Title: The Deal (2015)
Series: The Off-Campus Series – Book 1
Author: Elle Kennedy
Genre: New Adult
Extent: 342 pages
Release Date: February 24, 2015
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.
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.
The Deal is one of those books that, from the cover, I really wouldn’t have looked at twice. After reading the wild ride that is The Royals, though, I was eager to get my hands on anything the authors have written and this series caught my attention — especially after hearing from some of my trusted bloggers that there’s more than meets the eye with this book. As you can tell from my rating, I ended up really liking it. 💙
This story is about Hannah and Garrett, two people who are brought together somewhat forcibly when Garrett strikes a deal with Hannah: tutor him so he passes a test, and he’ll go on a pretend-date with her so the guy she actually has a crush on will notice him. Throw in some jealousy, a meddling parent, and a little bit of drama, and you have The Deal in your hands. Sounds cliched? Well, admittedly yes, but this was actually a good, fun type of cliched. It was also really funny.
“As you wish.”
“Did you really just Princess Bride me?”
“Did you really just use Princess Bride as a verb?”
What made this book really special for me was that I loved both Hannah and Garrett. Hannah was a great heroine: spunky, passionate, unafraid to hold her own ground. Garrett I was expecting to dislike because the blurb suggests a ‘jock’ character, and those are usually arrogant, pushy jerks… but somehow, I found him really likeable. He was arrogant and pushy to be sure, but his pushiness did not extend to their relationship, and he was sweet, respectful, and patient with Hannah when it comes down to it.
Hannah and Garrett’s relationship was one I couldn’t help but to root for. From the very first page, their banter was entertaining to read, and I actually laughed out loud a few times reading their smartass replies to one another. They were also really supportive of one another and they actually communicate! Granted, it doesn’t always work on the first try, but the attempt is there and you know they’re trying to be mature about things.
“Sometimes people sneak up on you and suddenly you don’t know how you ever lived without them.”
There is sex, yes, and The Deal is for sure focused on the romance — but neither of these things mean that the book is shallow. Both Hannah and Garrett struggle with things outside of their relationship: Hannah is dealing with the fallout of an incident and thinks of herself as damaged, and Garrett is dealing with the pressures of having a controlling hockey star father who stays overly involved in Garrett’s own life. There’s a little bit of coming-of-age thrown in there too, a little bit of self-discovery and personal development that is catalysed by their relationship but not dependent on it.
The Deal obviously has a few tropes that appealed to me personally: pretend relationships (or at least pretend dates) and best-friends-turned-lovers. As a book, it was just a fun, fast-paced, entertaining love story with likeable protagonists and an endearing cast of supporting characters. Sometimes I just need a book to wind me down, and this one definitely did the trick. 💙