I picked up Beautiful Disaster knowing that there was some controversy surrounding the story. While it's labeled as a YA book, many readers and reviewers alike are upset because of the racy content; Sex, violence, gambling and unhealthy relationships fill this book and possibly the minds of the young readers who are drawn to this book. Is it mislabeled or misjudged?
Beautiful Disaster tells the story of Abby Abernathy and bad boy Travis Maddox. After leaving her hometown in Kansas, Abby and her best friend go away to school at Eastern University to start new lives where no one knows of her family and her past. When she thinks that she's finally got a new life established, she quite literally runs into Travis Maddox, Eastern University's bad boy. Their relationship is passionate and tumultuous, but is he worth her image and the careful life she's built for herself?
This was not my favorite book of all time, but I did really enjoy it. I read it all in one day and I have to say that I was really happy after I finished reading the story. I'd seen the book everywhere and while it took me a while to finally pick it up, I'm glad I waited until I was in the mood to start. This was one of those books where if i had started reading it and wasn't ready, I would never have sat down to finish it.
I really liked the characters in this story. While Abby was a little bit messed up, she's still a strong woman with morals and a strong sense of who she wants to be (not necessarily who she is at the moment or how to get to where she wants to be... she has some issues with that). Travis was the typical douche-bag, who also happens to be a big man-slut. He slept with anyone and everyone and made no apologies for it. Together, they made a very interesting dynamic. You saw Abby and Travis grow together and change because of each other. Abby became more adventurous and less cloistered. She wasn't as scared of the world when she was with Travis and he on the other hand changed completely. He became a one woman man, was sweet, he never pressured Abby and he protected her.
Of course we saw them fall apart, but as you can imagine, there was a happy ending. This was a sort of feel good book that ended with you smiling and feeling all gushing inside. I love when books make me feel that way.
The plot of the story was not as original as I would have liked, but I wasn't bored. It was a lot to happen in one story and the end was a little bit rushed, but other than that, the pacing was pretty spot on.
Now I do understand why there is some controversy over this being a YA book. There is violence and sex in this book and it wouldn't be appropriate for young readers... BUT (and it's a pretty big but) this book was aimed at an older YA audience. It's about a college aged girl who finds love and explores it. College aged young adult readers, in my opinion, are fully equipped to handle the more mature themes in this book. I mean, when I think of what I was doing in college, this could have been a story about me. I went to parties, I had a steady boyfriend and I didn't always make the best choices.
In regards to young readers picking this book up and reading something inappropriate, all they need to do is read the back of the book and look where they found it. I did not find this book in my local book store in the YA section, I found it in the romance section. I also (as I always have done since I was a kid) read the back of the book and it told me that there was sex and violence in this book and I made the decision that Beautiful Disaster was appropriate for me.
All babbling aside, I truly enjoyed this book. It was interesting and heart warming at parts and I would recommend it to those who like a good romance rife with teen angst, frat parties and motorcycles. It's a fun ride!
8 out of 10
Happy Reading :)