• Beautiful Disaster

  • By: Jamie McGuire
  • Narrated by: Emma Galvin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (4,001 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2011 Jamie McGuire (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

" Beautiful Disaster is insanely addictive. Beautifully sexy, beautifully intense, and beautifully perfect. Jamie McGuire has written a damn good book." (Jessica Park, author of the New York Times best seller Flat-Out Love)

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5 things you should know before buying this book

For the sake of transparency (so you know what your spending your credit on) I lined up 5 things I think you should know before you buy this book.

1. The main character Abby Abernathy (nicknamed 'Pigeon' by her love interest Travis 'Mad Dog' Maddox) is eighteen going on nineteen. She's just started out college with her best friend America (Mer).

2. The story is set in college but the dynamics between the students (and also between the main characters) seems more like high school. In other words: it's juvenile. If you're not a (very) young adult, you might end up rolling your eyes even more than Abby Abernathy does.

3. Travis Maddox has a temper (he's quite volatile) and is physically violent. Not against his 'Pigeon' or their friends, mind you. But pretty much against everyone else. Blood splatters quite often in this book.

4. Spoiler alert!: Somewhere past midway the book takes a turn and the cast goes to Vegas.

5. I should have stopped at the Vegas turn, but really I can't not mention this:
Travis, the hero, sports tribal art tattoo's.
And later he adds a new tattoo that declares his love for 'Pigeon'. In Hebrew.
I'm not saying anything else. Zip.

I didn't hate it. This novel is quite entertaining at times. But the storyline is all over the place (see 4) and overall it's very, very young adult.

If you read all of the above and you're curious. Go ahead. Buy it. I dare you. Just don't say I didn't warn you!

257 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Awkward

Much of the subtext of this book was foreign to me. My college experience was nothing like this. I am not familiar with illegal fight clubs, know very little about professional poker and the thought of getting a tattoo makes me queasy. But at its heart, this is the story of two immature kids, both raised in very dysfunctional families who become obsessed with each other and their final act, designed to give the book a HEA ending, ultimately seals their fate.
If this was nonfiction, even if the book ended exactly the same, everyone would know that the fate of the two protagonist would not, could not, end up well.

I believe that two people can fall in love at a very young age and remain in love the rest of their lives. But not these two. The mini-explosions throughout the book tell the reader that this relationship can't end well.

If the book were really well written, it could go part way towards making it an enjoyable book. But it isn't particularly well written. And the contrast between the sophistication we are told these two possess - her ability to walk into a Vegas casino and take on a table of hardened professional poker players then stare down a crime boss without blinking an eye and his ability to somehow calmly and methodically overcome all of his fight opponents, even those that are bigger and badder - and the immaturity they continually exhibit are impossible to reconcile. How much simpler it would have been if she told him why he scared her so much rather than sneak away from him and then hide out while he made a fool of himself. And how could you believe someone who was so controlled in the fight ring, would regularly trash his apartment, and throw temper tantrums in public. It is as if there were 4 main characters instead of two and the author kept confusing them with each other.

I did enjoy the narration. I will listen to more books by this narrator.

I read a lot of positive reviews of this book. I realized it was a little YA for my usual taste. And I admit part of my dislike of the book came from my inability to relate to the characters and their point in life. But the reviews gave me hope. I hoped the characters would have been far more consistently developed and that even if young, since they were old enough to star in a romantic yet troubled love story, they would at least be somewhat mature. I hoped the conflict and tragedy would be genuine and not contrived.

I was disappointed.

35 people found this helpful

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Intrigued At Beginning - Fast Forwarding At End

Any additional comments?

The 2 star struck lovers from dysfunctional families working their way through the baggage of the past. This book had the potential to be good, but it was not to be. Definitely a YA book written at a 6th grade reading level.

22 people found this helpful

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Amazing and Emotional with Blood!

What a freakin amazing story! Travis freakin Maddox! What!

Ok. Now that is over... I totally think Travis character made this book. I have never seen the bad boy done this way. The bad boy is either completely bad or secretly bad, not a popular, campus hot boy jock, but an inner demon sadistic crazy fighting streak. Travis is such a hidden emotional character but you don't actually realize this until later on in the story, and when you do, it's like WHAM! McGuire really did an awesome job in developing Travis Maddox.

Pige... or Pigeon or Abby is running away from an ex-famous gambling daddy and it that ruff life and starting over in college and meets Travis. One thing leads to another and they become friends but as you know, this is a love story... they fall in love. They are totally wrong for each other but totally right for each other. They bring their best friends along for their tor relationship. It’s just soo emotionally. I think I actually got teary there a bit...

This was my first time listening to Emma. She kinda reminded me of Madeline Maby a bit with her whimsical style of reading the female characters. That I don't give a crap, independent attitude she brings to female characters is really good and is something Maby is known for, and Emma had that in this book with Pigeon and America ( Pige’s best friend).

This book was a total buy on a whim, but so glad I did. I am totally on a romantic novel kick right now. I would buy and credit this.

14 people found this helpful

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Dysfunctional College Love

This book is a 3.5 stars for me. I enjoyed it, but it isn't a book that I would return to over and over again like Slammed.

Abigail Abernathy was a young girl who went to a far away College (from Kansas) to get a new lease on life. She wanted to forget her past and reinvent herself in the new environment. She gets drawn into a friendship/relationship with the campus bad boy Travis Maddox. I don't know if I really think Travis is a bad boy, but he engages in underground fights to pay for schooling. He is academically smart, but a shameless womanizer. Abby's best friend America,is a relationship with Shep, Travis's best friend and cousin. So of course those two will get thrown together often. Abby is determined not to be one of the notches on Travis' belt, and she is very vocal about it. She begins dating a nice boy named Parker, but there is some magnetic pull to Travis. So Abby is stuck with a decision, should she be with the guy that appears great by society's standards or should she be with the guy who makes her feel comfortable enough to be herself at times?
Abby's answer was rooted in her past, and she had difficulty with her past so Abby made the choice to avoid the guy that resembled her past lifestyle---a decision that caused confusion and hurt to almost everyone involved with Abby.

The writing was a tad predictable and a tad unrealistic at places for instance Abby's venture to Vegas. Many of Travis' fights, but I still enjoyed the story. One of the things that I loved about Abby was that she wasn't that naive heroine who was attracted to danger and had to sneak out to meet bad boy over mommy and daddy's objections. Abby knew who and what Travis was, and wasn't really fazed. I also disliked the exact same thing about Abby because she should not have made so many bad decisions because she wasn't a naive, sheltered little girl. She had real life experiences so some of her rookie mistakes were unbelievable to me. She was very clear and communicative...except for when it counted the most.

Abby was the real enigma in this story and she didn't achieve peace and contentment until she made peace with herself and truly shared herself with her friends. That freedom allowed her to pursue her heart's desire and that was fun to watch.

The writing style was easy to follow, it wasn't emotionally charged to me, so I was entertained. I just wasn't blown away by the prose or the plot itself. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy that bad-boy-saved-by-the-love-of-a-good-girl stories. But not for those readers who want more mature love/relationships.

13 people found this helpful

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Boring

I don't understand the good reviews about this book. I'm not really sure why this was a suggested read after Fifty Shades; more of a teen read? The big built up to the first sex was a total let down and the actual act it self lacked any intimacy. The narrator could not get the male voices right. I could even finish the book.

12 people found this helpful

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really? loved it?

i'm very surprised at the high reviews for this book. I've listened to 100's of Audible books over the years and this is only the 2nd one I couldn't finish. I listened to 1/2 of it, enough to really give it a chance, but it was so absolutely juvenile and outright annoying I had to stop.

Teen angst is one thing, but really, is it like this now a days? America, one of the characters, is angry at her boyfriend because he was worried the main girl would get alcohol poisoning and wanted her to stop taking shots during a game. He was concerned about a girl drinking too much, so his girlfriend (who is also best friends with the girl drinking) gets mad at him and HE has to apologize?

The main character likes a girl, gets angry at something she says, so he sleeps with two girls (at the same time) downstairs so she can hear him? Really?

And it goes on and on and on...there are so many high school "games" in this, supposed, college book that I just had to stop.

hated it...

11 people found this helpful

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Beautiful Depression

Even though I am not a "young adult" I do enjoy YA books....Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments, Daughter of Smoke and bones, The Selection and the list goes on.

At the start I was really pulled into the story and I really cared about the main characters. (yes there is a bunch of teen drama, but nothing that really bothered me) I love romance and HEA and I was really looking forward to another great YA read.

Unfortunately, after the first 1/2 of the book I was asking myself "where is this story going to go?" How much more "drama" could go on with these characters??? Apparently much more! So much more that it became seriously depressing! (and unbelievable) The main couple is so dysfunctional that I almost hoped there would be no HEA and everyone would end up in therapy.

11 people found this helpful

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Beautiful messy story

I've read some of the reviews on this book and knew the characters were very young, however, I'm glad that didn't steer me away from getting it or I would have missed a great story. This up and down roller coaster of emotions and life experiences shows that relationships are not always easy but they can be worth it for the right person. It does have a lot of violence and bad language but that is not unusual for this generation. I found it credit worthy and will listen to it a second time.

8 people found this helpful

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i didn't want it to end...

typically i read books with sequels or that happen to be trilogies. i usually get lucky and find a good series where i'm able to get the first two books right away, only having to wait for the third for a couple months. with Beautiful Disaster i was thrilled to find out that it had another book coming out from Travis' POV but annoyed that i'd have to wait until next SPRING to find out more about the lives of Abby and Travis. boo.

this book took me right in, telling me about the characters lives and leaving little bits to keep me wondering what would happen as it went along. of course, there were a few parts where i was rolling my eyes in some of the scenes simply because these two young lovers were overreacting about silly nonsense. i was married young and i look back on my life then and think, "would i react that same way today?" and the answer is a profound, "no. absolutely not." i wouldn't get carried away like these two did, but you have to remember that they're barely 19 and i remember acting like an idiot at 19 so don't judge them too harshly.

i wanted more as i got to the end of the book. i wanted to know about their lives. i envisioned them having adventures and finally settling down to have a family. i wanted them to find their Ever After. as i got to that last 10 minutes of the book, i found myself excited to start it over, immediately... which i did, twice. sometimes i listen to a book a couple times before i let the characters go. this was one of those books i really fell in love with the Abby and Travis.... and i think you will too.

the narration was superb, and i found this book because i'd listened to Divergent, same narrator. fabulous.

8 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for J. Osborne
  • J. Osborne
  • 06-07-13

Beautiful Disappointment!

Basically a load of soppy claptrap, only suitable for those who thought 50 Shades was a good read, but without the soft porn. I am in a generous mood so have given it 2 stars as think that some teenage girls will love it but definitely not for the more mature and discerning audiences.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Justine
  • 05-27-13

Really not my thing

For readers of the Twilight series. Ok, that might be slightly unfair but not by much. Abbey is a much more feisty character than Bella (who is not?), but still. Stereotypical descriptions of relationships and some quite stalkerish behaviour, admittedly acknowledged by Travis. I didn't enjoy the unreal "conflicts" which are set up between the main characters to keep the suspense, the "will they/won't they", going.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. Rachel L. Leahy
  • 12-24-12

Angst, tears, romance, shock and joy it's all here

I read this book on my kindle after seeing a recommendation on a website. I was so blown away I read it all night, but couldn't get the characters out of my head. I'd heard of Audible and it occurred to me to see if it was on the site. Wow was I relieved to find it. The audiobook version is amazing it adds further dimension to the characters without ruining your own vision of novel. This book is like a car crash waiting to happen, it's unbearable. It's so cleverly written you find yourself having sympathy for a character, Travis who has some very big personal issues he needs to resolve. Abbey is the good girl with a secret you'll never guess. Her story has a massive impact on their troubled relationship and she is totally frustrating in some of her choices, but never a victim. In fact she controls everything that happens from the start to the finish.

Travis fights with his fists and protects himself by being emotionally detached, when Abbey sees more than a thug in him their problems begin.

This audiobook is read beautifully, with true insight of the characters actions and feelings. It's an emotional journey where you'll laugh, cry, sigh and wince at the situations Jamie McGuire has created. It's a total suspension of reality but wouldn't it great if your dreams could come true?

Great story, fabulous narration and a thoroughly fantastic experience.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Booky
  • 11-25-12

Romance with an edge

Good story. I loved the main man Travis - flawed but exciting. Abbi could have done with a shake but I still liked her.



Well worth a listen to.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-11-19

Enjoyable

Very good reading by Emma Galvin.

I felt this story was a little Twilight/Teenager love story. Some parts are just very unrealistic, however I had to know what happens and finish it.

Enjoyed overall.

1 person found this helpful

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  • jess
  • 09-06-22

i absolutely love this book

I've read the book version the ole series and reread now ive listen to the first one im going to read them all again

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kerry Topham
  • 05-31-22

amazing

my all time favorite book , this is one of the first books that got me into reading.lost how many times i have read it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • K&D83
  • 05-25-22

One of my favourites....BUT....

look, I'm pushing 40, and should have well & truly grown out of my young adult fiction phase, but here we are.
I've read Beautiful Disaster a couple of times and loved Travis, I've started listening to books and podcasts at work, and was excited to listen to this.
I'll be honest, I didn't like the chosen narrator... apologies, she's just a lady doing her job, but her harsh approach just didn't work for me, and wasn't how I'd envisioned Pidge and Travis sounding.... also, the story is a little repetitive in parts...
Over all, while most of these novels are wholly unbelievable, let's be honest, these characters are meant to be only 19 years old, I was rooting for the Travis and Abby and very much enjoyed the book X

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  • Sharon
  • 01-17-22

I did like it but

It is a nice story but it does drag on , I'm looking forward to the movie , hopefully they'll cut out the dragging on 😆

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • FENARETI
  • 07-20-21

Superb

This was exactly what I was looking for as a summer read! I enjoyed it tremendously much! It's very rare to find great books in this genre, it's almost always a miss for me. But this one was so great!

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  • Stevie
  • 07-05-18

So terrible

This is not just trashy, it has serious gender issues. If young girls are listening to this as an example of a desirable boyfriend they are being groomed towards being in abusive relationships. The boyfriend in this story is possessive, does not respect to his girlfriend's wishes, and reacts violently when she displeases him.

Beyond that, the story is atrocious - sloppy, vanilla and really goes down in flames at the end.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-04-22

little overrated, had to finish it tthough

I love a bad boy meets nice girl story. just got a little boring for 1/3 of it through the middle. I've re read some series but this one i wouldn't.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-12-20

love this book

love this book it's great read keeps you wanting to keep reading highly recommend it.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 08-02-20

grossly unfeministic

the level of despise the main character expresses towards almost every woman in this book makes me deeply uncomfortable. she is judgemental, whiney and immature.

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  • Charmaine Poulsen
  • 05-16-20

loved it!

So happy I decided to get this book, had me smiling, crying all sorts of emotions. loved it and could not put it down.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-16-20

Amazing

Loved it, finished in less than a day, I've read it a few times already but it never fails me! Such a good story line

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Beth R.
  • 08-20-19

Unsure

I enjoyed parts of it as I love love. But wasn't fond of how controlling Travis was and the co-dependency. It's 2019 and we shouldn't be showing young people that this type of love is warranted and allowed.

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  • Lynlee
  • 06-04-18

If You’re Partial to a Trashy Romance - You’ll Like It

Look, it’s not a literary masterpiece but it’s a good trashy read. Captures the drama and intensity of young infatuation (Twilight / Fifty Shades of Grey fans will be sated). Humorously dated in terms of outfits, tattoo placement, and notions of consensual relationships / feminist discourse / political correctness on some issues. If you can look past the red flags for domestic violence/emotional manipulation it’s an enjoyable read! LOL

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  • cecilia chahda
  • 03-22-18

I'll never stop loving this book

I have read the paper back multiple times and have listed to the Audible version 3 times now, and I'm still not sick of it.
I fall in love with Abby and Travis time and time again.
I'm very happy to see a strong, independent woman that doesn't need a man to help her through life. But happy she finds love in a tough, tattooed, sexy man. they are equals in there relationship and I LOVE IT!

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Profile Image for Barbra Lazzarini
  • Barbra Lazzarini
  • 11-21-17

loved it 💗💗

to very strong characters but trouble past some how find each other.. there rocky relationship constantly on the edge .. not know if they will survive with everything and everyone against them...some how they make it work .. i especially love her besties America and finch .. so cooolll .. worth a read ...😙😚

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