Abby Abernathy wants to be a good girl, leaving behind a mysterious past and getting good grades in her second year of college. When she meets Travis Maddox, an underground fighter in the vein of Fight Club who is trailed by pretty girls, she is determined to be the only girl on campus who can resist his charms. Travis takes on the personal challenge of winning Abby over, and challenges her to a bet, one that will result in her living with him for a month if she loses.
Abby and Travis are the epitome of opposites attracting, but they’re also a bit too good to be true. They have a co-dependent relationship, and Travis’s obsession with her is less than healthy. While characters in the novel are college students, I wouldn’t recommend anyone younger than that age read it, as the relationships are not ones to be emulated. The oxymoronic title describes Abby and Travis perfectly and I was drawn into their story, even if at times I cringed at their behavior.
The sexual tension throughout the book is palpable, but the explanation of Abby’s secret past, known only to her best friend, fell a bit flat. Her inability to be straight with Travis – handling conflict by just leaving without telling him why – also got a bit grating, though was also appropriate to her age and experience.
Beautiful Disaster contains quite a bit of foul language, violence in the form of street-fighting, and some pretty explicit sex. It’s also the kind of book that leaves you feeling a bit raw and I have mixed feelings about it, which may be clear from this muddled review. It is told in the first person by Abby, and Travis’s side of the story is due to be published next year.
Notes on the audiobook: I enjoyed Emma Galvin’s narration. Her voice is unique, conveying Abby’s emotions and feelings well. She has narrated quite a few contemporary novels and I would enjoy listening to her other work.
Nancy was in some short-lived relationships in college but fortunately none that were quite so unhealthy. She writes about her boys, books and life in Colorado at Life With My Boys and Books.