Book Review: Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Title: Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2)
Author: Jamie McGuire
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, New Adult 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 2013
Pages: 448 
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Finally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Can you love someone too much?
Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

My Review:

After reading Beautiful Disaster in 2012, I was rather curious to read Walking Disaster (even if every time I see the name the Babysitter’s Club book Kristy and the Walking Disaster comes to mind).

Travis “Mad Dog” Maddox has a reputation on campus. He’s notorious for bagging chicks and then taking out the garbage as soon as he’s sated. But when he first spots Abby Abernathy from across a crowded bare-knuckle fight, there’s just something about her that’s different from all the other girls at school. She’s not throwing herself at him and there’s something in her eye that reminds him of himself.

Never one to turn down a challenge, Travis sets out to make Abby his friend. His first non-sexual female friend. But as he gets to know her, he finds so much more than a potential buddy. Abby makes him nervous, anxious and agitated. Maybe, just maybe, Travis has met his match – and mate – in the quiet little Kansas pigeon.

I get the appeal of a bad boy. Not the just psychological phenomenon that explains women are attracted to bad boys as a primordial urge to help them procreate and further their race. But also the devastatingly sexual being that is a bad boy.

So I see why so many readers adore Travis Maddox. I’m just not one of them. However – with this companion novel I do see some redeeming qualities that weren’t present in the first book. He’s got some insight to his behaviour – he even goes as far to admit that he knows he’s a terrible person when it comes to his treatment of females.

But his jealousy just irritated me. Not just the depths of it but also the frequency of his outbursts. His violent tendencies stopped being sexy and were just plain scary.

The plot was well done. It was long enough since I read the first book that seeing the same discussions, interactions and actions didn’t feel repetitive but rather a warm feeling of deja vu that you get when you get to mix with characters you find comforting in their familiarity. The extra scenes that we didn’t get to witness last time as Abby wasn’t currently on-screen were fantastic – the ending made reading this whole story worthwhile.

After reading this book, I’m fully on board the Abby + Travis = 4EVA bandwagon. Not just because I think they’re perfect for each other but because I’m not sure I’d wish either one of them upon anyone else…

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the digital ARC.

Amazon / Book Depository 

Book Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Title: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1)
Author: Jamie McGuire
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 2012 
Pages: 361
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and 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.

My Review:

It’s at a college illegal bare knuckle fight that “cashmered, no-nonsense Abby Abernathy” finds herself face-to-face with bad boy Travis “Mad Dog” Maddox. His reputation as a motorcycle riding player with girls throwing themselves at his feet precedes him and not even his gorgeous tattoos will convince Abby to take a chance on him.

But with Abby’s best friend America dating Travis’ cousin and roommate Shepley, it seems almost inevitable that the two become friends. Straight A student Travis starts to tutor Abby in biology and from there the two become almost inseparable.

Then the Bet happened. Abby loses and ends up moving in with Travis for a month. Things get complicated with Abby refusing to become one of Travis’ one night stands… and proving this by dating another guy… and then going home to sleep in Travis’ bed.

I love butterflies and I have to admit that the shallow part of me wanted to read this book just based on the cover… I even have my own butterfly in a jar that lives on my bookshelves.

But the cover isn’t what drew me in. This story reminded me so much of a Sweet Valley University novel… with the fraternity parties, the bad boy who is just dying to prove to the good girl that there’s more to him that meets the eye… I really liked the college vibe to it all.

And in the beginning I enjoyed Travis and Abby’s banter and interactions. They flirt and fight and flirt some more – both of them playing all kinds of games not only with each other but with the people they use (either consciously or subconsciously) to try to one up the other. Travis is a borderline alcoholic with severe intimacy issues and Abby is trying to run from her past only to have it come back and bite her.

But after a while the drama just kept going on and on in circles with both characters expecting something to change when they keep making the same mistakes over and over again. 

My heart did break a little each time Travis had an emotional break down but I started to wonder why no one ever tried to have him arrested for breaking their nose… The two of them are the Beautiful Disaster the title refers too. Unable to function together but completely miserable without the other. I was glad for the way everything ended but I’m not sure how exactly they overcame all that stood in their way and what happened to end the dangerous cycle that they were stuck in.

I can see this novel appealing to fans of the Fifty Shades series. The sequel will be released in 2013 and it will tell the story of Beautiful Disaster from Travis’ point-of-view.



Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the digital ARC.

Amazon / Book Depository