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

Title: The Deal (Off-Campus #1)
Author: Elle Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 Stars


Why the hype? Don’t get me wrong I liked this book; I gave it 4 Stars after all (though I feel like I was a little bit too generous). I just don’t get this buzz surrounding this book. Recently it seems that everywhere I turn someone praises The Deal. Yes, The Deal is very entertaining and addictive. I couldn’t put it down, the characters were likable and the romance was great, but at the core The Deal was the usual average NA with many tropes.

At age fifteen Hannah was raped (it’s not a spoiler since we’re told about it on the first page). Now she’s a junior in college and after years of therapy she is ready to leave it all in the past. She wants to date. One big problem: a guy she has a crush on doesn’t notice her. So she needs to do something to draw attention to her. Enter Garrett. He is a captain of the hockey team and a big player on hockey field and off it. Garrett has a problem. He needs to keep his grades high in order to stay on the team, but he failed his Ethics. So he needs someone who can tutor him as soon as possible. When he finds out that Hannah has A in this class he is very persistent. Finally these two make a deal. Hannah tutor Garret and in exchange he fake-dates her to make the other guy notice her.

Like I said before The Deal is very addictive. If I had more time I would read it in one day. I really liked the romance. Hannah and Garrett’s relationship progressed gradually from acquaintances to friends to lovers. It was slow and oh so amazing. There was a great chemistry between the main characters, and a lot of steam is waiting for you.

I loved main characters. Hanna is such a wonderful heroine. She is a strong intelligent girl with a great sense of humor. I also liked the author’s approach to the topic of survivor of sexual assault. Hannah portrayed in very optimistic way. She had therapy, she had time to cope; now she dates and wants a relationship. Yes, she has some issues but she looks forward positively. Nowadays NA authors often make the heroine a broken victim and use it to add more drama and angst and I’m glad this is not a case here.

Garrett. What can I say? He totally won me over. When we first met him he came as a cocky arrogant womanizer. But he is actually kind, caring, smart and funny guy.

I loved funny banters between Hannah and Garrett. Their teasing made me smile and there were moments when I laughed out loud. The scene where Hannah stormed in the locker room was hilarious.

The story was told in dual POV and there was something that annoyed me. When we switched to Garrett’s POV I had a feeling that the author intentionally added swearing to emphasize Garrett’s manliness. It’s not swearing itself that bugs me. It seems like many NA authors thinks that if they throw several F*ck words they would have a distinct male voice. Oh, also the guy should think a lot of sex. The first author who comes to my mind is Abby Glines. Her typical hero portrayed the same way. Do real guys think in such manner? Maybe I’m just getting too old and know nothing about college boys.

The other thing that annoyed me was the line with Justin.

Show spoiler

Also I tired of main characters broken by their awful past. I want something new. Maybe I just need a break from NA for a while.

Despite my complaints I really liked The Deal. When I read this kind of books my main focus is on the romance. If the romance works for me I can look past many flaws. So if you’re like me I wholeheartedly recommend The Deal to you.

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13 Comments on “Review: The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

  1. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy this one overall despite some issues Ksenia. I get what you mean about having characters with broken pasts all the time in NA books, I really do want NA books to give me something different at times too. But thank you for putting this one on my radar!

  2. So many of my friends keep pushing me to read this book.. I don't know. I'm worried the hype is too much, and some of the spoilers I've read I know would bug me….
    Glad you at least liked it! 4 stars is really good! But I know what you mean about the stereotypical NA plots.

  3. I'm growing a bit tired of NA lately, too, Ksenia. This one was very hyped, so I think I'll wait a while to pick this up. Did you know Elle Kennedy writes romantic suspense? I really enjoyed Midnight Action and I'm going back to start the beginning of the series really soon. Great review, as usual! :)

  4. Like you, I know this book because there're many people say that this book is great. It make me curious about this book. At first I thought it just the usual NA book, so I did not expect that it's kinda dealing with rape too. But I'm glad that Hannah is a 'survivor' and not a 'victim'

    Anyway, great review! :)

  5. The hype mostly stems from the author's writing style. She does her characterizations well which is why so many people loved it. I'm glad you were able to still enjoy it despite your issues with it. But yeah NA is not the genre you want to look into when you want originality. If you've read one book, you've read everything.
    Great review!

    • I hope you'll enjoy it, Arlene. Just don't let the hype get to you like it happend with me.

  6. At first (maybe because of the standard cover) I completely wrote this one off as another 'typical NA book' but with everyone praising it left and right, I've been determined to read it myself and experience the wonderfulness that is The Deal. While i'm happy you enjoyed this one, i'm also overjoyed at the fact that you managed to calm down the hype a bit for me. I saw this one as a mostly NA book and knowing that someone else see's it that way is refreshing. It makes me feel like i'm not the only one, although I am interested in it and i'd love to read something that addictive (even if it follows the traditional NA trope). Great review Ksenia!

    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

    • Thank you, Lily! IMO this cover is so tacky. Initially I wrote The Deal off because of it too. I hope you will like it.

  7. Sometimes a book can be a bit cliche, but it all really depends on the characterization and writing style for me. It seems like both were done really well in this one despite the not-so-unique story. Hanna sounds like a respectable heroine. Garrett sounds really sweet and adorable. And of course I would love to read about the banter between these two! :) I totally get what you mean about the large amount of swearing and sexual thoughts when reading from a male POV though. >_< Fantastic review, Ksenia!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    • Thanks Aimee! I know right, NA authors make it looks like all the guys think of is sex and swearing. I don’t mind cliché books if I’m in the right mood for it, too.

  8. So far it seems like this book is good, as the majority of the reviews I have seen have been positive to overwhelmingly positive! Even though you had a bit of problems with it, you made it clear that it was an awesome read, and that's all I need to know to consider getting this one :)

    Faye at The Social Potato

    • It was good; I think my problem was that my expectations were very high because of the hype surrounding this book. I hope you will like it when you come around to read it.

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