I went into this book pretty much thinking that there wouldn’t be any surprises because I knew what would be happening. This is Travis Maddox’s version of his relationship with Abby Abernathy in Beautiful Disaster. I was so very, very wrong.
Can you love someone too much?
Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.
In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.
Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.
I also feel like I need to do a mini-review of Beautiful Disaster first, just to make sure that we are all on the same page. I just read that this book won “Best Romance of 2012” at the BEA in New York City!! You can read about it here on her website.
Beautiful Disaster actually really surprised me in the best way. If you thought that this was just about an average girl falling love with a bad boy, you will be surprised like I was. Abby and her best friend America get invited to an underground fight. America’s boyfriend, Shepler, just happens to be cousins with one of the fighters. That’s where Travis sees Abby the first time, after he wins the fight. She kind of stands out in all of that violence. It’s the beginning of their freshman year, so they also get to know each other, when he volunteers to help her study for Biology.
First, when I read reviews of this book, I noticed some comparisons to other stories. While I understand that certain aspects of the storyline did remind me of another book I’ve read recently, I believe that these characters are very different. I actually LIKE these characters as people. Secondly, normally it’s the bad boy with the dark past, but in this story, it is our main character, Abby with a difficult past. She really cares about the important people in her life, and will do just about anything for them, even if it isn’t the best thing for her. I also love there really wasn’t much of a love triangle.
I remember loving Travis for all of the same reasons that Abby does in the first book. This time in Walking Disaster, we get to fall for Travis because he’s…Travis. The opening scene with his mother lays the groundwork for Travis’ emotional baggage that he shares with his father and brothers throughout his childhood and into his adult life. He is the ultimate bad boy with a heart of gold.
Travis is gorgeous, but now we know that he kind of knows that, but he’s still insecure when it comes to Abby’s attraction to him. He’s intelligent, without even trying. Rarely do we read that he needs to study or struggle with any subject in school. He’s very loyal to his family, but is quick to judge people’s motives, especially girls. One thing that surprised me was how he wasn’t constantly thinking about sex, even after he met Abby. Actually, I think his initial reaction to Abby, surprises Travis also. He could read her immediately. He knew she was hiding something, behind the innocent persona. Even his womanizing in the beginning didn’t seem as bad from his point of view.
His temper. It knows no bounds. There were two aspects of his personality that were hard to read about. His violent thoughts and inability to control them without the use of alcohol and his insecure feelings about Abby. I had to remind myself more than once that these characters were young. It made me think about the really stupid things I did at that age. Why? All of misunderstandings, games, drawn out fights and arguments over trivial people. He was a definite “wallower”, and like Shep, I wanted to smack some serious sense into him.
My conflicted feelings about her were maddening. I was in love with her; couldn’t imagine a life without her in it; but at the same time, I wanted her to have better. With that in mind, the thought of Abby with someone else was unbearable. Neither one of us could win, and yet I couldn’t lose her. The constant back and forth made me exhausted.
As for Abby, I loved that she didn’t immediately fall for Travis, wanted to distance herself from his violent tendencies and not be another notch in his bed post (or stain on his sofa, whatever the case may be). I wish that she had more self-worth at times, but her past seemed always come back to haunt her. Her perception of certain situations surprised me, but I really wanted her to be happy, and knew it was Travis that would be able to give her that.
What’s worse is that in Walking Disaster, I knew what Abby was doing and could remember why she reacted the way she did, but still wanted to wring her neck sometimes too. Travis was trying, but she just wasn’t getting it. It really broke my heart at times.
There is a wonderful surprise at the end of this book. The epilogue. I love it when an author lets us get a peek into the characters’ future. It really made me feel good about the initial ending that we got in the first book. Not that I didn’t love it mind you. This just ties everything up perfectly.
For some reason Travis really stayed with me while reading this book, even when I would put it down to get things done, like work, eat and sleep. LOL! I kept going to my favorite male singers or bands to get a good hit. Maybe it was Travis’ constant pacing or excessive amounts of energy that he would be dealing with after a good fight or the numerous times that Abby would make him crazy? I’m not sure, but I wanted to post one of the songs that I kept hearing in my head.
Funny thing about this video. I was searching for a video that actually just showed the words for Pyro, because that’s what drew me to the song. I found this one instead. It’s a complete coincidence that the scene is in a bar where the band, Kings of Leon, is playing, and a fight breaks out. Lucky me!!
**A copy of this book was given to me by Net Galley. This did not influence my review in any way.**
I actually give this book 5 stars, more than what I gave Beautiful Disaster, because Travis is so much more interesting to read about than Abby. This book goes on my “top shelf fantastic reads” and “favorite shelf” on Goodreads. You can purchase the paperback, audio and e-books versions here.