Once in a while, I would read an ARC that gets me so excited that I couldn’t wait to share it with everybody. That’s what I felt about this book. I wasn’t quite expecting to be enamored with Garrett and Hannah’s story. I thought it was going to be another typical NA fare but boy, was I wrong.

Once I got started, I didn’t stop and after I finished, I started texting my friends and posting updates about it. The Deal simply exceeded my expectations. This book made me happy. Throughout the whole thing I was either giggling, laughing, sniffling, blushing, and then smiling and laughing some more.
The Deal was another one of those unexpected reads. Unexpected because despite its simple plot, this book succeeded in taking over my heart and my mind. Always a good sign for a reader.

Like the I said, the plot for this book is simple. Hannah is college girl with a lot of baggage especially when it comes to sex, so when she finally found someone who makes her feel tingly, she was out of her depth especially when he seems to be unaware of her existence. But then solution comes in the form of cocky player Garrett Graham. Garrett’s life revolve around hockey, so when he got an F on one of his subjects, he needed a tutor or else he’ll be dropped by the team.

When Garrett noticed that Hannah got an A on the same subject, he needled her into agreeing to his tutor. Hannah initially refused but Garrett was persistent. When Garrett found out about her dilemma, he offered a solution: he’ll help her land the guy in exchange for a tutoring session. And thus begin their unlikely friendship.

Despite the straightforward plot, this won me over just by the strength of Elle Kennedy’s writing, flawed yet relatable characters and by its sheer readability. I could not put this book down. I devoured it from beginning to end. The dialogue just sparkled.

Hannah and Garrett despite being opposites on paper (he’s a jock while she’s a music major) have a lot more in common. They were at odds at first, with Hannah being unimpressed by Garrett, but Garrett proved to be not only charming but truly a real nice guy. And he slowly but surely demolished the walls Hannah had put up to protect herself.

I know what you’re thinking, “Oh another heroine with issues.” And she does. A mile wide, in fact. Hannah’s back story was heartbreaking as was Garrett’s. But despite that, their character weren’t overburdened by it. Most of the time, in this genre, the story often get drowned out by its characters personal tragedies. With this book, while it was an integral part of the plot, it didn’t suffocate the story. It helped to enrich it, giving readers an insight into each characters.

I just loved Garrett and Hannah. Their chemistry jumps off the page. Even when they were snipping and goading each other, you feel it. I loved that after their initial introduction to each other, they took their time to be friends first. Then their awareness for each grew and holy freakin’ hell. The slow burn was wonderful to behold.

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^^Me aw-awwing at the Garrett and Hannah banter

Seriously, I cannot wait for you guys to meet Garrett. He is one of the best heroes I’ve read so far. He’s definitely arrogant and can be quite a handful but he’s also the sweetest and the most loyal hero evah. I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful this character is. Truly a standout hero in my opinion.

Overall, while The Deal didn’t break any new ground in the NA genre, it perfectly pulled some of its familiar tropes and made it work. It’s a testament to Elle Kennedy’s skill as an author. It also proves that you don’t have to break the rules to write an engaging and well-thought of story. All it really takes is to develop  a familiar plot, add some flawed but relatable characters, unforgettable dialogue and  the end result will be on unputdownable book.

ARC courtesy of Elle Kennedy in exchange for an honest review.


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