I picked up this novel as a recommendation from a Goodreads forum for “New Adult” fiction. “New Adult”—or “Upper-YA”—involves characters in their early twenties, in college, their first job, or first serious relationship etc… Jamie McGuire classified the novel as ‘Contemporary Romance’, not YA (due to the language and sexual content).
I might start with what I liked ‘less’ (emphasis below on ‘IMHO’, standing for ‘In My Humble Opinion’).
The quality of the writing was slightly inconsistent (IMHO), and I also agree with another reviewer in Amazon: the dialogue wasn’t maybe as sharply or, at other times, as smoothly drawn as I would have expected from such a successful book.
The ending was hasty and a bit corny, and would benefit from a rewrite (again IMHO).
Finally the plot became very repetitive in the second half of the book, with the on/off-relationship between Abby and Travis moving into roller-coasting mode. As always, IMHO.
Now, what did I like?
Travis… He is SO NOT the clean-shaven, preppy hero you have come to expect from YA fictions (or make it adult romance, as well… ). There’s something so rough and edgy about him, you can’t helped being intrigued. Jamie McGuire took a risk with such a hero. He could easily be not likeable at all. And yet, she managed to make him the most appealing character in the book. That, in itself, is a huge achievement.
I read other reviewers said that the relationship was abusive. I won’t go that far, but it is certainly kind of unhealthy. Again, I respect the author for exploring that angle because it makes Abby and Travis’ love story more realistic than most. I’m not saying that a relationship has to be unhealthy to be real. But, come on, it often happens, especially at that age. Travis and Abby have left their homes, their families, the past that has defined them so far… and they’re now looking for themselves. In the process, they find each other. But in building their relationship, they’re also building themselves. Follows a story of trials and errors.
Beautiful Disaster may be an uncomfortable read at times, but it’s definitely worth giving it a chance. I’m looking forward to reading the story told from Travis’ point-of-view. So check Jamie’s website for the latest news 😉