“What is the life of man! Is it not to shift from side to side? From sorrow to sorrow? To button up one cause of vexation! And unbutton another!” Laurence Sterne
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.
This book vexed me. Through the course of one day, I read Beautiful Disaster. Throughout that day, I tossed it aside numerous times, completely frustrated with the characters and their juvenile antics. It called me back though. I had to know what happened next; I’m torn between liking this book and being horrified by it.
The characters caused me great pain. They resembled children playing a grown-up game and their masochistic tendencies grew tiresome. I liked some characteristics and hated others. Abby and Travis, develop a co-dependent relationship; they do nothing but hurt each other and call it beautiful. I’m not sure I’d want a young adult reading this book for fear it would validate dysfunctional relationships.
The foundation of the story is great, but the plot could have been tweaked a bit more. The subplots were little more than parlor tricks to elicit emotions or create barriers. They too had potential beyond what showed on the page. Extreme is the word that comes to mind. Excess quickly follows. Maybe I’m just too tame to understand the intricacies, but violent jealousy and emotional abuse leave me cold.
To make matters worse, grammatical and spelling errors along with words missing from sentences sporadically glared from the pages. It’s a shame no one caught them. I’m rating this book low, but I didn’t hate it. It probably boils down to my personality, and most likely my age, being out of synch with the characters.