Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review: The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

I started seeing this book around the internet at about the same time I was frantically searching for a good NA novel to suit my mood - I guess that's what happens when you're mere months away from attending college - so this seemed like the perfect read. I wasn't sure what to expect when reading this, but I was excited about the premise: bad boy + good girl = awesome romance. I went through the book fairly quickly, and though it was good, it was pretty average. Enjoyable for sure, but nothing out of the ordinary (minus the few surprises the main character had up her personality). I don't feel that this book was particularly memorable, but I don't have too many complaints about it.

To make this review a bit clearer instead of just me rambling, I'm going to write it in list format with the +'s representing the positives, the -'s the negatives, and the +/-'s somewhere in-between.

+ I loved the lead female, Hannah. She is singularly unlike any other contemporary heroine I have ever read about. What usually happens in a romance novel is that one the shy, unnoticed girl gets with the hot guy, suddenly she's more confident about herself and/or changes who she is a bit. For example, maybe she isn't shy anymore and starts speaking up for herself, but the point is, she becomes a better person and blah blah blah. That didn't happen in this book. Hannah stayed pretty much the same throughout the entire book. What surprised me the most is that she didn't let love make her stupid; she stayed the same reasonable, practical Hannah she was before she met Garrett, and while it shocked me, it was a pleasant surprise. There was a critical moment in this story where most other characters would have thrown what they had away in a moment of hesitation, but Hannah had enough wits about her to seize what she wanted by the reigns. If there's anything I'll remember from this book, it'll be that. Another thing about her is that she didn't wait until the end to bomb-drop her rape backstory. In fact, Hannah got that out of the way fairly quickly, and how her relationship with Garrett developed after that was fairly straightforward, and thus shocking.

+/- There was little to no angst, but it didn't hurt the novel. When I say the characters lacked angst, I mean you couldn't see the sparks. It was obvious Hannah and Garrett were meant to be together and that they were interested - oh so interested - but there wasn't the heat I'm used to experiencing in romance novels. On it's own, the lack of angst between the characters would definitely be a negative for me, but for some reason, I didn't mind it in this novel. Maybe I was just that desperate for a New Adult? I don't know, but for whatever reason, it didn't bore me reading through Garrett and Hannah's friendship and later, love - I was hooked the whole way.

- The end was relatively anti-climactic. Most romances have a certain plot. I know I've been over this before, but in case you missed it: usually two people fall in love, then near the end of the novel, something happens that has them parting ways, and finally, they get back together at the end with a ton of apologies and whatnot. The Deal sort of followed the format, but barely. Garrett's father is an abusive control freak, and he comes between the lovely couple near the end of the book. However, ultimately, there ends up being no reason for the couple splitting up, which is mighty annoying. Similarly, things went back to normal extremely quickly and all problems were solved as soon as the duo got together again; there was no work or apologizing involved, and  that adds up to a significant lack of drama. The end is probably the biggest reason for the four star rating.

The Deal wasn't anywhere near an amazing NA read, but I was in the right mood, and to me, the novel was a more than satisfactory read. I'm not completely sure if I'll be reading the next book, especially since the synopsis doesn't seem like it's up my romance alley. Nevertheless, I do love Logan (he's one of Garrett's hockey friends who had a bit of a crush on Hannah), and so hopefully it's something that'll interest me if I ever get to reading it. I'd recommend this novel to anyone in the mood for a light, New Adult read.

Book Synopsis: 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.

Source: A copy was purchased for my Kindle.

Title: The Deal
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 358 pages