The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off Campus #1
Published by Indie on February 24, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
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.
I love reading contemporary romance, but I especially love how well it works as palette cleansers between fantasy reads.
So when Amazon recommended the Off Campus series to me for only $4.99, it seemed like the perfect way to pass time, and leave me renewed for whatever Urban Fantasy or Fantasy book I decide to cross off my TBR next.
After I one-clicked, I saw that is was New Adult.*heavy sigh* I’ve learned to avoid NA, specifically NA Romance, b/c I’m almost always disappointed with the still new genre’s offerings. Too much awkward or unbelievable sex. Too little plot. Too little character development. Too little everything.
For example, The Deal‘s plot is not only a tired trope, but it is also filled with stale clichés.
Like Hannah, our ever-pining heroine:
“He doesn’t know I’m alive.”
What? You say you’ve read this story before? Feels like déjà vu, I know.
And not only do we find out that she’s pining for some guy named Justin on the very first page, but a few short paragraphs later:
“In the five years since the rape, my heart has pounded for only two guys.”
I’m sorry, whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? We are talking about rape and physical attraction in the same sentence. I get it, it’s fiction and I’m suppose to suspend my disbelief which normally I can do, no problem. But in this case, I can’t. It doesn’t ring true, and it feels forced. It also feels as though the author took the topic of rape, sprinkled it in the story in an effort to make Hannah seem complex, but failed. Utterly. Mind you, it’s not about the “rape.” It could have been about “murder,” “domestic violence,” etc … get my drift? The book begins in the middle of Hannah’s story, and being casually told about an event so essential to understanding her character . . . it wasn’t believable. How can I believe she’s a survivor if I don’t feel her struggle?
Which brings me to my next issue, the setting…
The story takes place on a college campus, but it felt more like high school because of the immaturity of all the characters, and I won’t even get into the villainous father. Garrett, our fearless hero, needs Hannah to tutor him so he can continue to play hockey and not get benched for the season. He tells her that by dating him, it will increase her popularity on campus.
“Hannah Wells is into a football player.”
I mean, I just don’t even have the words for that one, but since she’s pining for Justin, he promises that he can help her get his attention by hanging out together.
Then we meet Cass, who is the thorn in Hannah’s side. He’s the quasi villain who tells Hannah what note to sing in for their recital. This was just painful to read about. His presence in the story isn’t tremendous, but he’s there, I suppose, to create some sort of complexity.
Back to Hannah and Garret…one fateful night *cue dramatic music* Hannah has too much to drink, pulls out a glass pipe and gets wasted , but Garret, her protector, makes sure she’s safe once he sees that another player has dragged her on the dance floor.
“Hannah hadn’t been moving suggestively when she’d belted out Lady Gaga earlier, but she sure as shit moving suggestively now. She’s gone from Disney Channel Miley Cyrus to Full-on Twerk Mode Miley.”
And as our hero grabs our rape survivor off the dance floor…
She pouts. “I’m dancing.”
At this point I wanted to put the book down, but I couldn’t because I believed that the book had to get better, and, also, I have this issue that after I pay for a book I feel the need to finish it.
Fast forward to the next chapter, our hero and heroine–shockingly–develop feelings towards one another, and she miraculously asks Garrett to have sex with her. He, however, is not so certain until he hears her profound statement…
I let out a shaky breath. “I’m broken, and I wanted you to fix me.” Alarm widens his eye.
Yes ladies and gents, he ultimately wants to fix her and does by having the most amazing sex ever. *rolls eyes*
But this quote is the mother of all quotes that everyone loves and I mean, seriously love…
“Are you taking human growth hormones or something?” I snatch my hand back, fighting another rush of nervousness. “There’s no way that huge man monster is fitting inside me!”
This story fell flat for me, and originally I had it at a 2 star rating, but after looking at my notes, it was a one star read for sure. All the characters are two-dimensional, the writing is subpar at best, and like I said, it’s filled with endless clichés. I clearly read a different book than the entire Goodreads universe.
*If you thought my review was helpful, please consider voting for it on Amazon*