Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Sports Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on February 24, 2015
Source: Free Book
College setting, they come from two different worlds on campus, but past pain and a certain deal lead to something more than a friendship. I love hockey romance and my favorite New Adult trope is a nerd and a jock. This was a variation on that and I already enjoy the author’s adult romances so it was an easy choice when I needed just such a book for a pair of reading challenges.
The Deal opens with pretty, but quiet music student, Hannah Wells, agreeing to tutor the popular captain of the hockey team, Garrett Graham, in their shared philosophy class so he can stay eligible to play in exchange, he agrees to help her make a Hannah’s secret crush, a gorgeous football player, jealous. A surprise friendship forms and then a fake kiss sizzles into something potent and real. But, they both have pasts that can rear ugly heads and future plans that don’t involve each other. Will they renegotiate for a new deal?
I don’t mean this disparagingly, but I’ve never gravitated toward the New Adult genre. We all have our druthers and this is one of mine. That said, I had no hesitation picking up an Elle Kennedy New Adult. After reading the Him series, I had no doubt this author could write this genre well and make me love the story I was getting. It didn’t hurt that she put one of my few favorite college tropes into play and she didn’t emo it up though the pair both had deep issues from their past, particularly Hannah who is an abuse survivor. She gave due attention to character background like her music and his hockey, their friend circles, their college lives, and their relationship all equally. It was even paced and evenly developing building from a little hostility to partners in their deal, to friendship, and finally something more.
Hannah was raped at a high school party. I don’t feel this is a spoiler since it’s revealed in the opening chapter. She’s getting her life back and has dreams and goals. She is in a place where she’s ready to join in some social events and get back to dating with her roomie bud, Allie, as her wing gal. She’s already got who she thinks is the perfect guy in her sights even if another guy is distracting her. I thought Hannah’s character was fabulous. She’s feisty, but also vulnerable. She puts herself out there, but she’s still working through stuff. I was impressed that the author went the extra mile in that Hannah had sex with Garrett, but it didn’t magically erase her rape and they have to take a step back together and give her time. It’s not some dark shadow hovering, but it’s there in a realistic way.
By the way, Garrett turned out to be one amazing guy. He was finding his way and figuring stuff out, but he was right there for Hannah. He was way more than the persona he wore like armor and it was fun to watch Hannah figure this out and appreciate him. He, too, has demons, but like Hannah, he doesn’t let it take over everything.
They have their big crisis moment, but even then, the struggle was within bounds and didn’t blow up into absurd angst.
I was thoroughly entertained by the banter and college antics of their friend groups, engaging with the characters, and rooting hard for the romance. I flew through this book in two sittings. I want all their friends’ stories now though I cringe at what Logan’s story will be like after his big misstep.
In summary, it was better than I was even hoping and I want more Off-Campus series. For those, like me who hesitate to pick up New Adult romance or want to take your first plunge into the genre, I can heartily recommend The Deal. It is still free last I checked if you want to test drive it.
Mt. TBR #54
Romanceopoly #67 Campus Corner
Books N Tunes #32 Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud
COYER Quarantine #60
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