I received this book for free from Provided by Publicist in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Deal by Elle KennedySeries: Off-Campus #1
Published by Self-Published on February 24, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance
Source: Provided by Publicist
Also in this series: The Mistake, The Mistake
PJV Quickie: 2015 has been a kind year for me reading-wise; I’ve really been lucky in the selection of books I’ve read so far and have stumbled upon some really excellent reads. The Deal is sitting high on that list – I didn’t want to put it down and when I finished reading I sat there with a goofy grin on my face, replaying the story in my head.
Hannah Wells is a Fine Arts major at Briar University. She’s shy and quiet; she has friends but doesn’t really go out or date – her focus is on school and work and the showcase she’s performing in as part of her major. When a hockey jock from her Philosophical Ethics (PhilEth) class starts bugging her to tutor him, she steadfastedly tells him she doesn’t have any extra time. Even though that’s true, it hasn’t stopped her from developing a crush on Justin Kohl, a football player who’s in her PhilEth class, but he doesn’t know she exists. It’s been a while since she’s had these kinds of feelings, though, and she’d kind of like for him to know she DOES exist – she could probably make some time for that.
Garrett Graham plays hockey at Briar University and signed up for a PhilEth class because it’s a notoriously easy course. The professor died right before the term started and the new professor is a hard-case who’s failing most of the class. Garrett needs to keep his grades up to play hockey and when he notices that she got an “A” on the exam, he decides he needs Hannah to tutor him. She’s immune to his charm and popularity, though, until he stumbles onto the fact that she’s got a crush on a football player in their class. Garrett’s solution: Hannah will tutor him in exchange for Garrett’s help getting Justin to notice her.
As they spend time together studying for the class, they start to realize that there might actually be a friendship growing between them, and maybe, something more…
(Trigger warning: There are some references to rape and domestic abuse that take place off-page)
I loved everything about this book, it was funny and sweet and sad and wonderful. How do I love The Deal? Let me count the ways:
- Swoony, smart-ass hockey player hero (I adore hockey-themed romance)
- A smart heroine who has a talent for music (instead of the hero!)
- New Adult (if you normally hate NA, don’t let that deter you here)
- Frenemies to Lovers (yesssss!)
- Angsty but not over-the-top (I love me some angst, but not when it’s ridiculous)
- Sigh-worthy ending (oh yes, I sighed)
When was the last time you got lost in a book? The Deal is the kind of book where you just fall in right from the first page and the next time you look up hours have passed. It’s a book full of sweet sighs and bursts of laughter and a little bit of sadness, and when you close the book, you realize you’ve momentarily forgotten where you are. The phrase “lost in a book” was coined for books exactly like The Deal: you are so deep into the story that it takes you a minute to find your way back to reality.
Ms. Kennedy’s writing is excellent and she writes the relationship to slowly grow and change through the story; it has a natural feel with some surprises (and good and bad). I was in from page one. Reading along as Hannah and Garrett’s relationship grows and changes is like having a secret that no one else knows, and the anticipation of waiting for everyone else to be in on that secret is palpable. These two are so right for each other and the overall flow of the story is slow and sweet.
It’s not all about Hannah and Garrett’s relationship, they’ve got other stuff going on independent of each other and their characters are distinct from one another. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it does. As far as the secondary characters, there are so many characters that I want to get their own stories! I love that “Wellsy” (he calls her “Wellsy” and it’s so adorable!) has a good support system; she has her fine arts crew that she hangs around with and he has his teammates, and they blend pretty well.
Before you think this book is all happiness and sunshine, there are some tough topics the author tackles – Hannah was raped as a teenager (not a spoiler as you learn this very early in), and there is also some domestic abuse happening in the story.
I should close this review with a warning: I haven’t been able to get into a book since I finished The Deal. I’m ruined!!!
First off, I’m going to recommend The Deal to anyone who reads Romance; it’s that good. If you liked The Hook-Up by Kristen Callihan, or Allison Parr’s New York Leopards series, you’ll like this.
If you missed your chance during our Flash Giveaway earlier this week, you might be in luck because Ms. Kennedy’s publicist has generously offered another e-copy of The Deal by Elle Kennedy for giveaway. Enter via rafflecopter below: