Beautiful Disaster, by Jamie McGuire.
My shirt crackled as I pulled it over my head; the static in the air had intensified with the coming winter. Feeling a bit lost, I curled into a ball underneath my thick comforter and inhaled through my nose; Travis's scent still lingered on my skin.
The bed felt cold and foreign, a sharp contrast to the warmth of Travis's mattress. I had spent thirty days in a cramped apartment with Eastern's most infamous tramp, and after all the bickering and late-night houseguests, it was the only place I wanted to be.
When I was about halfway through the book, I Googled it to see what other books the author has written, and I found this. I didn't really see the parallels to 50 Shades of Grey at first, but when I thought about it they are definitely similar, though Beautiful Disaster has nothing to do with BDSM. Both Christian Grey and Travis are very controlling, though I would say that Travis is more "human" than Grey; he tries to fix his mistakes and become someone that Abby could see herself with in the long-term, whereas Grey does this too but it's harder for him. Looks-wise, too, Travis is the opposite of Grey: he's a poor college student who fights and is covered in tattoos, whereas Grey was the epitome of the "classy" businessman.
Beautiful Disaster is going to be made into a movie as well, and I'm excited to see who the filmmakers will pick to play Travis and Abby. I could picture Amanda Seyfried or someone similar for Abby, who is 19. In my mind, she looks innocent (she's actually a virgin when she meets Travis) but has a "rough streak" in her; details are revealed about her pre-college life that show that she can play a mean hand of poker when she wants to.
Travis has a shaved head and tattoos, and I believe a wiry build. I couldn't picture any actors I know in that age range (he's 22, so probably like 20-30 age range) who have gone bald or shaven their head for a role. However, when I started thinking about actors that I have seen play "dark" roles but also were sweet in them, Steven R. McQueen and Michael Trevino (both from TV's Vampire Diaries) came to mind; looks-wise, Trevino might fit the role a bit better.
The two characters' best friends, who are actually dating each other, are Shepley and America (who goes by "Mare" for short), and those would probably be harder to cast.
The book veers a little at times - it often feels like it is multiple stories with these characters rolled into one - but the plot is still compelling. The author actually self-published the novel before it got picked up by a publishing house, and after it was published it gained a steady following, probably including those who liked the 50 Shades series. A follow-up novel, Beautiful Disaster, will be released in 2013, and it retells Abby and Travis's story from Travis's point of view.
4.5 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.