The Deal by Elle Kennedy Review + Playlist


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.


5 Stars

If you like:

  • New Adult Romance
  • Companion Stories
  • Hockey 
  • College Setting 

Then this is the book for you!

TW/CW: rape, being drugged at a party, and domestic abuse

This is the first book by Elle that I’ve read where it’s just her writing it. I had read The Royal Series about 6 years ago that she had cowritten with Jen Frederick, and I had also read to other books that they had published as Erin Watt. 

I’ll be honest, I’ve wanted to read some of Elle’s books since I found out that Erin Watt was a pseudonym for two authors, and recently on Booktok, Elle’s Off-Campus/Briar U series started to show up on my FYP all the time ranking the guys and showing mood boards, so I gave in (not that it took much) and bought an ecopy then I finished it today and ended up buying a physical copy because I love Garrett and Hannah’s story so much.

“The moment she’s gone, I experience a sense of loss. I’m no longer warm and cozy, but cold and alone”

Hannah is the girl on campus that kind of keeps to herself with her group of friends. She knows where she stands in the social world and is fine where she is at. It has been a year since her last relationship and finally has a crush on a new football transfer student.

“But see, here’s the thing about life. When it’s this good?

Something inevitably goes bad.”

Justin has captivated Hannah’s attention with his smile and love for Hemingway. He seems intelligent and caring , but Hannah can’t get out more than a few words while being near him.

After their midterm exam paper in ethics most of the class made a C or worse except for Hannah who made an A, and it’s because of that grade that has caught the attention of Garrett who needs tutoring to do better on the makeup exam that the teacher is giving to try to help the majority of the class.

While many fruitless attempts in trying to get Hannah to be Garett’s tutor by trying to pay her, help her with her social status, and countless other bribes to help him get the grade he needs to keep his GPA up to standards to play on the hockey team where he’s the team captain.

Garrett finally wears down Hannah’ refusal of tutoring by helping her try and get with Justin buy fake dating, but what happens when beneath all of the arguing and bantering between Hannah and Garrett are some real feelings that neither really know how to interpret since Garrett doesn’t want to date and Hannah thinks she doesn’t like him like that.

Sometimes it’s easier to talk about things with a person that you don’t have any interest in talking long-term and over the course of spending time together while studying and a few impromptu hangout moments. They get to know the other’s mannerism and habits and end up talking a good bit turning this tutoring thing into dare they say a friendship.

When it comes time for them to start the game plan for her to talk to Justin, Garrett isn’t ready to let Hannah go despite his rule on not wanting to date anyone and he knows that Hannah deserves someone that will treat her right and not smush her heart. Then when the time comes Hannah realizes that Garrett has some how managed to get his way into her heart, and she realizes that she has come to trust a guy in a way that she hasn’t been able to in forever.

“Garrett Graham, my own personal sweet-talker”

I probably managed to read The Deal in about 8 hours if I’m being honest (and could have stayed up all night to read it cover to cover). I wasn’t sure how this book was going to play out since we had a fake dating type situation or not, Garrett getting around campus with the women, they conflicting schedules with Garrett playing hockey and Hannah getting ready for the Winter Formal thing, and just them in general since there was so much going on between them.

Not to make Garrett sound bad, but I though he was going to cheat on Hannah while they were in their in between stage of dating before it was exclusive, but he stayed loyal even when they started to move in that direction. I wanted to jus hug him because he is so thoughtful when it comes to Hannah and her trying to figure out her body when it comes to being in an intimate relationship with a guy after finding out her past leading to her not drinking and being so wary.

Then we find out that Garrett has a past of his own that is a constant reminder with him being on the hockey team. When we get to that part of the book where he talks about his mom’s death and how his father treated them, my heart just broke for that 12 year old boy and the man that he became carrying around all of that. Because even though from the outside he has a picture perfect life with his father being a famous hockey player, his life has never been as simple.

And, Hannah. All I can say that she is incredibly strong being able to work through her past. Even though she has learned to move forward, her parents are a reminder of the things that her family has been through because of what happened to her at a party and being in such a small town, they town all but outcasted them making life so much harder. Now that Hannah’s away at college, it has helped a good bit, but she can’t help but feel guilty for placing so much strain on her parents.

She has kept herself towards the shadows of many aspects in her life, so when Garrett tries to get her help, it isn’t an easy task, and he somehow managed to get Hannah to live again and trust him.


  • Wanted by Hunter Hayes
  • Outer Space/Carry On by 5SOS
  • Trending Water by The Vamps
  • Alone by Halsey ft. Big Sean
  • There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back by Shawn Mendes
  • The Story of My Life by One Direction
  • Dancing with Nobody by Austin Mahone
  • Never Be the Same by Camila Cabello

Happy reading until next time,

7 thoughts on “The Deal by Elle Kennedy Review + Playlist

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