Published: August 14th, 2012
Copy: Publisher via Netgalley
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.
Travis Maddox is a walking, talking train wreck. He's the good looking guy that you should avoid at all costs. Talk about high maintenance? I couldn't decide whether I wanted to slug him or hug him half the time. That said, you can't help but like him - even though you know that he so wrong on so many levels.
As for Abby, well she should know better. She repeatedly falls under Travis's spell even though it is so obviously the wrong thing to do. She seems to be a fairly strong character in every way, except where Travis is concerned, and appears to let him manipulate her. It's a strange relationship that the two of them have, but it is the sort of story that you want to keep reading just to find out what is going to happen between them. I don't know that I agree with her choices, but no-one ever said that love makes sense.
Travis's room-mate Shepley and Abby's best friend America, are also very much in the picture as a couple with very few problems and they serve to illustrate even more clearly how unlikely a pair Travis and Abby are. The college setting is a nice change from high school and allows for different behaviors.
This is a nice crossover novel for older teens, but I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers. There is a fair bit of consensual sex, drinking and violence - of the bare-knuckle organized fight sort -but it all helps with the background of the story. I was more than a little surprised with the ending, until I discovered that Beautiful Disaster is the first in a series/trilogy? The second book, Walking Disaster, is apparently due out in April next year, and I'm sufficiently intrigued to see what happens next. Try it out if you like edgy contemporary romances and you're ready for a change.