The new 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 needs—and wants—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.
– Goodreads description
MY RATING: 5 ☆☆☆☆☆
Could my first review really be any other book than Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster? C’mon, this book is like the poster child for New Adult Romances! I knew from the description that I’d love this book. I’m always a sucker the “good girl meets bad boy” plot, and add a rock-hard body covered in tattoos in the mix and SWOON!! Beautiful Disaster was for sure a page-turner for me until the very last word!
Abby meets Travis after being dragged to an underground fight at her college campus by her bestfriend. Of course she notices that not only is Travis totally ripped and gorgeous, he’s also a beast of a fighter! But Abby also knows that Travis is a total player and potential trouble. After bumping into one another, he gives her the nickname Pigeon, which he ended up calling her throughout the entire book, ha.
“Our next fighter doesn’t need an introduction, but because he scares the shit outta me, I’ll give him one, anyway! Shake in your boots, boys, and drop your panties, ladies! I give you: Travis ‘Mad Dog’ Maddox!”
I loved the way that Travis and Abby’s friendship developed. Both were instantly attracted to one another, and Travis was beyond intrigued by Abby’s apparent immunity to his charms. This is a guy who can simply nod at a girl and she’ll worship at his feet, so Abby’s annoyance drew him in, and I was interested in when she’d actually start to give him a chance!
Can you say chemistry?? These two were so beautifully wrong together! Gahh, I can’t even express how much I wanted to squeal in delight or sometimes yell in frustration at the pair. But you know what? That’s what I loved! They’re in college. Abby turns 19 in the book for crying out loud. I fully expected and appreciated the immaturity that they both sometimes had in their growing relationship, as it turned from friendship into something deeper. Abby even dates another guy in the novel, much to Travis’ distress. Their bickering over her going on dates was cute and laugh out loud funny for me.
“My name’s Travis. Travis Maddox.”
I rolled my eyes. “I know who you are.”
“You do, huh?” Travis said, raising his wounded eyebrow.
“Don’t flatter yourself. It’s hard not to notice when fifty drunks are chanting your name.”
Travis sat up a bit taller. “I get that a lot.”
I rolled my eyes again, and Travis chuckled. “Do you have a twitch?”
“A twitch. Your eyes keep wiggling around.” He laughed again when I glared at him. “Those are some amazing eyes though.”
Another “college” aspect that was super realistic for me was the close knit friendships and secondary characters that were constantly present throughout. Abby’s bestfriend was dating Travis’ cousin/roommate, and the pair were in almost every scene. It didn’t feel crowded though, if that makes sense. Sharing food, cars, and space is so normal during college that I enjoyed seeing this depicted in the novel.
I also loved the realism of Abby’s indecision to move forward with Travis at first, and let’s be honest here, he was a step away from the looney bin at times. But boy did I love him (and feared him a bit too)!
“Travis is a fucking wreck! He won’t talk to us, he’s trashed the apartment, threw the stereo across the room… Shep can’t talk any sense into him!”
I rubbed my eyes with the heels of my hand, and blinked. “I don’t know.”
Sometimes Travis was so over the top with his violent confrontations that I questioned the realism. Surely in real life he’d have been arrested, or at the very least booted from school for fighting. One more cafeteria fight and I was going to call campus security myself! And I know that jealous, possessive alphas aren’t everyone’s taste. Well, I had a soft spot for Travis, and he won me over so thoroughly that I found myself always forgiving his tantrums and mentally urging Abby to forgive him as well. Come on Pigeon, just give him one more chance!!
He pulled my chin up so that I would face him. “I know you deserve better than me. You think I don’t know that? But if there was any woman made for me…it’s you. I’ll do whatever I have to do, Pidge. Do you hear me? I’ll do anything”
The break up to make up roller-coaster that they were on throuout the novel didn’t turn me off at all, but I did want to shake Abby’s shoulders after a while! The reader sees everything from her point of view, and I was sometimes frustrated with her and her thought processes.
What was the steam factor? Well, it was beautifully tame :)! The sex scenes weren’t graphic or vividly described, but in this case it didn’t deter me. I was more interested in their story, and didn’t mind the lack of detailed sex scenes.
“I need to hear you say it. I need to know you’re mine.”
“I’ve been yours since the second we met.”
Overall, I fell in love with both Travis and Abby, and I rooted for them throughout the book. It’s heavy on the drama, and never lagged for me. I loved watching playboy Travis meet the one girl out of his reach, and I loved Abby’s acceptance of Travis through good and bad. This is a great fit for New Adult genre and definitely one of my favorite college romances!