The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sport – Ice Hockey
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She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…
Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.
…and it’s going to be oh so good.
All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.
Why did I wait so long to read this book!? I don’t read a lot of NA books purely because of the fact that the angst overload is too much for me. So, when it came to The Deal I was fully expecting the book to follow the same path. I was proven wrong and I was surprised at how hilarious and angst free this book is.
The Deal follows the story of Garrett and Hannah. At first glance Garrett is this cocky, ladies man and ice hockey sensation. He is basically guaranteed to go pro after graduation. However, in order to do that he needs to get those grades up. Here enters Hannah, someone who is not so easily charmed by Garrett and is dead set against being his tutor – that is until they come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Naturally as these two spend more time together, the sparks fly and it was only a matter of time that they ended up colliding.
Plot wise, The Deal, is nothing remarkable. What is remarkable is that it somehow avoided falling into the same trap most NA books do. As I was reading I was waiting for that moment that would spiral us into that angsty overload roller-coaster but that never happened. I think what makes this book so great are the characters. In the beginning, Garret was your typical cocky playboy and I wasn’t sure what to make of him. However, as we see his friendship with Hannah develop I couldn’t help but be charmed by him. He’s cocky as hell and the banter between him and Hannah was on point. More than that though, I loved the way he cared for Hannah. As this friendship turned into something more, we really got to see how observant Garrett was. Hannah became an open book to him and I loved the journey they take together.
Hannah is equally as wonderful. We find out very early in the book that Hannah experienced a trauma when she was younger. However, instead of dwelling on the incident, Hannah learned to move on and not let that trauma define her. It was so refreshing to see a character deal with their traumas. Yes, it took a lot of time for her to recover and she still has some setbacks but it still doesn’t stop her from embracing and enjoying life. Beyond the way she handled the trauma, Hannah is also a great match for Garrett. At first she was very standoffish and saw Garrett as nothing more than a typical jock but as the story progresses, she starts to see past that image and peels back those layers. Her character arc was one of my favourite aspects of the book.
About the romance. Let’s just say it was hot and steamy but also tender and sweet. The chemistry between Hannah and Garret sizzled and I loved how their relationship was grounded in friendship first.
The only minor complaint I have is that I wish we could have spent a bit more time on the ice. We know that ice hockey is a huge part of Garrett’s life and I would have liked to explore that passion when he was out there playing.
If you’re like me and hate the angst overload of a typical NA book then I would highly recommend The Deal. This book was a breath of fresh air. I loved the characters, the humour, banter and the romance.