Walking Disaster is a re-told(ish) version of Beautiful Disaster from Travis’s POV. It’s a NA romance following the bad boy/good girl theme.
As a stand alone novel, this book doesn’t work. But, I don’t think it’s supposed to. You have to read BD beforehand, and if you do, this is a fun read. I loved Travis’s view of things. It did change my view of Abby a little, just because she was sort of poorly developed and basically described as just a giant bitch. Thus, part of the reason why you need to read her POV first. When I read the first book, I didn’t think of Abby as a bitch, but Travis flat-out say it. That’s not to say I didn’t like her, I just didn’t relate to her like I did in BD.
McGuire did a great job transitioning to a new voice. Sometimes, it’s not always obvious, but the difference was drastic between Travis and Abby. The biggest difference being that Abby kept secrets from the readers (which is perfectly in-line with her character), whereas Travis was an open book. I loved hearing his side of things. It helped explain more of what really happened in Vegas, why fighting was such a big part of him, and why he was so psycho when it came to Abby. Poor guy just didn’t know how to deal with all the new emotions and feelings flooding his system.
That being said, the book skipped over many parts that I would have thought important, and it was more of an internal dialogue than Abby’s story. The story also lacked plot – like I said, this IS NOT a stand alone novel. It just didn’t flow as well as the origional.
WD did do a few things right, and that was paving the way for the other books set in the Beautiful world. I love Shep way more now. I was given a new respect for him and his role in everything, and I’m excited to read his story with America more than I was before (I almost didn’t buy it). Trent, one of the other Maddox boys, was introduced more fully in this book as well, making me excited to read his story. Finally, the epilogue was basically an introduction to Thomas’s story and the final book, A Beautiful Funeral. It made me want to read them both, so I think WD did it’s job. I’m starting to think of it as a promo book.
One thing I want to say (which REALLY bothered me in both this book and BD) is that the “do we need a condom” scene after Abby and Travis get back together is bullshit. It was uninformed and dangerous, which annoyed me. I would hate for someone who is uneducated in human sexuality to read that part and think that what they did was smart. 1. Travis had slept with hundreds of women. Condoms DO NOT protect you from all STDs/STIs. Abby should have made him get tested. I know that doesn’t sound romantic, but like… Come on. 2. There is no magic time when you cannot get pregnant. There are times when it’s not super likely, but it is still possible. She should have gone on the Pill before they went without in order to be safe. Just saying.
Overall, I’m giving Walking Disaster an 8/10. This is based on my love of BD and this novel as a companion piece, not a stand alone novel.