“ Genre: Fiction / Romance / Author: Jamie McGuire / Edition: 2 / Kindle Edition / 446 Pages / Book is published 2011-05-26 by Jamie McGuire, LLC „
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Why I read this one:
I had just finished a long and rewarding book by Stephen King, I felt like a quicker, lighter read with a bit of romance in it. One where I didn't have to think too much, an easy read. I had seen this one on Good Reads some time ago and it had mixed feedback which intrigued me as I like to make my own mind up about things. I purchased and gave it a whirl.
Abby Abernathy wants a fresh start. With her best friend, America, she relocates and they begin life at a new school. Abby's path crosses with the troubled Travis Maddox (AKA Mad Dog). The tattooed young man gains her attention in a way that she would rather it not. Can she resist his charms?
Let the Disaster begin:
This book is from the Young Adult genre but I don't often let that be a reason to not read prose if it appeals. I began the first chapter and the scene was set, it soon became obvious to me that I shouldn't have opted for this one immediately after a King novel.
The writing style flows well and I was obviously interested enough to want to find out what happened rather than put down the book and choose another one (something that I really don't like to do). But it didn't have enough depth for me. I like a good pace in prose and not too much description but this one could have done with a little more description, character development and the pace slowed down a wee bit.
The main protagonists are quite well developed but their friends tend to remain two dimensional and a little more meat on their bones would have benefited the novel.
I found the names and shortened names a little confusing initially, America and Brazil in particular and when America was shortened to Mare it took me a while to warm to it. Abby gets a nickname pretty quickly from her first meeting with Travis, during one of his rather brutal fights, and this seemed a little unrealistic -- she is known as Pigeon and later on in the prose Cookie. I'm not overly keen on that kind of thing.
The plot line is pretty much boy meets girl will boy get the girl. There are some lightweight subplots interspersed but the pace is so fast they are fleeting. I struggled to invest any emotion with the characters as they were not very appealing to me. Even after I had read the book I didn't really feel like I knew who they were, what they wanted from life and what made them tick.
Abby and Maddox are attracted to each other but due to her past life she wants to avoid getting involved with him. He is a womaniser as a rule but takes to liking Pidgeon (Abby). Some of the fights between them, as they grow closer, seem to be unbelievable and I tired of the I want him/now I don't want him behaviour that Abby displayed.
The prose is written in first person, which I don't mind, but there was a bit too much telling rather than showing -- as a reader I like something left to my own imagination and I had already grasped what the characters may or may not have been feeling before the author spelled it out.
I am struggling to think what to say about the story as there really isn't much to tell aside from Maddox's fights and bad boy image -- he has temper issues and is feared by all of the other boys, all of the girls want him. Abby is a girl from out of town, who has a past and is wanting a fresh start, she shouldn't get with Maddox but she can't resist. I didn't feel any passion between the two, or tension because the prose moves too quickly. Some of the ideas and subplots could have been good but they were over quickly.
There is some bad language used but it isn't on every page, even so, at times I felt it was not really appropriate, not needed and the prose would not have suffered if it was omitted fully. I am not put off reading a novel due to the odd bad word or two but only if it fits and isn't purely for effect.
A few phrases crop up repeatedly in the prose and two of those are the reference to Travis drawing his eye brows together and most of the males in the novel like to put their hands into their pockets. Oh and they also like to cup Abby's face between their hands.
The book is set out in chapters of a good length and they each have a beginning, middle and end which I liked. The title to each chapter gave it a theme which intrigued me and got me to read on. Whilst this book isn't one that I would read again it did have something that got me to keep reading on and finish it.
The culmination of the tale is satisfying in the sense that you get to find out what happens between Abby (Pigeon) and Travis (Mad Dog and Baby). It is a fairly predictable ending but that could be said for most books that fall into this genre, and it can be unsatisfying as a reader if certain elements do not win out.
My opinion of this book is that it has a certain appeal and young (teenage) readers would most likely enjoy it. I can't say that it is the worst book that I've read but it is far from being the best. It is not one that I will revisit and I'm now eager to get my hands on another King offering.
Kindle version £3.49
This book was not up there with the best in terms of description, setting the scene, developing characters, plot, subplot and pace. As far as satisfaction and enjoyment go it is far from the worst that I have read, but it could be so much better. McGuire has a nice writing style and this is an easy read that is fully focused on relationships and angst during teenage years. Anger issues are evident but could have been expanded upon regarding Maddox. Passion didn't really hit the spot for me, there are some light sex scenes that are inoffensive and over with haste. Bad language is used occasionally, sometimes it fits and other times it seems unnecessary and the story would not suffer if it was left out completely. I can't say that Abby gained my affection or sympathy, she wasn't easy to like as she was more frustrating than endearing. I can't really mention supporting characters much as they are very much left on the sidelines. America and Shepley feature but I can't tell you who they are any more than I can expand on the dreams and desires of the main protagonists. Its getting three stars because it's an OK read but not really anything memorable.
Published on Ciao
© dawnymarie 2014
Abby Abernathy is conservative, tough and takes no nonsense from anyone. She's determined to escape her old life, and so keeps to herself, avoiding any attention or trouble - until Travis Maddox makes an appearance, that is. Travis is everything Abby is not. He's confident, promiscuous and constantly under the public eye. From the moment they set eyes upon one another during one of Travis' underground fights, the connection between the pair is undeniable. But Travis is everything Abby has been trying so hard to avoid, and so she's left with the resounding question: should she risk everything for something that could be either simply beautiful, or a complete disaster?
I had this book on my Kindle for so long, but put off reading it over and over - until I had to procrastinate from writing my dissertation for university, that is! I was captivated from the first few pages and, by the end of the novel, sorely regretted not reading it sooner.
Jamie McGuire's 'Beautiful Disaster' has everything I look for in a YA romance - and so much more. Travis and Abby are very real. At first glance, it appears to be your typical "good girl meets bad boy" story - but, as the novel unfolds, the reader realises how fleshed out each character really is. They each have their secrets and their flaws, and are very easy to connect with. Both Abby and Travis each has a past that has affected not only the way they behave in general, but their attitudes in regards to their troublesome relationship.
The relationship itself is, of course, a complete rollercoaster of emotions. Travis and Abby are incredibly dysfunctional - but they know it, and that makes it rather refreshing. The emotions involved are raw and real, and completely draw you in to the relationship. I can't remember the last time I got so involved in a romance novel that I wanted to re-read it as soon as I had finished - but that's exactly how I felt with 'Beautiful Disaster.'
Honestly, this book, for me, was just so absorbing. McGuire's writing style is just the write mixture of formal and informal - remaining interesting and flowing whilst still retaining an element of literary merit. As mentioned previously, her characterisation is wonderful, too. The reader really cares for the characters and whether or not they will get their happy ending.
That's not to say it's the perfect novel for everyone, though. It has its faults. It can be rather clichéd it times, as well as repetitive. Some of the issues within the novel have been viewed as controversial, such as Travis' violence. However, as a whole, I thought it was a wonderful novel and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've read it twice now, and will probably read it again. I would recommend it to most fans of the genre - especially those who love a reformed bad boy and an intense love story!
This review comes from my blog, Scarlet Letters (sfmscarletletters.blogspot.com), and is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon.