I absolutely hated this book. It was cheesy, uneventful and worst of all, extremely predictable. It genuinely pained me to continue reading, the only reason I stuck with it for so long, was so that I could get this review posted for everyone who is considering buying/reading the book for themselves.
Now I usually try not to write reviews like this (I believe that there is always something positive that you can find in a book), but this book has pushed me to the limits. I have to be brutally honest. So if you loved this book and are a major fan of it, then I suggest you stop reading now.
The logical place to begin with this review would be at the start. McGuire makes a point (a very dramatic and over-emphasised point) of having Abby tell us that she doesn’t like Travis. She’s glaring and eye rolling and being all standoffish with the guy and to me, that only comes across as her thinking that she’s better than him or something. Which, as we read further, we discover she really isn’t. She’s trying to reject him, yet at the same time, she’s peeking over at him and smiling and agreeing to go over to his apartment. She tells us that this is to get him off her back, but we all know it’s not. The whole first chapter is predictable, predictable, predictable. She will try not to fall for him and she will insist that she isn’t, when really she is. I’m bored already.
Then we get on to Travis; the bad boy that’s painted to us using clichés and swearing and girls falling all over him. I didn’t even find myself attracted to him, he was just an idiot. And can someone please tell me what the hell is with that stupid nickname “Pigeon”?! WHO WANTS TO BE CALLED PIGEON?! HAVE YOU SEEN A FRIGGIN PIGEON?????
Pigeons are not cute. Like, in any way. If I had a boyfriend who called me pigeon, he would no longer be my boyfriend.
At first I enjoyed the fast pace of this book. During the first few chapters, it made me feel like McGuire was building us up toward something really exciting that was going to happen. But then there was nothing. The chapters all felt like a revolving cycle of things we already know. McGuire constantly takes us to the college canteen, to Travis’ apartment, back to the canteen and then back to Travis’ apartment again. We get the odd diner or so when they’re eating and we also got Las Vegas for a short while – but even this was described in such little detail, considering the extremely fast pace of the novel, that it barely felt like we had left.
The fights with Travis are another annoying thing. There was nothing new to bring to the table with these. He would always fight someone that was supposedly big and strong and would give him a run for his money. They were always known for one thing or another; whether it was being in training or just notoriously being really good at fighting. There was always an excess of blood, which oddly enough, nobody seemed to give a damn about. Abby would get blood on her shirt and Travis would come out bloody and nobody would mention it! There was even one scene, which genuinely made me feel physically sick, where Abby told us that he had blood in his mouth and then he kissed her. Ewwwwwwww. Seriously, that is just gross. I don’t know if it’s normal to get splattered with other people’s blood in the Travis and Abby world, but to me, that’s disgusting.
And another thing. How come Travis wins all of his fights? Everybody has bad days and I would’ve liked to see him lose at least one fight. I think this would have made him seem more realistic to me, but no. There wasn’t. Also, Travis picking fights with absolutely anyone and everyone was just boring after like the third time. He was so predictable. He was a flat character, just like every other character in the book.
Abby was honestly the most annoying main character I’ve ever had to read about in a novel. She was constantly in denial about her feelings, flitting from one boy to the next and I never once got the impression that she was this sweet little college student who doesn’t drink or swear, or that she was resistant to Travis’ charms – as we are told she is on the blurb. She had everybody acting like she was this precious little gem that needed protecting 24/7 and I rarely saw her do anything for anybody else. She was just selfish and as the novel progressed, contrary to Abby’s opinions, I actually started to think that Travis was the one who shouldn’t have been wasting his time on her. She always had something to complain about and she was always blaming everybody else for everything.
On to the plot…
The plot was whole-heartedly disappointing. I couldn’t figure out where the story was going as I read it and I still don’t know where it was going now! Boy meets girl? Tick. Now what?
Nothing. Or nothing of any interest is what I should say. Travis and Abby fought and made up for three quarters of the book. During which, nothing else was happening. I do not want to read a book about how much two people fight with each other and do absolutely nothing else. That is not worth £7.99 in a book store thank you very much.
Then, we get all these hints about Abby’s ‘dark past’, which admittedly, slightly contributed to why I kept reading the book. But If you’re eager to find out the “dark secret” that she’s been hiding all along, then don’t be. It’s nothing exciting. In fact, it’s downright anti-climatic and it does nothing for the plot apart from give them a reason to go to Las Vegas. Even this, I think was unnecessary, because Abby could easily have said no and carried on with her life at college.
Abby’s dark past simply turned out to be that she came from a broken home with a father who was addicted to gambling and a drunk mother. Her dad’s luck ran out when she was thirteen and ever since then he has hated her for it.
I’ll give you a moment to process that.
Need more time? I understand. Lets take a few more moments to try and understand this.
Still not getting it? Join the club because honestly, what the actual hell? I don’t even know where to begin with that. The whole addicted to gambling father and drunk mother idea has the potential to be a really great back story for a character, but it was so poorly executed that it just fell through. And it barely made sense to me.
Maybe I’m just not understanding it, in which case, somebody please explain this to me. I am genuinely interested in finding out how this was all necessary. It just felt like McGuire had nothing else of interest to put in to the story, so she threw in some flimsy plot twist (if you can even call it that) and then based the next few chapters on that before reverting back to the typical fight, make up, fight, make up pattern that provides the basic skeleton for the book.
Now, I was promised a romance book when I searched this up. It had great reviews and various sources had listed the book as a great young adult romance novel. But the romance in the story was not romantic at all to me. It was based on lust most of the time, because it almost always ended in sex. Travis took Abby’s virginity, but it wasn’t beautiful and she didn’t really seem to care all that much afterwards about losing it. Travis went from being obsessed with her to falling crazily in love with her and I had no problem believing this. But I don’t for one second believe that Abby loves him. I think she’s a flat character, with little substance and little regard for other people’s emotions. There was an excess of kissing, every five minutes or so and after a while this just got cheesy. Simply because there was nothing else happening.
And oh my god, if we’re going to get on to things that were over exhausted in the book, I have to mention giggling. “She giggled,”, “I giggled”, “We giggled” – JUST STOP GIGGLING. THERE ARE OTHER WORDS APART FROM GIGGLING.
A lot of things were just overly dramatic too. Like Travis getting a tattoo of Abby’s name on his wrist and getting Abby a dog and that scene where Abby and America were dancing at a party and Travis and Shepley kept pulling guys away from them. The characters just seemed like puppets, getting their strings pulled and not really bringing much to the table for me.
When Travis and Abby got married, I wasn’t even happy. I just thought that was stupid and pathetic because they clearly bring out the worst in each other.
In summary, the book is called ‘Beautiful Disaster’ but there is nothing beautiful about it in my opinion. I think that McGuire wanted to create two characters who are so horribly wrong for each other, but at the same time, can’t stay away from each other either. It was supposed to be passionate and heated and be a unique and disastrous kind of love that had a beautiful quality to it too. The kind of love that you hate, but still love.
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t feel like it was this at all. I think that Travis is a drunk, but surprisingly can do much better than Abby. I think he could’ve found a girl who brought out the best in him and made him want to change for the better. Not in to the needy waste of a man that he turned out to be around Abby, but a strong, attractive man with ambition and a heart that shines like gold for the woman he loves. Abby, is just an idiot and I don’t think that she deserved to end up with anyone. I mean come on, she was dating Parker and sleeping in Travis’ bed every night. She would let guys touch her up at clubs and she would beg Travis to have sex with her. I think she is actually more messed up than Travis is. In fact, I think that she has SERIOUS problems. Not Travis. Travis is just a guy who took a wrong turn and needs someone to set him back on the right path again. But that girl isn’t Abby Abernathy.
Many of you will disagree with me and that’s perfectly fine; because no one book will ever have great reviews from everyone. I may be in a small minority with this one, but I stick to it. I hated this book and I would not recommend it to anyone. If anything, I’m ticked off that I wasted my money on it.
Reviewed by: Tanya Marie