Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1) - Jamie McGuire OK... I got sucked into this potential "hype" when reading a description of another book that said something to the effect of "move over Travis Maddox, Gideon Cross". Since I had no idea who Travis was, I had to check it out. (Of course, I should have known something was up when Christian Grey's name was in there, too. *sigh*)This isn't a bad book, it's just... strange. Granted, I'm not the target audience for the book, so don't take that the wrong way. The book was very entertaining,, but it was also maddening - almost as maddening to me as the FSOG dialogue of "please don't be mad at me" over and over and over again.Our H and H are two very messed up people. Nothing new there, not in the romance genre and especially not in the contemporary romance genre. They're both college students. But there's so much angst and mystery surrounding these two, that as our story unfolds, I felt as if I'd read 2 or 3 completely different books and then come back to finish the one I started with.Abby is escaping from her past and her father. But it takes so long to figure out what that's about, that when the reveal comes, I almost didn't care. And, sad to say, living in Las Vegas, I didn't like the stereotypical gambler, boozer, loser, win-at-all-costs hype of that part of the book. Can I empathize with Abby? Sure. And while folks who've never lived in Vegas love to believe that the Mob still rules and reigns... that it's easy for under-21 to get by with playing high stakes poker (with a very good fake ID)... well, it's just not done.But for the sake of our story, I'll go with it. It brings some excitement to the story, and it brings in the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING between our H and H. See, I couldn't quite figure out what was the big secret in Abby's background, or why she thinks that SHE is the one who's going to mess Travis up. Well, that mystery was solved!Yes, Travis is a "bad boy". Yes, he's kinda messed up - even for a kid that has a decent family (a father and 4 brothers). Yes, he can get hung up on money, but what guy doesn't when he thinks it will allow him to provide only the best for his love?There's so much CLUELESS BEHAVIOR in this book... so many break-ups, make ups, walk outs, screaming matches, fights... whew! It's a wonder that these two even survive the book alive! (Or maybe they don't!)And the sex scenes... don't kill the messenger, but if this is the YA's version of "hot sex" - YIKES! There's a lot of kissing and then wham! We get right to it without any other preliminaries. I can't figure out if it's because the author is trying to keep it PG-13/YA, and so doesn't want to get into the ins-and-outs of the act or if this is her experience with sex. Either way, it paints a very strange and unromantic picture of sex. I don't need a play-by-play... but there's more to making love, sex, whatever you want to call it than kissing and wham!It's not a bad book. It's just a not-for-me book. It's the kind of book that I'm sorry I purchased and wished I'd borrowed from my e-library or library. There are too many unrealistic portraits of "life", including college life, in this book, that I shudder to think that my YA nieces might read it. It's not as bad as FSOG, IMO, but in many ways, it could easily become the FSOG-YA version... something that gets a lot of hype that has very little substance or basis in reality. No, not everyone chooses to read a romance book thinking it will show-them-the-way-it-is or be a playbook.... But the suspension of disbelief can only take you so far. And toxic people and toxic relationships are just ... sad.Was I pulling for these two? Heck yeah! It sucked me into the story enough to make me care, even though it made me completely crazy. And to me, that's the danger. Just sayin'...