Pages - 416
Published by Simon & Schuster in 2012
Everything in the room screamed that I didn't belong. The stairs were crumbling, the rowdy patrons were shoulder to shoulder, and the air was a medley of sweat, blood and mold. Voices blurred as they yelled numbers and names back and forth, and arms flailed about, exchanging money and gestures to communicate over the noise. I squeezed through the crowd, following close behind my best friend.
Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.
Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
Before I began reading this book, I will be honest and admit to being reluctant to pick it up. There were two reasons for this. Firstly everyone kept telling me how screwed up Travis was. How he seriously needed some therapy, and quite frankly that scared me a little. I had all sorts of weird ideas flowing through my brain about what he might do to Abby. Secondly, the cover put me off - it is very similar to a book called So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman which was one of the most disturbing reads I had last year. So you can see why I was reluctant.
However with the sudden influx of New Adult fiction, with this book waving the flag, heralding this new category's arrival in the UK, I knew I had to read it. So with some trepidation, I slowly ventured in...and wondered why the hell I had let my brain rule over my heart for soooo long. Wowzer! What a book! I was instantly sucked into the growing relationship between Abby and Travis as they circled each other like caged animals. OK Travis, is a little bit screwed up and ever so slightly possessive, but the way I see it, he was like that for a reason - he had fears that catapulted out of control. It took him a long time to find the person he truly loved and he was willing to do anything to make sure that relationship held the test of time. And don't for one minute think that Abbi is some sweet, innocent, gullible girl -she knows exactly what she is doing. She has tricks up her sleeves that will make your eyebrows rise so high they will be gluing themselves to the ceiling. Half way through the book, I thought I might need to be reintroduced to Abbi, because when secrets are revealed, you often see someone in a whole new light.
This is a really intense love story and I adored every word of it. These two characters were meant to be together and anyone that stood in the way of their love was likely to get seriously burnt. Even as I write this review, I want to read this book all over again. It's like find a rough diamond and watching the difficulties in shaping and refining it until it is perfect. The pain they both suffer at the low points of the book were utterly gut wrenching. One scene with Travis breaking down in front of his college peers who had often feared his over reaction to situations was so emotionally disturbing to read.
I loved the secondary characters, America and Shelby, especially as their own growing relationship often got entangled with the fights between Travis and Abby. I want to be friends with all of them! Jamie McGuire knows how to write emotional and believable characters.
This is one of the best contemporary books I have read in ages. I can't wait for more books for Jamie McGuire.