Title: The Mistake (2015)
Series: The Off-Campus Series – Book 2
Author: Elle Kennedy
Genre: New Adult
Extent: 297 pages
Release Date: April 28, 2015
College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.
After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild.
So… I’m the kind of person who generally loves reading spin-off romances where side characters in a previous book become main characters. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that after The Deal, The Mistake is right on the top of my TBR list. This review may contain spoilers for The Deal, so please only proceed if you’ve read that book. 🙂
I’m gonna be honest (and probably redundant, since I’ve mentioned this before): there are times when I want to read purely for escapism, when I willingly ignore all problematic notions just for the sake of entertainment, and New Adult, as a genre, very often does the trick for me. This series, for example, portrays ice hockey players as sex gods who sleep around a lot and the college experience as a hunting ground for hook-ups, and I know — trust me, I know — that’s probably a harmful portrayal and isn’t really in line with reality… yet even knowing that, I still enjoyed this book.
The Mistake is about Logan, who, unlike the blurb suggests, can’t get the girl he wants, and Grace, a junior who has a crush on him. The story goes that they hook up, Logan makes a mistake and drives Grace away, and he spends the rest of the book trying to make it up to her. There was also a lot of “guy tries to win girl over by performing big gestures” involved in the plot, which wasn’t super unique but I enjoyed.
“I broke up with her to avoid getting into a serious relationship with her, and now it turns out that’s what I wanted all along.”
Grace started out the story as a really sweet girl: somewhat meek, insecure, and a little bit of a pushover when it comes to her best friend Ramona. It wasn’t until the titular mistake happened that she gave herself a makeover and became a ~new person~ who is ready to take on the world. I liked her, but frankly speaking she wasn’t as well-developed as I wanted — her main identity seems wrapped up around her romance with Logan, and I don’t feel like I knew much about her beyond him.
Logan, on the other hand, was better developed, although personality-wise I really can’t say that he was unique. Straight off the bat we get to know the two main issues he struggles with: his unrequited feelings for his best friend’s girlfriend and the fact that because of his family situation, his ideal future and probable future are worlds apart.
“You don’t get it. I have no life after I graduate. No future. But I’m doing it for my brother, because Jeff has dealt with it for almost four years now. And now it’s my turn, and I don’t fucking like it, but I’m going to suck it up and move back home, because he’s my goddamn father and he needs my help.”
This, to me, was the main draw of the book more than anything else. Logan’s situation presented a conflict that was realistic and very common: do you go for your dreams even when it means you can’t be there for your family, or do you abandon everything that you are and help your family, even when it means that you’ll be unhappy? While the resolution was a little bit too convenient for my tastes, I appreciate the nuanced view Kennedy took to explore this issue.
Overall, The Mistake was fun, fast-paced, and perfect for mindless entertainment, with root-worthy protagonists and just enough drama to keep you on your toes. There’s just something about this series that hits me right in the feels, and I suspect it’s a combination of Kennedy’s writing style and tendency to put her characters in humour-inducing situations, thereby resulting in many laugh-out-loud moments. 😀