Continuing with the Alphabet Variation Challenge:
For letter “K,” I read Elle Kennedy’s The Deal, published in 2015.
This book is the first in Kennedy’s Off-Campus series, and I really enjoyed it. The story focuses on Hannah Wells and Garrett Graham, both juniors (if memory serves) at Briar University. Graham is the captain of the University’s winning hockey team and the son of a hockey legend. Hannah is a music/vocal major, the daughter of working class parents, and is also recovering from a tragic event from her teen years. Although Hannah has eyes for a football player in her philosophy class, Garrett tracks her down and begins pestering her to tutor him in philosophy as she was one of the few students to receive an “A” on the mid-term and his “D” grade could potentially hurt his eligibility to play on the hockey team. After Garrett discovers Hannah’s interest in the football player, he offers to help her attract him if she will tutor him for a make-up exam that could save his place on the team.
The premise of this story seems pretty pedestrian, but the actual telling of it is anything but. Kennedy’s characters are fully realized and multi-layered. Hannah is recovering from an assault when she was 15 that almost destroyed her and her family, but she doesn’t wallow in the past. She is also competing for a music scholarship that will relieve the tuition burden from her financially strapped parents. Garrett, although the son of a wealthy, former hockey star, is desperately trying to get out from under both his father’s shadow and his ironclad control. The story takes the time to have Garrett and Hannah get to know each other. Although there is definitely plenty of sexy elements, Garrett and Hannah don’t immediately jump into bed, which makes their eventual intimacy so much more meaningful. I really appreciated the time the author took developing the relationship, as well as building the world around the characters and making us care about their friends and their future. I would give this a B+ and look forward to the rest of the series.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 17 down, 1 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q, I, O, P, K …)
Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 14 down, 4 to go