Romance novels can be controversial. Usually the ones I love are pretty straightforward. Boy and girl meet, fall in love, conflict ensues, and then they live happily ever after. But even though I loved Beautiful Disaster, even I can see the potential it has for controversy.
The book focuses on Abby Abernathy, a college freshman who goes off to school with her best friend America hoping to hide from her family and her past. She is someone who has grown up in unusual circumstances and is a tough cookie with a desire to become an upstanding citizen. Or at least her own idea of what a model citizen would be. Exactly what she doesn’t need is the growing attraction she feels toward America’s boyfriend’s cousin, the campus bad boy, Travis. But feel it she does. More confusing for Abby is that the campus bad boy seems to be changing before her eyes and settling down thanks to her influence.
Despite her growing feelings, Abby tries to put up roadblocks by dating the campus prep. Parker is everything she thinks she wants and everything she thinks is good for her. He is smart, well off, and on his way to Harvard Med School. What’s not to like? But Abby is continually surprised that as she gets ready for dates with Parker, all she can think about is Travis and his reactions.
Travis, on the other hand, knows exactly what he wants. He is just bidding his time, waiting for Abby to trust him. Heck, everyone on campus has picked up on the fact that Travis is a totally different guy since he met Abby and most of them believe he has fallen in love with her. Unfortunately, only Abby can’t see the truth that is staring her right in the face.
Travis is the epitome of bad-boy-turned-good-through-the-love-of-a-good-woman. He is, in fact, irresistible as he steps back, lets Abby work through her demons, and waits to catch her if she falls. And she does, repeatedly. And when he catches her, you just want to say, “Thank God!” The two characters admit that their relationship is a tornado and, at times, a disaster. But it is indeed a beautiful one.
As I said, this book is controversial. To say that Travis and Abby are dysfunctional is an understatement. The reason that I was able to like this book despite that is because they know that they are dysfunctional. They acknowledge it and they accept it. While Travis is violent at times, perhaps my love of paranormal romance has numbed me to his violence. He beats up a few guys that insult Abby. Ok, not normal behavior for me or people in my life, but he is a UFC type fighter and a young college kid with anger issues, so is his reaction any worse than the werewolf that kills the vampire to protect his love? Is it any worse than the Regency lord that duels to protect the heroine’s honor? After all, Travis doesn’t kill anyone. And just as I know that the vamps and werewolves and the Regency lords aren’t real, Travis is a fictional character. Though no one would call this a guideline for college student behavior and I am not defending his behavior, or even Abby’s, it is a fictional story and I was able to enjoy it in that light.
Whether you like Beautiful Disaster or not, the one thing this book undeniably does is make you think. The couple and the story stick with you long after you put the book down. For me, this was a great story, but I will admit that it isn’t for everyone. It is a real love-it-or-hate-it book and for speaking only for myself, I loved it.