thinking in my head was mare = female horse, and I kept thinking America was Vice Ganda. And Vice Ganda is way more entertaining.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend “Beautiful Disaster” to any of you fine folks. There are worse books out there, but there are also books that are a lot better that you can spend your money on.

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7 thoughts on “Book review: Jamie McGuire’s “Beautiful Disaster”

  1. Oh my, this book is simply a mess. I do not get why people like this book at all. Honestly, I don’t. The only person remotely likeable in this steaming pile of caca is Kara.

    1. I can get why they would like Travis ON A PURELY PHYSICAL LEVEL. But the way he was characterized in the book? Bad news bears!

      And the story? I could have been okay with the wish fulfillment aspect if it weren’t for the whole abusive behavior going on.

      1. I have to agree with you on the attractiveness of Travis’ physique and the Bad Boy vibe he’s got going. It’s not my type, personally, but the archetype has been popular since time immemorial.
        However, McGuire’s portrayal of a bad boy isn’t romantic at all. Frankly, it’s disturbing and un-sexy (Pigeon? Really?). His abusiveness almost makes Edward saint-like. The people around him don’t help at all. Shep is an enabler while America is so wishy-washy about Travis and Abby. One moment she wants her to stay away from him, the next she urges her to hook up with him.

          1. The name America itself is a bit tacky when used in fiction. It’s such a loaded word. Anyway, what about Brazil? Brazil as a personal name is much worse.

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