The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle KennedyThe Deal by Elle Kennedy
Published February 2015
Series: Off-Campus #1
Genres: New Adult
four-stars
Format: eBook
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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.

Garrett Graham is on the track to becoming a professional hocley player, but his grades are plummeting. In order to stay on the team, he needs to get a tutor to up his GPA. It seems like the most genius plan to seek out the only girl that didn’t fail the class everyone else failed, and ask her for help.

Hannah Wells is music student andn an aspiring singer-songwriter, so she doesn’t have time for tutoring egomaniac hockey-players. However, Garrett offers to help her conquer her secret crush – a deal she can’t help but accept. But as she and Garrett spend more and more time together, it seems like her crush suddenly comes second place…

What I loved about this book:

  • The great chemistry between the characters
  • The great side-characters
  • The humour

What I felt needed improvement:

  • The predictable storyline

I read so many stellar reviews for The Deal on Goodreads, so I thought I could give it a try. Although I found it a nice read overall, I wasn’t so convinced by the storyline. It was nice, but it was probably a tad predictable. The general storyline actually felt A LOT like Four Years Later by Monica Murphy (jock needs tutoring from geek) coupled with the usual pygmalion-twist (guy helps girl to get noticed by her crush, and ultimately falls for her, like in M.K. Schiller’s The Do Over). But thank god there was one really great thing to The Deal which would drag my rating up again: the really great and convincing characters.

Hannah and Garrett are complete opposites at the beginning of the book. He’s the popular jock, and she’s one of the outsiders who hangs out with the artsy music crew. And sure enough, as the story goes, Hannah has preconceived ideas around Garrett. She actually turns Garrett call for help down a number of times, proudly standing her ground. That is until he comes up with the proposal of helping her get noticed by her crush Justin…

“He’s probably sending telepathic orders for me to tutor him. Well, too bad for him. There’s no way I’m wasting the little spare time I have on a college hockey player who thinks he’s a rock star.”

And even while it is true that he likes to have fun with girls, he’s also a very nice and charming guy, who turns out to be a real great friend and accomplice to Hannah. He managed to break through her walls even if he had issues of his own to deal with. I usually don’t tend to like male heroines who turn from man-ho to caring book boyfriend overnight, but in Garrett’s case it was different: he wasn’t an arrogant, conceited player.

“I’ve never met anyone who is so repulsed by my popularity, and I have no idea what to make of it. I think I might like it.”

And other than the fact that the two main characters have nothing in common at first glance, they have an undeniable chemistry at all times. I just loved how they interacted, and I loved their funny banter.

“I want to murder him in his sleep. No, I want to murder him when he’s awake so he can see the joy on my face when I do it.”

And then there’s a third dimension to this book, which was so cliché it was probably bordering on “too much”. Indeed, Hannah went through some tough times in her past, which made it difficult for her to really enjoy sex. So to prepare for when that special moment happens with her crush Justin, she wants to get it on with Garret to see if he could potentially help her enjoy sex again (in other words: fix her up for Justin). So yeah, with all those things lined up, you can’t avoid the inevitable anymore! Because as you can imagine, this “arrangement” will lead to all kinds of… feelings.

“As insane as it sounds, a test run with Garrett might be just what I need to work through my issues. He said so himself – he doesn’t date girls, he sleeps with them. There’s no risk of him falling for me or demanding a relationship.”

Yet, in summary, it was a very nice standard New Adult college read which I enjoyed reading, and since I also very much liked the side characters (especially Garrett’s housemates), I will definitely be looking forward to reading the next books in the Off-Campus series.

Detailed Rating
Storyline
3.5 Stars
Characters
5 Stars
Writing
4 Stars
All the feels
4 Stars
Overall: four-stars