by Jamie McGuire
Publisher: Atria Books
★★★★☆ (4 / 5 stars)
Let me start out by saying that I did not read Beautiful Disaster, based on the numerous reviews about Walking Disaster being pretty much the exact same story as BD, just from Travis’s POV. I’ve gotten tired of reading NA stories from the female POV, so I skipped BD.
This has, by far, been one of the best NA romances I’ve read in the male POV. I love Travis and being able to read the struggles he goes through to be with the one he loves is amazing. The story’s pacing starts out a little slow and stilted, like some of the things he did were getting generalized and glossed over. For example, one minute, Travis is talking to Shepley about possibly getting a puppy for Abby (not really agreeing on anything), then not long after it gets mentioned that a puppy greets them, but it wasn’t even mentioned even briefly when he got it or maybe him shopping around the pet stores on a Saturday just to give a little indication that he took time to do it. Perhaps that little bit wasn’t needed, but I think it would’ve added a little more character to read about a guy who takes time out of his busy schedule to go pet shopping. I notice this sort of trend with the glossed-over pacing a lot in many traditionally published books I’ve read, and I guess it’s understandable to keep the pacing going, but sometimes it feels so abrupt, like I’m watching a 30-minute show on TV where they have to make the scenes brief and generalized.
But after Abby ‘loses’ the bet, that’s when things start to pick up. The way Travis falls head over heels for her is cute. The things he does for her like cooking dinner, getting her a puppy, and even being protective of her like not letting her walk out of the house wearing revealing clothing was so sweet to read.
There were times I thought Abby reacted a little too extreme to situations that I did not like. One of the big things was her going out with Parker. To me, I didn’t think it was believable for her to be sleeping in Travis’s room, in his bed, and still be happily going out with Parker. It didn’t make sense for her to do that. There were other little things that annoyed me with Abby, that made me glad to skip over BD, because I do not think I could stand to be in her head for the entire story based on some of the decisions she made (and having to deal with her super-annoying best friend, America).
I realize this is a romance, and part of a romance is that things need to happen to threaten the relationship here and there. There were some places I thought the author forced into the story to bring in the drama, rather than it happen naturally. One such example was Abby continuously packing her bags and leaving, only to come back again. And Travis’s continuous thinking she’s going to leave because he did something wrong. I mean, I understand how anyone can think this, but this has been brought up over and over almost every chapter. It makes Travis sound so insecure, and because it’s been done so much throughout the story, it starts losing its initial impact and sounds more monotonous than anything. I would have liked to see more than just Travis always assuming “Oh, I sneezed. Now she’s gonna leave me tomorrow. I know it.” (I’m over-dramatizing, but you get the idea).
The story had very few cliches (thank goodness!), though one that really annoyed me was when they went to Vegas. Seriously. Big fat mobster dude in an office with two goons on either side of him? That scene is so cliche it makes my eyes burn. Honestly, I think the Vegas stuff wasn’t even needed in this story. I mean, we hear and see bits and pieces about her father from Abby (though I still wonder how in the world he managed to just conveniently find Abby at a frat party), and I think this could’ve been handled differently rather than involving some mobster, to spark the big falling out afterward in which Abby stops talking to Travis for the good part of Winter Break.
All in all, the story ends in a very sweet HEA, that feels genuine. Travis becomes a very changed man when it’s all said and done. The author has portrayed the perfect elements of a true New Adult romance, and I loved it. She captured the aspects of character development from beginning to end. Travis begins as a brash bad boy, but through his undying love for Abby, he changes in amazing ways and becomes a great man.
The sex in this book is steamy, but nothing too overly detailed or erotica-ish. It’s really cool how you don’t have to mention so many details and still get the desired effect. I thought all of the sex scenes were done really well.
Overall, this has been a great book, and would recommend it to anyone who likes the New Adult genre and is looking for a good read in the male POV.