Book Review: The Deal – Elle Kennedy


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
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

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. 💙

32 thoughts on “Book Review: The Deal – Elle Kennedy

  1. Awesome review, I couldn’t agree more with everything that you said! This isn’t my normal genre, I picked this series up for the same reason that you did (bloggers raving about it), and was pleasantly surprised. Throughout the whole series I’ve loved the characters, I’ve liked how real the stories felt, and I’ve loved that it wasn’t all serious romance all the time. I’ve been thinking about starting The Royals, but I haven’t committed just yet 🙂


    • Thanks so much! I think throughout the series I got a little bit bored with the ice hockey players being super good in bed and insanely attractive… like, I understand that’s one of the draws, but I also want a bit of variety. 😂

      I’ve read The Royals and really liked it though! It’s so crazy over-the-top and definitely another guilty pleasure series.


  2. YAY! I’m so glad you liked it and that you finally did a review. I honestly just want to see your thoughts on The Score which is my favorite out of all of them because Dean is bae ❤ And yes, I just used that word in a nonsarcastic way haha


    • I’m so backlogged with publishing my reviews! I can’t keep up with my own reading. 🙈

      Dean is super cute, I agree. And I like that he’s paired up with Allie! I didn’t see it coming until that book but I totally love them together. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • They’re amazingggg. I want a Dean in my life like really bad. He’s my book boyfriend #2, yes I only have two haha. I’m kind of backlogged too actually but since I have most reviews scheduled until the end of the year, it’s my own fault haha


  3. REG, I’M HERE FOR THIS REVIEW (again 😅)! I totally misjudge this series in the beginning because I saw the abs and I was like NO. But other bloggers were like but it’s so funny, so I gave it a shot and ended up loving it! I kind of have a new appreciation for the ab covers because I’m not a big fan of the new covers. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about the rest of the series, especially The Score because the shenanigans are off the charts in that book.

    Great review, Reg!


    • I KNOW. I honestly don’t understand why they’d use abs/topless men as covers – like they’re such a turn off to me, and I can see this book appealing to more people if they only changed the cover.

      Thanks, Ari! Your excitement is contagious. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was reluctant to read this because of the cover as well, I tend to avoid books with similar covers like this but after reading so many raving reviews I had to give this one a try and damn this was so much fun! Great review!


  5. What a lovely review, Reg! I wouldn’t be drawn to these kind of books usually, I guess mainly because of the cover, but I heard a lot of great things from lots of bloggers on this book. I am so glad you enjoyed it so much! I’m not usually a reader of New Adult books, but maybe if I’m ever looking for a funny and relaxing book, I’ll think of that one 🙂


    • Thanks, Marie! Yeah, I think the cover really turned people off – it certainly didn’t invite my attention. I picked it up for the glowing reviews, though, and it’s definitely a good NA book. Like, almost exactly like the kind of NA that I want to read, so I’m pretty impressed. I hope you get the chance to check it out sometime. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve read so many rave reviews of this book. It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a good NA and enjoyed it and I love the whole pretend relationship trope as well. I’ll need to look into picking this one up soon. Great review! 😊


  7. Yes to all of this. I couldn’t agree more with your comments. Hannah and Garrett’s relationship and personal growth was wonderfully developed and I loved how they communicated with one another. Seriously I need a Garret Graham in my life. 😉


  8. Wow, what a very, very persuasive review. 😅
    Tbh, I’m probably *those* people who would judge this book by its cover – I feel like dudes with abs on a cover kinda screams trashy adult romance (which is not a bad thing in itself).
    BUT, you write such a compelling argument about why this book is great. I haven’t read an adult romance in awhile, so I’ll give this a go next time I’m in the mood. ❤


  9. I’m seeing a lot of good things about this book. And yes, Princess Bride is a verb, because anything is a verb! ::pumps fist::
    Excellent review! Makes me want to run out and read it, and I don’t read romance usually! I may have to make an exception for this one.


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