Review | The Deal by Elle Kennedy

The DealThe Deal by Elle Kennedy
Off-Campus #1
Contemporary NA
February 24, 2015

About the Book: 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.


Confession. Before reading this, I had written Elle Kennedy off as “not for me”. While I love Him, Us, and Good Boy, I wasn’t blown away by either author on their own. While there was one Sarina Bowen book I enjoyed, I didn’t like anything I’d read by Elle Kennedy alone.

The Deal didn’t really change my opinion.

I’m pretty sure I will always believe Sarina and Elle together are romance magic. However, I now recognize exactly where Elle meets Sarina in writing together. Finishing The Deal, I realized Elle Kennedy was all Ryan Wesley. I know they say they created and wrote together, but I recognize Elle’s style specifically in that cocky tattooed hockey player. Her hockey books are full of wonderful, kindhearted, and gentle alpha men.

I finally enjoyed one of Ms Kennedy’s books.

Hockey is her forte.

I don’t know why I tried Dystopian and Romantic Suspense.

The Deal had the best aspects of all my favorite romances. Garrett was hot. Hot as hell. (Funny how Elle and Sarina turned me into a hockey fiction fan.) Fictional hockey players are my favorite these days, and Garrett was one of the good ones. There were tropes in The Deal I usually don’t like but, through Garrett, Elle Kennedy brought a vulnerability and grace that was really wonderfully executed.

I also liked Hannah. I loved how she gave Garrett grief, and how he loved every second of it. The more she sassed him, the deeper he fell. She never treated him badly, but she didn’t let him get away with his shit. It was adorable. The two of them made such a great team.

Still, it was obvious The Deal was missing a key element.


There were a few spots in the book I felt a second author would have helped to soften the rougher edges. There was an ultimatum that felt a little trite. Perhaps there was just a little too much baggage for each character. Basically, there were a few little things that could have been worked out over an outline and a beer.

Smashing Understatement of the Year with The Deal, I know understand how Elle and Sarina make music. They really are a symphony together.

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

3 Responses

  1. Hm… This review has given me lots to think about. I’m trying to remember who I read first — Bowen or Kennedy. It probably doesn’t matter. Thing is, I fell in love with both of their books separately. The Deal is one of my all-time favorite new adult romances. I have such love for it and the following books. That being said, I can’t say that I wouldn’t feel differently had I read their collaborations first. Also, I haven’t read many others of Kennedy’s. I think I’ve read her Out of Uniform series, but that’s it. As for Bowen, I’ve read them all. I actually really love her True North and Brooklyn series. Also, I’m a big fan of The Understatement of the Year (similar to Him). I do think there is a special magic of their writing together.
    On another note, have you read Kennedy’s collaborations with Jen Frederick as Erin Watt? Completely different style, but addictive.


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