Series: Beautiful #1
on May 26th 2011 by Jamie McGuire
Genres: Contemporary, NA
Buy on Amazon
INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE.
Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from 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 wants—and needs—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.
To be honest, I was a little terrified to read this book. It seemed to be very much a love or hate kind of book. I have friends who gushed to me at length about how amazing it was, and how I had to read it this instant. But I also had friends with convincing arguments for why this book wasn’t for me. I was beginning to think that it wasn’t at all something I would want to read. How to decide? The only thing I could do was give it a shot. Very glad I did!
I have so many conflicted emotions about this book. On the one hand, I thought it was genuinely well written. The characters are solid, the dialogue is believable. Yes, the relationship was totally dysfunctional, but we can’t help who we love. It made the whole book that much more real to me. McGuire managed to make me feel as conflicted about their relationship as they themselves felt. Well played.
There was one scene in particular that embodied the book’s downfall for me. Travis is fighting and Abby is getting mauled by some drunk, and in an instant, I was watching the same exact scene from Far and Away with Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. It knocked me right out of the story. On several such occasions the book felt a little less than original. I have no idea if the scenes was at all influenced by movies, or by anything other than McGuire’s own imagination. But there it is. It kinda felt like it had been done before. Luckily, McGuire did it better than most.
The main reason that I didn’t give this a full five stars is because far too many young girls are reading this and getting it into their heads that this is the ideal that they should be striving for. The book is violent, passionate and a veritable roller coaster. Art imitates life, doesn’t mean that life should imitate art. I almost felt like the book should have come with a disclaimer.
Before reading this book, I was already in love with Jamie McGuire. She’s an all around sweetheart and an A-1 class act. Now that I’ve read her book, I can definitely say that I am a full fledged fan. Indie publishing at its best! I will recommend this book for mature readers, and if you’re a parent looking to give this to your teen, make sure to talk with them about it. It’s a good opportunity to make sure they know what to expect from a healthy relationship.