The Deal, written by Elle Kennedy, is the story of a girl who unwittingly falls for the jock that convinces her to tutor him. There’s so much more to it than that, though.
This is one of those books where you look at the cover, snort, and toss it aside, because, really, how much depth could a book with a shirtless guy on the front have? Well…needless to say I made a mistake tossing this book aside in the first place. I don’t even remember how it came across my radar, but I know for sure the second time I picked it up out of sheer boredom. And wow was I surprised. Much like the book itself is a hidden gem, there are multiple lines scattered throughout the book that made me completely laugh out loud, and even once or twice snort the coffee I was drinking out through my nose (attractive, I know). The banter between these two is just so unbelievably well written. Unlike some fictional couples where the banter is just to disguise the underlying sexual tension, Garrett and Hannah truly don’t like each other at the beginning. One of Hannah’s lines is particularly good- “Garrett climbs on the bed and lies down, resting his head on a mountain of pillows. I’ve never met anyone who sleeps with so many pillows. Maybe he needs them to cradle his massive ego.” Freaking priceless.
That’s part of what really made me love this book-the characters. They were damaged and broken, both hiding behind facades they had conjured to protect themselves, however at the same time they’re two of the funniest, wittiest, and lively characters I’ve ever read. Elle Kennedy did a fantastic job of truly bringing these characters to life, filling them with so much vibrancy and energy they truly leapt off the page.
Garrett’s character is intended to be the stereotypical jock: he’s a player who doesn’t do relationships, and is extremely confident about his body and popularity. If this is not written carefully, it can often backfire in the author’s face and create a love interest that the reader dislikes, and has a hard time growing to like. Elle Kennedy, however, dances this line perfectly. I loved Garrett’s character, and can’t blame Hannah at all for falling for him. There’s no way I would have been able to resist.
Hannah was also a breath of fresh air. She was whiny, and not once annoyed me. Instead, she was a tough, witty heroine, who fought for what she wanted. She was also extremely selfless. Another thing I really enjoyed was that she didn’t rely on Garrett for self worth. She didn’t spend half the book wondering why a “guy like Garrett” would choose a “girl like her”, which is something all too common in romances between a jock and an unpopular girl. She not once emphasizes the fact that he could have his pick of any girl on campus, yet accepts her. She simply accepts the fact that he loves her, and doesn’t question it. I didn’t even realize how much it annoyed me when the heroine did that until I was presented with a heroine who didn’t.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the level of angst and feels (yes, feels). Elle Kennedy didn’t drag out Hannah and Garrett’s flirtationship, and when the inevitable break-up happened (not really a spoiler, since that’s how the plot line of literally ever single romance novel goes), it was dragged out. Instead of moping around separately, whining about stupid reasons they couldn’t be together, Garrett and Hannah each became more and more determined to reconcile their problems. So props to Elle Kennedy, because makeups in the rain at night are totally overrated, while Hannah and Garrett’s makeup was a breath of (hilarious) fresh air.
This was a book I didn’t put down once from start to finish. In fact, I’ve now read it twice, and both times I read it in one sitting. It’s not a quick read by any means. But it is the perfect way to spend an afternoon off of work, or a cozy rainy evening. So go pick up a copy today!
**this book contains adult themes and is not intended for readers under the age of 18**