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I swear, I want every single thing you get to wear to exist in my IRL closet. That said, just like in Hollywood, all that glitters isn't gold -- readers are going to see the dark side of fame, too. Will our rising star make any new friends in Book 2? Will we be seeing any familiar faces from Hollywood U? Our heroine will be making some new friends, some in very high places. And of course now that she's the "it" girl, there are people ready to tear her down, like her new costar. What was the brainstorm process like for Book 2?
What's the inspiration behind Book 2? We knew right away we wanted to step up the scale and take you to the next level, from an indie film darling to starring in a major summer blockbuster. So a lot of the brainstorming was just coming up with the most fun and exciting aspects of that, like jet-skiing with a bazooka and filming all over the world. Book 2 is about the thrills -- and risks -- of being on top. That made brainstorming SO much fun. It was a process of 'wait, what would be even more? But we also wanted to show another side of fame. It's not all red carpets and brilliant smiles.
Hollywood is a larger than life place, which can lead to larger than life problems. I don't want to spoil anything for people, but this book is like a roller coaster -- thrilling highs, and terrifying drops.
The brainstorm process for RCD is super fun because Andrew and Jilly are always hilarious, so it's great to bounce ideas around together. There has been a lot going on in the Hollywood world recently, and it felt meaningful to touch upon those issues within our Choices universe, as well as see how you as a character can regain agency over your life, narrative, and creative endeavors. Which Red Carpet Diaries character out of the main cast do you relate to the most? I'm probably most similar to Teja.
I really respect her hustling attitude and would like to be more like her! Seth would be a great best friend though since you'd probably laugh all day. If you had to co-star in a movie with one of the RCD characters, who would it be? I would most likely choose to co-star with Victoria, who I think is a very interesting, multifaceted character.
I would probably leave the set completely emotionally exhausted, but I would learn a lot from her. An ocelot cameo would be magical, too. There are some seriously tough issues that we confront, and that I think need to be addressed more openly and more often. The world of RCD is over the top, but the issues our characters face are so universal. I'm really glad we get to bring more of those to the page this time around. Roll out the red carpet for the launch of Red Carpet Diaries: Book 2, out tomorrow!
Our original High School Story game had its first day of school back in August of With the story rebooted in Choices, we've decided to close the book on this chapter of our Pixelberry story this summer. High School Story will release its finale quest two weeks from now, on June 18th, alongside a final update in the following weeks. We'll be sad to say goodbye, but we hope you'll tune into this last quest with all your friends -- Autumn, Julian, Payton, Wes, Mia, and so many more classmates.
It's been almost five years since High School Story first launched, and this feels like a graduation moment for all of us at Pixelberry who've worked on High School Story in the past and the present. Over the years, we've poured our hearts into the stories and characters you've come to love. We've lived the highs and lows of trivia bowls, campus heists, haunted train rides, and school district elections right alongside you. The characters of High School Story will always stick with us, whether that's Koh and her epic fort, Ezra with his rock-and-roll career, Sakura and her next level gaming, or Mia in all her no-nonsense cheerleader glory.
We're so happy that many of our favorite characters have made the leap to Choices. At the end of the day, High School Story will always be Pixelberry's very first game. You can read more on our history with interactive fiction games here. We set out to create a game that would speak to the power of friendship, the importance of being true to yourself, and the value of education.
Along the way, we partnered with different non-profits and focused on current issues facing teens, such as cyberbullying, sexism in gaming, and body image. We're proud of what we've accomplished, and endlessly thankful that players like you made this game possible.
For the last few months, we've been releasing a storyline that brings the stories of characters like Wes, Payton, and Autumn full circle. Thank you so much for playing this game that has been in our hearts for so long. Tune in next week for the second-to-last High School Story quest, and the week after that for its finale! A wedding awaits you in Birchport, a town shrouded in fog and mystery! Will you be able to track down your missing best friend and reveal the secrets of this strange town? Find out in Veil of Secrets, the latest addition to Choices!
Read on for an inside look at the making of Veil of Secrets:. Let's start with an introduction. What's Veil of Secrets about? And what genre does it fall into? Veil of Secrets is a bit of a genre-bender, a romantic mystery. When your best friend Kate O'Malley disappears at her wedding, you set out to find the truth It's one of my favorite sub-genres of mystery, the 'corrupt small town' story, where an investigation into a single crime ends up revealing everyone's dark secrets and sinister pasts.
I think of Veil as Cape Cod noir. Without giving away too much about the story, what was the brainstorm process like for Veil of Secrets? How do you come up with a mystery story, and everything that entails? Brainstorming a mystery is a bit like taking apart a nesting doll: There always seems to be another layer hidden under the one you're looking at, stories within stories within stories. As such, our brainstorming process was one of constant derailment as we leapt down the various rabbit holes of the characters' pasts and secret motivations.
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Hopefully, all of this world and character building led to an intriguing story with some satisfying twists and turns! Brainstorming an elaborate mystery like this is really hard, because it requires juggling a bunch of intricate plot arcs, character motivations, and red herrings, all the while making sure the chapters are fun and exciting. It's a lot of struggling and whiteboarding and back-and-forth, culminating in that great Eureka! We've done mystery stories before, but nothing quite like this. What are you most excited for readers to encounter in this book?
Our last mystery, Most Wanted, was released to everyone in one big chunk. There was no time for wild fan theories about Tull's true motivation, people wondering what would become of Sam and Dave, or anything like that. This time we'll have several blissful months of weekly releases to watch people theorize to their hearts' content!
In addition, I just have to say that this is a beautiful book. The cover, the backgrounds, and the characters are just gorgeous. Our art team really outdid themselves this time! I'm really excited for the "no WAY! I'm betting the readers will have some great reaction gifs ready. How about TV shows? I love longform mysteries like The Killing and True Detective the first season, at least! We may try something that tonally dark one day, but we're not quite there yet.
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Even though it's not a mystery, Revenge feels like it shares a tone and atmosphere with Veil of Secrets. I'm a sucker for Gillian Flynn books and I'm the perfect audience -- I usually don't even try to guess the twists, I just let them wash over me. I also really loved Broadchurch, if we're talking TV. I think the pacing of that show was really masterful. Veil of Secrets is just the start of a number of new books launching in the next few months.
Are there any Choices books you're personally looking forward to? I'm working on something super top-secret now Choices' most ambitious book yet! What's in store for Choices readers? Flirt and scheme your way through London society, all while conquering the pianoforte. Master spells in the face of danger. And take your romance to new heights! Looking forward to that!
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What does that mean for players? Can we still make fanart? We support the Pixelberry fan community, and that's something that has not changed, and will never change. We wouldn't be able to make the games we love without you, the player. Our studio continues to respect and support fan works, such as fanart, fanfiction, and creative interpretations of our game characters and stories -- as long as they're created for fun and not used for commercial purposes.
In fact, you'd be surprised by how much fanart makes its way to Team Pixelberry! We're in love with your heartfelt comments, funny gifs, and incredible fanart. For legal reasons, we don't read fanfiction on social media, but we're humbled that we've inspired so many talented writers with our games! In addition, please don't post spoilers for unreleased chapters -- be considerate of other fans!
We know that just as our games come from our hearts, so does your enthusiasm. We look forward to continuing to have our stories shine through all we do together! For clarity, our Terms of Service claims the right to use any content posted to Pixelberry's own official channels, which includes fan work sent directly to us or posted on our Facebook page.
This allows us to re-post fanart like in our weekly Fan Fridays on Facebook! General device details such as device type and storage space are sent in along with bug reports. This helps our Support Team members troubleshoot game issues for you. As before, we respect and support player privacy and personal rights. Enough about the Terms of Service! What about The Royal Romance? As you know, The Royal Romance is on a mid-book break.
The team has exciting stuff planned for the second half of the book, and they're working around the clock to make that happen. Red pandas may be involved. The Royal Romance will make its majestic return in June. Red Carpet Diaries will return in June as well! Book 2 of It Lives is slated to return in the fall.
I've seen the work-in-progress art, and it's haunted me ever since We don't have a set date for Hero: Book 2, but it's in the works as well! Most Wanted will return, but currently continues to be on hiatus. As usual, more specifics about all of these books will be posted closer to their release dates. Back in our February update post , we mentioned that we're working to expand our library with a variety of genres.
It's been super tough keeping it all under wraps, but we're excited to share these stories with you in the upcoming months. You'll play romance that takes Choices to the next level, step back in time with historical fiction, discover out-of-this-world sci-fi, and find the magic in a new fantasy story. And of course, Veil of Secrets, our newest romantic mystery, is coming out in June! Keep an eye on our social media pages for the latest sneak peeks. So what are you looking forward to this summer? If you've got final exams coming up for you or anyone in your family, good luck! And if you've got any questions or feedback, we want to hear from you.
Message us on Facebook or within the Choices app -- our inbox is open. As always, thank you so much for playing Choices! Now that choices have been made, tears have been shed, and the dust has settled, it's time for a look back at the end of the Endless Summer trilogy. Read on for the final writer interview NOTE: It's been almost a week since the finale, and I've cried out all my feelings. How do YOU feel now that it's over?
To be honest, it hasn't completely sunk in yet. Having lived and breathed Endless Summer for almost a year now, I'm starting to feel just as marooned on La Huerta as the characters! There's certainly a deep sense of relief. Endings can be nerve-wracking to write, especially on a tight deadline, so I'm very happy that it's done and players are enjoying the conclusion of our journey together through time, space, and the self.
This was the first Choices book I got to write on and I immediately fell in love with the characters from books 1 and 2. It feels bittersweet to not be writing them anymore, but I'm proud of the send-off we gave them. I love all three endings for very different reasons This is a weird answer, but I actually think the Rourke ending. On the surface, it seems bad and it was a lot of fun writing the Darkest Timeline but on playing it, I think there's actually a weird hopeful undercurrent, the promise of a new adventure. I really love those 'the battered heroes reunite against impossible odds, fighting together even if it means death' endings, and I think the Rourke ending actually kind of promises that.
Brainstorms for Endless Summer kicked off during the summer of I remember the story changed a lot in the process. Diego was called Ben, the title was different, and the trees were sentient Can you talk about how Endless Summer took shape? Whew, this series had a crazier backstory than its characters did. But after dozens of hours of me and Andrew whiteboarding in a tiny conference room, we came up with the Book 1 we have now.
Yeah, Endless Summer went through a LOT of interesting iterations before we hit on the version that worked. There was a version where everyone on the island was your ex, and one where the island was actually the top of the sunken continent of Atlantis. Even the first full outline was pretty different, a lot darker: Luckily, we figured out that we wanted something lighter, more heartfelt and adventurous, and I think we were all thrilled with the result. What was your favorite part of making Endless Summer a reality? From the start, Endless was conceived as an experimental series where we got to try new things, and the most fun I had was getting to go wild with new ideas.
The relationship system, the collectibles, the cutscenes, that one chapter in book 1 where I got to design an escape room The hardest was definitely the overall plot, and finding a way to connect all our ideas and pieces into a frame that both made sense and was emotionally satisfying. I'm honestly kind of amazed we pulled it off: Writing the handfasting chapter may have been my most challenging and transformative experience. It was essentially five weddings in one, which was quite an undertaking.
By the end, I'd gone from being a low-key cynic who didn't care for flashy weddings to a full blown romantic with dreams of my own big day. I'm also proud to have worked on some of the puzzles, and Varyyn and Diego's evolving relationship, among other things. I got to write a lot of deeply emotional scenes for book three, which I loved doing. What I'm proudest of was getting to write Quinn's Ember scene. As someone who also has an auto-immune disease, it meant the world to me to imbue a character like Quinn with all of the words I needed to hear at the beginning of my diagnosis.
Seeing fans with chronic illnesses react to that scene is the current highlight of my writing career. Some story threads took multiple books to pay off, like who the missing wedding party ended up being. Were there any Easter eggs, details, or callbacks that you think readers may have missed?
Choices readers have sleuthed out many of the mysteries, and it's been a privilege to write for such an engaged audience. One clue I haven't seen mentioned occurs in Book 2 when Iris sings part of a traditional lullaby about giving her love "a baby with no crying. Players may have caught this already, but the three endings were meant to represent reliving the past, holding on to the present, and moving forward into the future.
This is absolutely non-canon! Honestly, our fans are so sharp I think they caught almost everything. At heart, Endless Summer is a story about growing up -- about the summer where you graduate college and become an adult, and about the deep yearning to stay in the safety of sustained adolescence versus taking the plunge into the scary world of adulthood. We didn't intend it initially, but Endless Summer wound up with the underlying theme of "Every summer has to end. I'm also sworn to secrecy, but look for an announcement later this year I'm working on a really fun new project that I think Endless Summer fans will really enjoy!
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I'm very busy on Bloodbound and loving it! I've also got a couple new projects being outlined that I think players are going to like a lot Thank you so much for playing. This story wouldn't exist without the fans who adored it. Thank you for your conspiracy theories and your fanart and your heartwarming messages about how much this story and these characters mean to you. I can't wait to show you all the new projects we're working on! Endless Summer was able to reach this point because of dedicated fans tuning in every week.
Thanks to each of you for supporting this crazy adventure from day one. As with all Choices books, it takes a village to raise a series. That means writers, QA testers, artists, and everyone in between. Keep an eye out for updates on what these writers and the rest of the Choices team has planned next! Junior year is here! Book 2 ended on a cliffhanger, but the series is back with The Junior. Who are you moving in with? And what's next for you at Hartfeld University? This week, the intrepid team behind The Junior took the time to answer a few questions about this new book:.
I think this will be one of the most exciting books in the Freshman series so far. We've had so much fun writing it. College is about learning, and friendship, and so much more than your outfit. Can you talk a bit about the outfits in The Junior? New book, new look! One of my favorite things about working on this series is getting the chance to impose my fashion whims on the world. I think players will love the new wardrobe!
What will this next step look like? Did I make her in my image, or did she influence who I am today? I relate most to James. I wish I could say that I'm edgy like Becca, but the truth is, I'm a big dork, a workaholic, and tragically nice. I also love horror movies and roller coasters like Kaitlyn, though! At the end of The Sophomore, almost everyone declares their major, which is a pretty major haha decision.
How did you choose your major? Do you have any advice for college students struggling to decide? Choosing my major was pretty simple. I loved reading and writing, so I chose classes that involved reading and writing. Choose a major that gives you work you enjoy doing, and will give you the skills and experience you need to pursue a job you enjoy doing.
I had already been interested in writing, so in some ways majoring in English was a pretty unsurprising decision for me. But during my freshman year especially, I considered a lot of different possible majors.
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Your underclassmen years are a really good time to take classes in as wide a range of subjects as you can. Ask older students for courses or professors they recommend. Take this time to experiment! Now that school's in, it's time to dive back into life at Hartfeld! Check out The Junior if you haven't already, and keep an eye out for more teasers for upcoming Choices books. As spring turns to summer, we've got more on the way! Night has fallen, and the vampires have arrived in New York City.
Turn up the volume and check out the first two chapters of Bloodbound, the newest addition to the Choices library! This time around, we're mixing things up at Inside Choices -- here to talk about Bloodbound is the brainstorm team behind the book:. Give me the lowdown on Bloodbound. Without giving too much away, can you talk about the brainstorm process for Bloodbound?
What did that journey look like? The most fun part of the Bloodbound brainstorm was coming up with how our vampires worked. The brainstorm process for this book was one of the most fun ones I've ever been involved in, I think because we're already pretty good friends even outside of work. The only downside was that sometimes it got hard to stay on track and remember we have a book to brainstorm! As you can tell from our Bloodbound sneak peeks, there's quite a few major characters, all at the head of different vampire clans.
What was the inspiration behind this? One of my favorite things about vampire stories is all the byzantine power struggles between these ancient families, with secret councils and rival factions and backstabbing and all that. It also lets us create all kinds of awesome supporting characters, like The Baron, a brutal vampire crime boss, and Priya, a fashion designer as hedonistic as she is dangerous. Yeah, we wanted to take these supernaturally powerful characters and make them powerful in a whole new way, on a whole new level, which makes the stakes higher, and the villains that much scarier.
Do you really think we'd give you a vampire book without giving you the chance to smooch up on some vampires? I think hope we did a good job in creating a vampire love interest for everyone! I also hope that nobody gets too mad at us that you can't date certain characters because unfortunately I'm most excited for everyone to explore this world. These vampires have rules and a society and extensive histories that have shaped who they are.
I especially can't wait for everyone to meet Gaius Augustine and learn more about the mysteries surrounding him. These ended up being super fun. You get to see whole new facets of the characters and amazing historical outfits. Do you have any personal favorites when it comes to vampire movies, books, and tv shows? Or paranormal fantasy in general?
I'm a huge sucker yay, vampire puns! It's one of those books that gets new meaning every time I pick it up and obviously it shaped almost all vampire stories that we have today. I quite liked Carmilla the web series, not the classic novel , or at least the ten episodes I watched before I got too scared to continue. I like stories that explore the human side of vampirism. After all, the first rule of monsters is that they embody human desires. I enjoy vampire fiction where action is a big focus. The Lost Boys, the Blade movies Oh, also "Stakes", the Adventure Time miniseries about Marceline.
A human, because what good is it to achieve immortality if we must forfeit something essential of our humanity, of our soul? Also I like McDonald's breakfast too much to be nocturnal. I want to strike fear in the hearts of my enemies, and win at all arm-wrestling matches. And that's it for Inside Choices! Be sure to check out Bloodbound, and let us know what you think! School is officially in! Book 3 starts up where Book 2 left off. There's more drama, romance, and of course, your choice of concert band, cheer squad, or sports.
And don't forget prom! Before I give away any more about the next chapter in your high school adventures, let's talk to the writers:. If you saw our peek into the future at the end of Book 2, you know that Hearst High shut down, and some of their students have to transfer to Berry High! Just wait until you see all the prom king and queen campaigning, fancy suits and dresses, and of course promposals! With everything that's going on, it sounds like we'll be meeting some new friends and foes! Can you tell us about that?
Any favorite new characters? My favorite new character is Jade. To sum her up in three words: I personally adore Cameron. They add a new spark to band, and their spontaneous creative energy pushes against Aiden's careful style in a really fun way. Each time I write them, I think about how high school me would have been scared to ask them to hang out - because I'd be like, ahh, you're so cool!
On a less sappy note, the promposals have been so much fun to write. I just love… love! Each character is so fun and unique, but you want to make sure they have their time in the spotlight! Developing relationships between the new and old characters is such a treat! The most challenging part for me has always been and will always be writing about sports. No matter how much research I do, Rachel S. I feel like my grades would soar if I studied with Maria. I also considered Luis and Nishan, but I get the feeling we might get sidetracked and end up showing each other nerdy videos on YouTube.
She's a great mix of studious and fun. We'd take frequent breaks, but still get a lot accomplished. And the snacks would be out of this world. Take a look at what questions you missed, and figure out why. Once you know that, you can figure out strategies that work for you. Oh, and make sure you know exactly how the test is scored and how much time you have on each section. Not that this has ever happened to me or anything Before you start studying, you have to get into the proper mindset: Then, visualize your results.
Finally, crack open your book and create notecards. Those did the trick for me, especially for Spanish and French classes. As for the actual exam, I always bring 5 pencils. Break all the pencils. I could've used these study tips in high school whoops. To everyone reading along: Did you play the first chapter of High School Story: What did you think? Can true love really be guaranteed? Find out with the Eros matchmaking service in the newest Choices book, Perfect Match!
You'll meet your perfect match or maybe someone else! For a behind-the-scenes look with the writers, read on:. In this day and age, online dating apps are so common! Getting set up with someone can be an unexpected adventure in and of itself. We wanted to take that idea — the adrenaline, the uncertainty, the rush of getting to know someone new — and explore it more in the context of a very tailored matchmaking service. What happens when you get what you want… or what you think you want?
Max came up with the concept around spring of last year when The Royal Romance first launched. I had so much fun brainstorming with the team! I remember writing really frantically and messily across many whiteboards. We knew mainly that we wanted to create a personality quiz to find your perfect match. One of my favorite parts was coming up with the types of matches and comparing results with everyone in the office.
The story of this book takes a really interesting turn or turns? And it was a lot of fun plotting it out. There may or may not be a twist involved at some point, and let me just say, it's not what you expect In Choices, the team is working to expand the library to include different genres, storytelling styles, gameplay features, and more.
What makes Perfect Match unique? The Perfect Match Quiz is different from anything we've done so far. Our team wrote a pool of questions, and we've randomized it so that every player sees a different set of questions. And the result you get will change the scenes that you see! If your perfect match is a Champion, you'll read different dialogue than if you're matched with a Pioneer You can also select your love interest's gender and appearance, as well as your own. If you're looking for something more, your match can be narrowed down to those with special skills or hobbies, such as a musician.
Also laughing at the ridiculous character names, but reminding self that neither "America" or "Shepley" is as bad as "Eureka Boudreaux". Growing distaste for random "Pigeon" nickname. Surprised by route taken by book. There appears not to be instalove, which really shouldn't be surprising, given the nature of the absolutely deplorable love interest who is a walking caricature of male privilege, misogyny and rape culture rolled into one physically unappealing package.
Writing grinds on my nerves: All Abby does is fuck Parker over, and all Travis does is fuck Abby over, and all Parker does is belittle Abby and walk around looking perfect, and no trouble stirs from this despite Travis and Parker being frat brothers? Why the fuck is Travis even in the fraternity, because all he does is beat the shit out of everyone?
Then again, this sort of antisocial clique mentality and culture of gender binary is what fraternities and sororities thrive on. Constant and aggressive misogyny against every other woman who shows interest in Travis is a motif within Abby's narrative. They're bimbo twins, or they're short-skirted sluts, or they're "giving themselves up".
Of course, Travis engaging in promiscuous behaviour is sympathized with because he's "troubled". All sympathy for book waning. Abby and Travis revolve around each other like the doors at Macy's and whine about loving each other but not being sure about the other person's feelings, meanwhile the entire college watches them as if they are the centre of the universe and Abby shrugs off this fame while smoothing down her modest cardigan and flipping her modest hair like a "good girl". I don't let it go to my head. All women except those in committed relationships are portrayed as harpies.
This page book, narrated by a female character, written by a woman, just barely passes the Bechdel test. Cabin fever sets in. The book and I stare each other down, with the seatbelt sign looming over our heads as a hellish omen sent to warn us of the impending five hours of the journey, in which we will remain locked in a turbulence-fuelled death grip at 40, feet.
Determined not to succumb to the throes of insanity, I throw the book under the seat and watch Oz, The Great and Powerful. Movie is just as misogynistic and cheesy as book. Book finds its way back into my hands. I open it and go hard at it, determined to finish it in the next three hours. However, I am forced to gag into my white paper vomit bag when a sex scene with all the romantic appeal of the "guts" sequence from The Walking Dead blindsides me.
I read another hundred or so pages filled with nothing but belly button fluff, and then the proverbial towel is thrown in again. Bonus points for Travis trashing the apartment like a fucking gorilla in heat after Abby leaves in the morning without saying goodbye. Bonus bonus points for having Abby apologize for his appalling, violent, frightening behaviour.
Insanity sings a siren song. I am barely able to hold on to my mind as a huge convoluted plot involving Vegas, poker and "cronies" springs up out of thin air. Abby and Travis break up because Travis wants to join the Mob??? Abby and Travis fuck each other over again, constantly pussy-footing around the truth and their feelings. However, hilarity ensues when one realizes that they have broken up and Travis is stuck with "Pigeon" tattooed on his wrist. What a fucking idiot. It is a very, very bad idea to tattoo another person's name on your body. This is pretty much a renowned fact.
Tattoo artists everywhere will strongly advise against it. Abby and Travis fuck again in his father's house??? The plane has entered Canada and the end of the longest flight in history appears to be in sight. However, the book refuses to wrap up. There is more misogyny to be had, more violent behaviour from Travis, more pussy-footing, and a reunion which oozes with cheese. Side characters America and Shepley continue to be aggressively boring. Motif of weird fizzling subplots emerges and it becomes apparent that there is no plot to this book, only an abusive and codependent relationship and its hurdles.
Nothing actually happens except a few immature and bratty kids behaving like dogs in heat, spattering period blood all over the floor and pissing on strangers' pant legs. They are the most inconvenient, self-absorbed and antagonistic group of people who all need a good, solid kick in the pants. Bonus points for pretending to be inclusive by having a gay character. Book is not inclusive when book portrays a gay character as an extreme and commodified caricature with absolutely no expression of sexuality, no agency, and no reason for existence outside of consoling the main character when her straight romance breaks down.
Travis and Abby are married!!! Cheesiest scene in the history of the universe proceeds, along with fifty pages of surrounding filler. Book seems to drag on forever - chronicling Abby and Travis as they check in at the airport, as they drive somewhere, as they hug, and as they recycle the same conversation filled with sweet nothings that they have exchanged at least twenty times before.
I am crying inside, begging for this ordeal to be over. When it is, a tsunami of relief washes over me. I arrive home, go to bed, and do not awaken for eleven hours. This book is just a disaster. Sep 04, Kat Kennedy added it. It's just too horrible. I've reached my max saturation point of stupidity. Jul 02, Kristen rated it it was amazing Shelves: In many ways this book is everything I hate in a Young Adult romance, but I still found myself enthralled, giddy, and starry eyed, regardless of how annoyed I became at time.
In fact, I felt like I was at odds with myself during most of it. There was my latent teenage self, all starry eyed and idealistic, 5 stars with a caveat, and by far my most difficult review to write to date. There was my latent teenage self, all starry eyed and idealistic, who loved everything about this book, warring with my more mature and realistic year-old self who knows better. It became quite exasperating. I found I liked all the characters in this book. Not once did I become annoyed with them- shocking for a Young Adult story.
The characters were multi-dimensional and authentic. I was easily transported into their world of college drama although, frankly, it felt more like High School. Right from the start I fell head-over-heels in love with Travis. He's such a lovable jerk. He epitomizes the charismatic, lackadaisical, tattooed, sexier-than-all-get-out bad boy over whom most young girls swoon. He's volatile, tough, flirty, compulsive, charming, aggressive, shameless, intelligent, domineering, proud, and nonchalant.
He also has a tenderhearted, kind and vulnerable side that makes it impossible not to love him. He really is the ultimate fantasy. Our book begins with Abby, our level-headed and strong-willed heroine, attending an underground college fight club where Travis "Mad Dog" Maddox is the undefeated champion. Unimpressed with his slick and smooth talking manner, she brushes him off, wanting nothing to do with him. Only too familiar with his type, she knows he means trouble.
Travis, intrigued because Abby is immune to his charms, all but stalks her, wanting to win her over. What begins as a genuine friendship slowly blooms into an all consuming, passionate, and frankly, obsessive and codependent relationship. I really liked Abby's character. I was braced to dislike her as the story progressed, fearing she would become little more than a doormat because of the codependent and obsessive relationship she had with Travis.
However, I was pleasantly surprised at how level-headed she remained throughout the book. The thing that makes this story both intriguing and appalling, is Travis' obsession with Abby. He is consumed by her. She becomes his everything. Exhilarating in theory; unhealthy in reality! His obsession, at times, becomes disturbing and worrisome. In the end Travis makes some behavioral changes, albeit more surface than substance, hoping to win Abby back. He succeeds, and Abby returns to the relationship.
In doing so, some readers may believe in the misconception that one person can change another. While a part of me knows better I still loved so much about this book. I am a girl, after all! Would I want my 17 year old daughter to read this? Very few teens have either the experience or maturity to distinguish between fantasy and reality. But will I read this book again? Oh dear, this makes me a hypocrite! View all 95 comments.
Feb 11, Angela rated it did not like it Shelves: I haven't been this pissed off reading a book since Bad Romeo. Beautiful Disaster was a cluster eff of a read managing to throw everything I hate in a book into one novel. My first issue with this book are the characters. Our leading lady is Abby Abernathy. Then there's our leading man Travis Maddox. I can capture my feels for both of them at the same time.
Actually that really undersells how I feel towards them but whatever. I have never wanted to tear a characters hair out more than hers. She is such a plain character that turns out to be more boring than watching paint dry. It's clear that the writer wanted to make it out to be that Abby would be this special snowflake but it was the fail of fails. Her sub story is that she comes from this terrible up-bringing Even though the premise behind her tale was set up to be a success it too failed!
This brings me to Travis Oh God I don't even know where to start with this this Patrick Bateman in training. This boy was two shakes of lambs tail away from cutting Abby up and making her into a skin suit. I would gladly let " Mr. Grey see me now " then let him touch me with a ten foot pole. He is creepy, abusive, controlling, scary, unattractive, cocky, and bizarre. This dude is beyond unstable.
McGuire writes it so that Travis is this womanizing-college frat-man whore. Girls vagina literately bust out of their pants every time they see him. This causing me to roll my eyes so hard that they almost dislodged from my head! This leads me to p roblem two and three with this book. Maybe it's just me doubtful but maybe but if I was about to hook up with a dude and I opened his bedside table and there was an endless amount of condoms and KY Jelly I would fly out of that room so fast that boy would think he was Dorthy Travis has major bipolar, drinking, jealousy, and personality issues.
Travis also manages to keep Jesus abs the whole time without ever working out View all 73 comments. May 08, Colleen Hoover rated it it was amazing. I read this book right after shameless plug I wrote my first book, Slammed. Speaking of Slammed, who do you think would win in a fist fight between Travis Maddox and poetry teacher, Will Cooper?
Let's look on the bright side. Will Cooper would write a really kick-ass poem about his hospital stay. View all 20 comments. Even when they have nothing to do with the book, to know you've reviewed it is enough persuasion I ne Colleen your reviews will forever make me laugh. Even when they have nothing to do with the book, to know you've reviewed it is enough persuasion I need to pick it up!! So here goes nothing!!
Neither should have ever been published. Where do you ladies get all these toxic ideas from? Must take a Trashy books. Must take a great deal of effort. Jamie McGuire's "Beautiful Disaster" is the worst adult contemporary romance novel I've had the displeasure of reading. I'm imagining I've raised a few eyebrows with beginning this review on that note.
You might be thinking "Well, aren't you being a little melodramatic, Rose? It's just a book - it can't possibly be that bad , right? I hesitated reading "Beautiful Disaster" because I was informed of issues with the book long before I picked up the e-galley and took the task of reading it in full. Books that glorify abusive relationships, especially if it's veiled abuse and doesn't give proper context nor knocks down the manipulative behavior, do not sit well with me.
Nor do those that champion misogynistic ideals and present women in a negative light. Granted, as I mentioned before, I like a good romantic read. I also like books that deal with tough subjects and push the envelope when it comes to tackling a tough subject matter. I don't mind those things, especially if they leave me with things to think about long after I've turned the last page of the book. Developed, rounded characters in the mix are a bonus as well. Prior to reading this book - what I'd read of Travis was that he's a condescending, patronizing, controlling jerk who gets away with a lot in this book.
I could describe him in more crude terms, but I'm trying to keep that at a minimum in this reflection. And it's not necessarily knocked down by the passive heroine who actually does have another guy who cares about her and treats her well, but the portrayal is never equivocated because all the while, Travis comes up as the obvious horse in the love triangle race.
If one could even call it a true triangle. And the heroine never focuses on the wrong that Travis does, but rather focuses on all the other external elements other women, etc. I could open the floor and ask a simple question: I ask that question sincerely in a manner of discourse, because I don't understand the attracting factor of someone who would go to such lengths to control what a woman wears, who she sees, where she resides, and practically throw a fit if she deviates from those restrictions.
People argue that Travis is not abusive, but there are more dimensions to abuse than just physical context despite the fact that he tears up a room in response to the heroine's actions in one scene of the book. What little I had skimmed in BD's snippets and also read in other reviews had abuse of another sort - mental and emotional. The heroine keeps being drawn back into Travis's influence, though it's clear on several counts that there are moments when she wants to get the heck away from him, but then turns around and commends his behavior in implied gestures.
It's not made okay by the fact that Travis starts singing in the middle of a certain setting "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" or the fact that he buys her a puppy. He might have moments of good, but the larger impressions of the novel were that his influence is negative and the heroine desires him in light of that negativity. That was the initial reason why I passed on this book for content rationale. My experience with McGuire's first novel in her "Providence" trilogy didn't sit well with me either.
But curiosity has never let me lie in peace when it comes to a book. So when I saw this available as an e-galley, I decided to swallow my qualms and go for it. The experience was worse than I'd initially believed it to be. There has been debate with this novel as a self-published work as to what genre it fell under, given its respective thematic and the frank content of Abby and Travis' relationship.
McGuire herself had stated that it was once a mature YA title which I would adamantly refute given the strong language, sexual, and discretionary content of the book. It's been since marketed as an adult contemporary romance. There's also a question that I think might raise a few other eyebrows that I'm going to explore: Is it really a romance novel? The knee-jerk reaction might be akin to: What else would it be? It's showing a dysfunctional relationship between two trainwreck lovers who are meant to be together and weather all kinds of hardships and such to ultimately be one.
When the dysfunction becomes more than the love, where is the line drawn between it being a romance or a staged drama in prose form? It's true that people do crazy things when in love and act in the veil of desperation - sometimes going through something akin to the five stages of grief before coming to terms with the heart of their true sentiments and there's plenty of that to go around in this book.
Yet when it becomes so manufactured that the people inside the story don't act in the way that the character would act given their personality traits and knowledge in the book, and the author's obviously playing the puppeteer strings to skew it to a certain result, it can make the experience sour faster than week-old milk. And while I would say in romance literature, many may see the experience as escapist Which is why I wasn't buying what "Beautiful Disaster" sold.
Abby Abernathy is a college freshman who meets Travis "Mad Dog" Maddox at a fighting match in which he's a participant. To say their relationship gets off to a rocky start would be an understatement. Abby's quick to push him away because of his reputation, perception of his tattoos, and perceived sexual promiscuity.
And Travis, bad boy extraordinaire, can't help but be drawn to Abby in her innocence and challenge to shove him away. Their relationship is further drawn together since they know people in the same circles. Abby's friend America Mare and America's boyfriend, Shep, are just two examples.
America has to be the most inconsistent best friend I've read, because she goes back and forth between passionately wanting Abby to be a part of Travis's life and thinking Abby is the only one who can "right" him, and also thinking it's best if Abby stays the heck away before she gets hurt. That normally wouldn't bother me in a romance novel. It happens even in real life. Given the context of this novel, however, I was horrified and made numb by it. Abby is a passive heroine crafted in the guise of proactive by her incendiary attitudes towards Travis.
There's really very little to no background given on her to round her character. It took me five chapters to realize what she was studying at her college, let alone a good bit of the novel to know anything about her family and when that comes to light, it's fairly reminiscent of McGuire's other, latter penned novel "Providence" - heroine has father issues, father's associated with criminal activity, etc. I think that disconnect was what made it hard to truly sympathize with her, aside from some harrowing moments where she's desperately getting away from her relationship with Travis and facing some antagonism from other sources a near rape, a fire, etc.
Travis - again, I do not understand why he's a desirable male lead. He takes on the typical "bad boy who's hurting" trope, and while I actually do tend to like alpha males who are in pain and sometimes lash out for genuine reasons, Travis never has any kind of development to justify his actions, let alone does he face the repercussions of them. It's clear he has issues like his boiling anger, propensity to hit anything that gets in his way or offends "his girl," and some jarring examples of insensitivity to anyone but himself and his needs. There are moments penned where it's made to seem like he's being cute, but the majority of the time he's creepy, clingy, needy, and self-absorbed.
There's a false guise of self-awareness given in the book when he acknowledges to Abby that he's "messed up", but never seems to learn from his actions. There's a part of me that wondered if he was suffering from and I'm being very serious here a mental disorder that made him as such. It would've been helpful if maybe McGuire had the insight to delve into that part of his character more, but it never shows. Travis's actions are often glorified and made okay by Abby's abrupt about face.
He walks into the bathroom one scene while she showers. Abby's horrified one moment and then suddenly finds the gesture cute. He calls her Pidge - it's given as a nickname which she isn't initially affectionate toward and is supposedly a reference to the Disney film Lady and the Tramp, but that's never given in the context of the book. Very rarely does he allude to her real name, and when he does, it's often to mock her or mock someone else discussing her with the effect of guilt tripping her.
He totals his apartment after Abby leaves the day after a bet they made together expires requiring her to stay at his place for a month. They just so happened to have sex the night before, and she leaves the next morning without telling him. She's blamed by pretty much everyone that she was the cause of his tantrum and she accepts it. Travis also gets desperate and chases her back home after a stint in Vegas and wanting to fight there for a mobster in order to obtain money. Abby's upset by it because her father was involved in that line of work and she doesn't want to go through the hurt and pain she endured from her father's involvements.
Travis tries to restrain her, storms into the apartment with her roommate, and she has to hide from him until he "calms down. How is that respect? There are other factors to consider here as well. Let's take it from the perspective of the man who, for a time, is set to be the "other" love interest in this novel. Meet Parker - a high achieving, Med-school aspiring student who seems like a nice guy, even if he seems like a bit of a Gary Stu initially considering his wealth and intelligence and the diamond bracelet gift does seem a bit presumed as Abby's birthday gift for the duration of their initial relationship.
But one can tell he's genuinely attracted to Abby - he treats her well, is even patient when he's sidelined by her. You can't help but feel bad for this guy after a point because he's pretty much a pawn in the "Travis and Abby" show. What frustrated even more is that I felt McGuire's authorial voice often intruded with the relations between Abby and Parker where Travis was used as the comparison. It was as if it were set up to failure from point one.
The way Abby treats Parker broke my heart, because either there's a hateful comment he makes that's decidedly out of character and McGuire's intruding voice in an attempt to make Travis look like the better guy, or there's a point where Travis or Abby completely skewer the guy for trying to use reason, or for just being who he is. The only two characters I can say I actually liked consistently through the work were Finch and Kara, though their respective roles were very small in the overarching novel. The events of the novel themselves are problematic, but let me take a moment to discuss the writing and thematic.
I mentioned misogyny in this novel, so I'll go a bit into it as well here. It's one of those reads that can be quickly digested, but it's poorly written. Awkward dialogue tags other than "said" or "asked" , stilted dialogue, choppy phrasing - all things that could've been avoided with thorough editing.
The thematic of this book bothered me considering the misogynistic language that's prevalent in this. If not just for the events themselves i. Travis dropping a woman from his lap after she insults Abby or Travis saying that he wouldn't want his future daughter to open her legs for a man so easily , then the language left something to be desired with frequent slut shaming, causal throws of "bitches" and "hos" and such. I'm not a stranger to crude language in a work, but some of these were championed for obvious humor purposes, and they didn't come across as humorous or realistic at all to me.
So, in sum, I think "Beautiful Disaster" didn't contain much beauty to it at all. I'll end on the note that after reading the book, I see the symbolism of the cover with a butterfly being kept in a jar. The sad thing about is that, when you think about the image in a sense, a romanticized version of it may mean that it's beauty captured and contained from the rest of the world.
But the reality, the longer that butterfly is contained from its habitat and not left to wander free to experience the world, it suffocates, withers, and dies. I think that Abby and Travis's relationship is, indeed, a suffocating presence that doesn't have any true romantic notions at all, and I deign to think it represents anything that could be construed as healthy or desirable. View all 44 comments.
This book isn't beautiful, it's just a complete disaster. Travis is psychotic, abusive, and overprotective. I cannot believe shit like this gets published. View all 22 comments. Nov 12, Brittany rated it did not like it Shelves: Putting the woman's movement back years. It saddens me that someone from my own gender is writing such shallow and mindless dribble. I know the economy is bad, but damn have some pride! If you were able to get through this book without throwing up I have to applaud you. I had to stop reading at page because I was becoming physically ill. It wasn't the subject that sickened me, it was HOW the subject was being written.
The characters and their reaction to Travis' obsessi Jamie McGuire. How Abby's friends could encourage her to date such a loose cannon is beyond me. Anybody with common sense or any real friend would tell her to run for the hills- this guy is mentally unstable!
I know books aren't meant to be realistic, but I think they should be rooted with some truth. I don't need to like all the characters I'm reading about, but it's nice to understand where they are coming from. Here I did not like the characters nor did I understand their motives. View all 12 comments.
Jul 29, Abbi Glines rated it it was amazing Shelves: I rarely review books unless the author is a friend of mine. However, I thought I'd say something about this one. I put off reading this because I'd read the reviews and the ones that complained about the editing issues worried me. I don't like reading a book for enjoyment and find myself mentally editing it the entire time. OMG, I am so glad I gave in and read it.
Yes, there are errors but honestly I was so wrapped up in the story I didn't care. It is really edgy and I would I rarely review books unless the author is a friend of mine. It is really edgy and I wouldn't call it YA. The sex scenes are too explicit to be considered YA. Must read for lovers of the alpha male. Don't start late at night like I did.
It will rob you of your sleep! View all 6 comments. View all 47 comments. I read this because it tops so many lists here on Goodreads and I wanted to see what the hype is about but it sadly didn't even begin to live up to my expectations. I actually believe this may be the worst book I have ever read. The characters are poorly developed, the writing style just appalling, I never really understood their motivations and the narrative never gave them time to react to situations.
This felt like it had been written by a twelve year old to me. This takes place over 2 semeste I read this because it tops so many lists here on Goodreads and I wanted to see what the hype is about but it sadly didn't even begin to live up to my expectations. This takes place over 2 semesters at college. Travis is a manwhore student who earns his money by bare knuckle fighting. He treats women terribly - very much wham bam thank you ma'am and kick her out the door 2 seconds later. Inexplicably, the moment he sees Abby, he falls in love and calls her pigeon - a rather scabby rodent like bird.
Abby has a past she wants to escape - her Father was a successful poker player whose luck ran out when Abby turned 13 and so he hates her now! I soooo didn't get that either. The characters make decisions that just had me all WTF?? It just doesn't make any sense. It's possibly the worst character development I have ever seen in a novel. Anyway, the story stumbles from situation to situation - Travis is goofily in love and will savagely beat any guy that looks at Abby sideways.
We have descriptions of him holding someone on the floor and repeatedly smashing his fist in their face more than once. That's not protective - that's downright violent and could actually result in a serious brain injury. And this is aimed at a YA readership with Travis cast as a 'hero'?? The sex scene where Travis takes Abby's virginity is absolutely forgettable. I know she begs for it but he just ruts away on top of her with no thoughts of her pleasure or even preparing her to make it easier for her. He's pretty shit in bed to be fair and I was quite shocked he didn't have more pride in his performance given that he's had so much experience.
Travis appears to be harbouring some serious schizophrenic tendencies - perhaps he has actually sustained a serious brain injury in one of those fights? That might well explain his truly ridiculous character and decisions and reactions to situations - or could that possibly be just do to the poor character development on behalf of this writer. Travis is not one of the good guys. He is not a hero. There is nothing endearing about his character at all.
He is one of those nasty, jealous, possessive, violent guys that will beat the supposed love of his life senseless just because she glances at another man or he glances at her. Abby's future is likely to be fraught with peril, on edge constantly with what Travis will think about what she is wearing, who she is talking to and what she is doing. She will be so scared of upsetting him, it will totally rule her life. Someone needs to tell Abby to get out and to get out quick before he beats her to a pulp because he surely will.
To think that a girl of Abby's age could think that Travis is some kind of romantic hero is pretty scary and a pretty appalling message to be sending out to this book's target demographic. I'm real sorry that I didn't get this - I can see that this story is so well loved by so many here but it really wasn't for me.
To this day I just cannot even begin to understand why so many people here that I respect have given it 5 stars. What in the world do you all see here that I just can't? It completely baffles me. It's not even halfway good. I'd like to add that it's really not often that I leave reviews like this but I felt so strongly that this book is sending THE most appalling message of accepting violent tossers as heroes to it's young readers that I felt compelled to speak out against it. View all 54 comments.
Sep 08, Aestas Book Blog rated it it was amazing Shelves: You literally feel compelled to keep turning the pages. You just can't stop. Abby and Travis meet in college. He's a tough, charming, insanely hot, tattooed badboy who also is a womanizing A student who fights in a ring at night and once he meets Abby, he's just captivated by her.
Abby is a good girl, no drinking, no swearing, pretty much just his complete opposite. Despite their differences, they are somehow drawn to each other other. It was just you. They become friends before they become lovers but its clear that they are meant to be together. Travis thinks to highly of Abby to initially be with her. He doesn't feel worthy of her.
And in the book, we get to watch that change as it becomes more and more impossible for them to not be together. His eyes lost focus. I couldn't get enough of this book! I fell in love with how fiercely protective Travis was of Abby. He may have gone overboard a few times but it made me totally swoony!
This is a book after all, and in books we accept things that may not work in real life but that, in a story context, just make your heart race! He stomped toward me, planting his hands on the bed and leaning into my face. He looked at my lips, panting. He was flawed, oh so flawed, but his heart was in the right place. I love a guy who is sure of who he loves, not afraid to defend them, and will try as hard as he can to prove himself. This book is fast paced and action packed. There are no slow or dull points. The writing is smooth and sucks you right into the story - puts you right there with the characters.
It is heart racing and heart breaking and has a HEA. I'm unfortunately writing this review months after I originally read the book but all I know is that this book is sitting on my favs shelf and will definitely be re-read at some point. I'd definitely call this a MUST read for any fan of badboy romances. View all 38 comments. Jul 03, Torie rated it really liked it Shelves: There were more typos than I could count, the dialogue is just so cheesy it's cringe-worthy, the boy is such a Gary-Sue, BUT Feedback If you need help or have a question for Customer Service, contact us.
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