The Deal by Elle Kennedy — Jenn’s Review

the deal


There was tons of hype around it and I was searching for a sweet and funny HEA.



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.

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There has been a lot of talk about how all NA books are the same. We see these superstar athletes, who could have anyone they want, pursue the shy, quiet girl who doesn’t know the difference between a football and a volleyball. They fall in love, break up, realize the error of their ways, and get back together. It’s been done and it’s tired….but that is not The Deal.

Okay…so maybe we have a superstar athlete. Garrett Graham is the captain and the star of his Ivy league college hockey team. He is a legend, being the son of a famous, former NHL player and all, and there is a lot of pressure on Garrett to succeed. Thankfully, Garrett is not a jerk. He may dabble in puck bunnies at his leisure, but he is also smart and sweet. There is more to him that what people think, but he plays his part of his public persona very well.

“It’s like that pond I skated on when I was a kid-from a distance, the ice looked so shiny and smooth, until you got close enough to it, and suddenly all the uneven edges and crisscrossed skate marks became visible. That’s me, I guess. Covered with skate marks that nobody ever seems to notice.”

Hannah is not timid, an introvert, or intimated by Garrett. While most girls on campus would give up anything to help out THE Garrett Graham, Hannah isn’t interested. His constant requests for tutoring falls on her deaf ears. Hannah’s free time is precious and spending it helping the cocky, childish hockey player is out of the question. However, when Garrett offers her the opportunity to help Hannah get close to the object of her affection, she gives in. Willing to accept help to attract Justin, Hannah and Garrett start spending a lot of time together, until one kiss changes everything.

“How about a date?” I offer.

That gets her attention. She straightens up like someone shoved a metal rod up her spine, then swivels her head in astonishment. “What?”

“Ah. I’ve got your attention.”

“No, you’ve got my disgust. You actually think I want to go out with you?”

                                                   “Everyone wants to go out with me.”                                                      

She bursts out laughing.

I love that Garrett and Hannah do not fall into any stereotypes. Hannah suffered a traumatic event while in high school, but it doesn’t define her. She refuses to paint herself as a victim, but as a survivor. It was refreshing to have a female character who didn’t hide behind herself. Hannah was strong and confident. She didn’t need the attention of a man to boost her confidence. She was drowning in talent, had a strong group of friends, and I loved her. Hannah is now one of my favorite female characters of all time. She might be tough as nails, but Garrett draws out her soft side. Garrett was equally an outstanding character. He holds his feelings close, choosing to focus on hockey and getting as far away from his father as he can. Hannah changes all of that for him. He realizes how lonely going it alone has been, and he needs Hannah in his life.

“I never expected her. Sometimes people sneak up on you and suddenly you don’t know how you ever lived without them.”

This is the first book I have read by Elle Kennedy and it will be the first of many. The writing is simply outstanding. It is cleaver, witty, engaging and FUNNY. This book is seriously funny. I had a giant grin on my face throughout the book, which is another testament to Kennedy’s writing. The Deal covers some extremely heavy topics and does it perfectly. It could have been another book that tries too hard, but instead, handles it perfectly and believably. We get both Garrett and Hannah’s point of views, and never once do they feel like they are written by the same person. Kennedy is completely inside each characters head, and in turn, so are we. The switch between the two was seamless and flowed beautifully. I cannot say enough about this book. It has firmly cemented itself in my top books of the year.

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