Title: The Deal
Author: Elle Kennedy
Series: Off Campus (Book #1)
Release Date: February 24th, 2015
Publisher: Bloom Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
New York Times bestseller Elle Kennedy brings you the first in the sexy Off-Campus series that everyone is talking about.
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.
To be completely honest, I bought this book on a whim after seeing it on sale at Chapters. Having skimmed the back of the book, I believed that I was getting myself into a Wattpad style novel, similar to Anna Todd’s After. But holy crap, this was like After on steroids! (And no, I don’t mean the sex scenes haha). Elle Kennedy has an easy, fresh writing style, which is perfect for those finishing an intense fantasy novel and needing a lighter follow-up read. It’s full of sarcasm and cocky, college athletes, so where can you go wrong?
I personally really enjoyed the characters in this novel, but I could see a lot of readers finding them annoying or lacking character development. Hannah, our main character, is a musical performance major who dreams of pursuing a music related career. The author showed us so many sides of Hannah’s character throughout the novel, including some intimate, fragile states. Hannah was raped in the past, causing her feel uncertain around alcohol and sex. Throughout the novel, Kennedy sends us through Hannah’s story of overcoming her fear of these subjects, even after years in therapy. Now, that’s where Garrett comes in. I loved Garrett from the beginning. As the captain of the hockey team, he knows how to go after what he wants. At first it was solely a professional career in hockey. Then it was a good mark on his Ethics midterm. Then it was . . . well, it was Hannah. From the moment he met her, he knew he wanted her for more than just helping him to boost his ethics mark. And his motivations can be admired as he didn’t back down from any of the times she told him “No.” Both Garrett and Hannah’s characters developed an incredible amount throughout the novel, as relationships developed and others were broken.
I’m not going to lie, there are definitely some annoying characters throughout the novel. Characters like Cass and MJ I found were necessary for the storyline, but came across as “non-developed”. Cass was bratty and MJ lacked the ability to make her own choices, which I believe would have made her a much stronger character! However, I loved both Garrett and Hannah’s friend groups and they definitely played pivotal roles in helping our main characters make some difficult choices throughout the novel!
Also, did I mention that this book features a hot group of HOCKEY players. Sure, there’s also players from the football team are mentioned in the novel, but Garrett’s main group of friends is the hockey team. This is a key detail that means a lot to me as a Canadian, since it is not often that we see hockey as the main sport in young adult novels. After finishing The Deal, I found out that Elle Kennedy herself is Canadian too, making this detail make so much more sense!
Overall I found this novel to be a light, addicting contemporary that was very difficult to put down. There were quite a few nights where I definitely should’ve been reviewing some pathways for physiology, but found myself so invested in this novel. It’s a page turner, that’s for sure. But, if you enjoy sports and contemporary novels (Oh, and hot guys!), definitely give this novel a go!