Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Abusive relationships, slut shaming and secrets that border on the ridiculous are the core themes of Beautiful Disaster, a romance novel that would have been best left back in the era of Fifty Shades of Grey and Slammed, had Tik Tok not come along and resurrected the 'he's mean because he loves you' genre from the rubbish where it belonged. Abby Abernathy has just started college and is keen to start over. This time around she is a cashmere cardigan wearing good girl who doesn't drink. So of course she goes to an illegal fight with her best friend that is being held in a basement (as I am sure is a staple of college life,) where she falls for one of the men in the ring, Travis Maddox, who famously doesn't do relationships but every girl on campus is desperate to be with him. Fortunately, Travis is taken with Abby too, but nothing about their relationship is normal. He's a manipulative womaniser, sorry, cough cough, hot alpha, and she's got a chequered past that she's trying to hide. They make a ridiculous bet, mayhem and an equally ridiculous love triangle ensues and true love wins out in the end, but not without its share of secrets and drama. 

This isn't the most well written of novels. The plot is thin, the twists convenient and much of it doesn't ring true. (Lucky thirteen, really?) Granted Beautiful Disaster was originally self published and sold in the kindle store for 99 cents, which may explain a number of rookie mistakes--each of the chapters features a number and a title, whereas most published works feature one or the other.  (However that alone did not diminish my reading experience.) There is a lack of class about the novel, particular in the descriptions and treatment of the female side characters who are attracted to Travis. The characters are routinely dismissed as sluts or whores in an effort to justify Travis' behaviour. This name calling is trashy, lazy writing and shows a lack of clear insight into human behaviour. As does most of the actions of Travis and Abby.

Overall, a poorly written and disappointing read.


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