Title: Beautiful Disaster
Genre: Contemporary Romance (New Adult)
Author: Jamie McGuire
Publisher: Atria Books, 2012
Source: Kindle purchase
Sexy Rating: 5
Description from amazon.com:
INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE.
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 wants—and needs—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.
I have to admit upfront that I did not like the characters in this book. That said, the writing, plotting and characterization is top-notch. The author does a terrific job of portraying two messed up college students trying to grow up and actually failing at it. Travis is from a loving but violent background and Abby was running away from a dysfunctional parent. They both need therapy, Travis more than Abby, although the fact that she stays with him may mean she needs therapy more than Travis. The only characters that lean toward normal are a gay friend, Finch, and Travis’ roommate and cousin Shepley. Even Shepley’s girlfriend, America, is a bit over the top in the “protective” department when it comes to Abby. This is a book to inspire many discussions of physical and psychological abuse. This might have been a YA book except that it has quite a bit of sex, but even the sex did not read satisfying when the heroine is basically jumped on by her partner. Well done study of college age students with multiple problems and worth the read.
A note about the “New Adult” genre designation: This designation is fairly new to the genres of published books. It is generally given to books that contain content not appropriate for the “Young Adult” designation, such as graphic sex, drug use, violence, etc. The protagonists are usually adults in their late teens (18-19) through twenties.