This is a retelling of the New Adult genre-defining novel Beautiful Disaster, this time from Travis’s perspective. I’m not going to give the premise of the story again; you can read my Beautiful Disaster review for that. Save that, it’s a torturous college romance. But if you loved BD, you’ll like this, too. Yes, it is repetitive, hard to avoid that with a retelling, but there’s new material and the same high quality of writing, and I wasn’t bored.
In this version, we get a much clearer picture on the man Travis is. We understand how he sees the attention he gets, what he thinks of the women he sleeps with:
“Did women deserve to be treated like sluts? No. Did sluts deserve to be treated like sluts? Yes. I was a slut. … If I took that whore home, bagged her, and released strings-free, I was suddenly the bad guy. Nonsense.”
I kinda liked him less after this bit, because of his entire lack of understanding women, but overall he has my heart cos he’s just so devoted to Abby. We also find out why he calls Abby ‘The Pigeon’. This bugged me, as pigeons aren’t exactly pretty little creatures (not the ones on my roof each morning anyway), but he means dove, so that’s okay:
“I decided long ago I would feed on the vultures until a dove came alone. A pigeon. The kind of soul that didn’t impede on anyone; just walked around worrying about its own business, trying to get through life without pulling everyone else down with its own needs and selfish habits. Brave. A communicator. Intelligent. Beautiful. Soft-spoken. A creature that mates for life. Unattainable until she has a reason to trust you.”
I’m not sure how Abby stacks up against this list – um, communicator? No. But we see Travis recognizing something in her, a kindred spirit as well as something more.
We see his initial intentions for her, and then how he enjoys the chase. But what’s more interesting is how he changes as he starts to enjoy her company, and it how much it unsettles him after being an established bachelor. He doesn’t know what the feeling is that she’s making him feel, he only knows he can’t give up feeling it.
“I didn’t know what the hell I was doing or why, but something about sitting across from her in that booth brought me a weird sense of calm. Even in the middle of a rage.”
In retold scenes, we hear and see things Abby didn’t even notice in BD. For example, Travis had been looking forward to holding the door to the pizza restaurant open for her on their first non-date, but she didn’t even notice. This book actually helped me understand Abby a lot better, too.
New content includes background on Travis’s mother’s death, time with his family and we find out why Parker was so interested in Abby. More interestingly, we get a little bit of what happened after BD finishes – the reaction back at school and with their friends. Then the epilogue is set 11 years on and underlines the HEA future of our characters and show what they’ve been up to. I’m not convinced I found it believable, but it was interesting to see their version of domesticity.
If you read this without reading Beautiful Disaster, I don’t think you’ll be confused – it’s a good book though not as powerful as the original. Otherwise it’s a quality retelling and I enjoyed it being told.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Jamie McGuire
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Atria Books