Beautiful Disaster (Jamie McGuire) – Midway Review!

So I bought this book called Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire last week. The book has good reviews (avg. 4 stars on and it’s also a series book, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but I thought it was best to do a midway review, just so that there’s a record of my thoughts literally as I’m going through the book. If I just write a review once I’m finished, then my final thoughts will probably end up overshadowing my initial thoughts and I don’t want that to happen because I want to give an honest review. So here goes…

I’m seven chapters in so far, but I’ll start with the opening chapter… Opening chapters are super important, everybody knows that. They introduce your main characters and they set the scene and they hook your readers – therefore ensuring that they move on to the following chapter. Well the opening chapter did intrigue me, so McGuire did a good job.

We’re introduced to Travis Maddox – deliberate characterisation here in terms of his name. He is mad when he fights, hence Mad-dox. Clever, huh? McGuire crafts our love interest using hyperbole and striking cliches. He’s your typical bad boy. Takes part in underground fights, has sleeves of tattoos, rides a motorcycle, swears, sleeps around and is notorious around the university campus for his promiscuity. 

Now, whenever I meet a character like this in books I absolutely HAVE to keep reading, because I’m immediately wondering whether there is any contrasting layers to the character. For example, does Travis have a soft side? Or is he just the man-whore everybody knows him to be? If he does have a soft side, who does he reveal it to? And if he only reveals it to particular people, why?

After reading chapter one, I had the burning desire to discover whether Travis has a vulnerable side or not. And as I have kept reading, I’m in two minds… I can’t figure out whether he is a sweet guy looking for something more than just sex or whether he is just a disturbed psychopath. Wondering where the psychopath element is coming from? All will be revealed later.

In the same chapter we also meet Abby Abernathy, the voice of the story. She’s described as a virgin, although I’ll be honest here and say that she really doesn’t act like one. Maybe there is no typical virginal image, or maybe there is and she just goes against it. But I just thought that as a virgin, she might be a little bit reluctant to sleep in bed with a half naked Travis every single night. After all, he is known for having sex with every girl on campus. Not the ideal choice of room mate for an innocent little virgin is it?

Also, I hate to say this, but she is a little bit annoying so far. For example, she has this obsession in the first few chapters with emphasising that she is resistant to Travis’ allure. But no. You’re actually not Abby, because you sleep in his bed every night and even though you hate to admit it, you are still charmed by him. She’s happy to do all the things that couples would do (eating lunch together, going for dinner, letting him in to the bathroom while she’s showering etc…) in a relationship, yet she is in striking denial about how she feels for him. She keeps emphasising that they can’t be together. Is there a reason for this? The only thing setting Abby apart from other girls in my opinion is that she hasn’t slept with him yet. Not that she doesn’t want to.

Also, she has these little strops over nothing in particular. Take the fact that Travis sleeps with a bunch of girls every week for example. We know that he does this. I know that he does this and I’m not even in the story! It’s nothing new Abby, pleeeaaase get over it. Also, stop judging the guy. No one has insulted you for being a virgin. I don’t particularly like Travis, but if he wants to sleep with loads of girls and they want to let him, then who are you to tell him otherwise? Especially in Chapter Two, when you’ve only just met the guy. 

Now, on to why I don’t like Travis. He is a controlling psychopath. Parker is Abby’s current boyfriend, who she claims to really like but she obviously doesn’t because she is still sleeping in a bed with Travis every night whilst dating him. My question is does Parker even know about this? He knows that Abby is staying at Travis’ apartment, yes, but does he know the particular details about where she sleeps? I don’t think so. Also, does he know what goes on in that bed during the night? The mild touching and the conversations? No, the poor guy doesn’t know.

Anyway Parker thinks that Travis is in love with Abby and I don’t know about other readers, but I think that the lines between love and obsession are becoming very blurred here. Travis is always trying to control Abby. Telling her not to drink anything at a party unless he gives it to her, pulling her in to the apartment before Parker can kiss her, trying to tell her who she can and can’t date. He is the definition of controlling. And obsessive? He watches her while she’s out on dates with Parker from his apartment window and then storms downstairs to yank her out of the car in the middle of a make out session with him. Really? If that’s not extreme and terrifying jealousy then I don’t know what is. He even goes as far as saying that he would kill Parker if Parker slept with Abby. Who gave Travis the rights to Abby’s body? No one.

I think that if Travis had it his way, he wouldn’t let Abby leave the apartment at all. Not unless she was leaving it with him anyway and to me, that’s worrying.

Furthermore, his drinking problem is a massive issue. I mean, every time he gets jealous of Abby, he goes out and gets wasted. He clearly has issues coping with his emotions and I am interested to know where this all stems from. He mentioned something about his home life briefly, and it didn’t sound too great. But my best guess is that there is a lot more to this story. Particularly as his cousin Shepley is so against Abby and Travis getting together. Shepley keeps warning Abby, but he does it so subtly that you don’t really know what he’s trying to warn her about…

Travis is also a hypocrite. Massively. It seems to be fine for him to go out, get drunk and sleep with girls on the recliner while Abby is sleeping in his bed. But when Abby is dating a nice boy, who seems respectful enough, all hell breaks loose and Travis wants to kill him. I’ve just read the scene where Abby and Travis nearly have sex after he pulls her out of the car (as I’ve just described) and where I think I was supposed to feel the suppressed sexual tension between the two of them, I was actually more disturbed than anything else. She admits that she’s a virgin to him (God knows why she tells him this when he’d clearly got some kind of sexual predatory aspects to his character) and what does he do? He laughs at her and then a drunk Travis is kissing her and trying to rip her clothes off in the bedroom… Not cool. Abby is so confused that she nearly lets him take her virginity then and there, which she probably would regret. But he’s the one who ends up saying no, as if he’s all mighty and respectful for resisting her. But he’s not. Because if he was, he wouldn’t have done it in the first place.

And the way that Travis gets pissed off and storms out of the apartment and then comes back all smiley is just weird. In fact, he is really creeping me out at the moment and I think that Abby should run for the hills. 

But the book is intriguing me so far. I like the fact that she’s at college (finally I’m reading about young adults and not teenagers!) and I want to know what Abby’s secret is and why she keeps avoiding her past. I also want to know what unravels between her and Travis and why Shepley gets so passionate about the two of them being a couple. 

So far, I’m getting more disaster than beautiful… I don’t know if this was intended or not, but I will keep reading in the hope that I discover the beauty I am promised in the book’s title.

Thanks for reading my thoughts so far!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s