Title: Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Publisher: Atria Books
Number of Pages: 432 (paperback)
Advertised Age Level: not specified – New Adult
Age and Grade of Main Character(s): Freshman and older in college
Language: profanity, use of the “f” word
Sex: yes – sensual (not explicit) descriptions of sex, main character loses virginity, one character is very promiscuous, mention of condom and birth control pill usage
Drug/Alcohol Use: drinking at a parties, main characters get drunk on multiple occasions
Violence: one main character is a mixed martial arts/fight club champion, main character frequently hits other people when enraged or jealous
Social Issues: co-dependency, anger management problems, obsessive/unhealthy relationships, loss of virginity, loss of parent, gambling, extortion by mafia
Suggested Movie Grade: R
Abby Abbernathy leaves behind a dark and unusual past for a fresh start at Eastern College. Determine to stay on the path she believes is the appropriate one, she never expects to meet Travis Maddox, the campus’s notorious bad boy womanizer. At first, Abby is able to resist Travis’s charms, telling him that while she will be his friend, she will never become one of his many conquests. Travis, a champion fight club fighter, is challenged by Abby and enjoys her friendship. But before long, their relationship becomes more complicated. Travis finds that Abby has become far more important to him than anyone else in his life. And even though Abby fears what her future will hold if she lets herself get serious about Travis, she can’t stop from falling in love with him. Over the course of the next year, the two love, fight, and ultimate discover where they stand with each other.
Potential Points of Concern:
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: This book depicts a very dysfunctional, unhealthy codependency between Travis and Abby. Travis has major anger management issues and often explodes into acts of violent rage, attacking anyone he feels threatens Abby or his relationship with her. His feelings for her become close to obsessive. While there are never any depictions of domestic violence and it is never implied that Travis would ever hurt Abby, it is important that parents know that the relationship between these two is not a healthy one.
Too, Travis is the type of male character that many young adults find very appealing. His devotion to Abby is complete, and his inability to control himself due to his all-consuming love is romantic. However, it should be explained that this type of obsession and neediness is actually quite unhealthy and not something that one would truly want in a romantic partner.
Travis fights in illegal fight-club venues, winning money from bets placed on him.
All of the main characters engage in under-age drinking. Abby does tequila shots for money and becomes sick.
Travis is an extremely protective and jealous character who often strikes other boys who he feels are either threatening Abby or trying to hit on her.
Travis and Abby sleep in the same bed for an entire month when she moves into his apartment. This situation begins as a platonic one but evolves into a sexual relationship.
Travis engages in one-night-stands and treats women as sexual conquests until he meets Abby.
Birth control is mentioned.
Abby’s father is a professional gambler who owes money to a Las Vegas mafia boss and he comes to Abby for help in paying off his debt. Abby’s father holds her accountable for the fact that his luck changed and he emotionally blackmails her into helping him. Abby hustles poker and wins a lot of money, which she turns over to the mob boss.
Travis’s mother died when he was a child.
Age Appropriateness: 16 +