Update November 5th Adding warnings for my friends who expect not only faithful hero but 0% OW activity. Look my warnings at the end of my original review. This is important because this is a book that I recommend all the time to readers who like me hate cheating
4.5 solid stars, rounded because this is a great New adult read, FREE OF CHEATING, barely any slutshaming and the hero is just adorable. I've found a new book boyfriend!
Devin Paisley as Garrett!
Thank you so much my friends of the safety gang for giving me information of this book. I was about to pass on this one because the author is the same of that rape fest, disloyal hero fest, antiromantic sex-scenes called Paper princess. I can't believe this is from the same author. Where one book seems to be pro-rape, and is 100% inappropiate for a "YA romance" audience, this book was sexy, romantic, funny, smart (for the most part), realistic from the point of view of an abuse survivor and her strugles, full of anti-rape messages, (almost)free of slutshaming, mature but still addictive in spite of the lack of drama and it was definetely a joy to read. In short the word I'm really looking for to describe this book is AWESOME!
Garrett is the ideal book-boyfriend if you were looking for one. He manages to be a tortured soul, manwhore without being a cheater or a disgustingly abusive guy! He was so manly and sweet at the same time. And the best is that he had a very funny side. I laughed so much with his wit and his charm. I love him so much that I got pissed of at Hannah for taking a stupid decision later that hurt him so much, but other than that I didn't have problems with this book.
All starts when Hannah, an abuse survivor and an "almost-non-TSTL" heroine (TSTL=too stupid to live) agrees to tutor Garrett in exchange of him helping her to get the attention of her crush. I say almost non TSTL because what I noticed from the two Elle Kennedy books I've read is that her heroines are strong for the first part of the book and later they become obedient and go along with the crap others put on them. For 70% of the book I was like "This is going to be a 6 stars" and it wasn't until the end that I had problems with Hannah because [ she looses her spunk or more like Elle Kennedy makes her lose her spunk. She lets herself be blackmailed and intimated by Garret's father. I wouldn't have even agreed to talk to that horrible man (he beats his wife and beat Garret when he was a kid), but she does it because "otherwise she wouldn't be able to concentrate in work" and then it's obvious that this man wouldn't retire financial support from Garret. I wouldn't have fallen for that, I would have put that man in his place, and even if I had believe his lies, I would have talked to Garret first rather than hurt him. There were so many ways the separation could have gone withouth her turning in a TSTL girl. Not only that. She doesn't talk about this to her friends, and then she lets herself be convinced into talking to a traitorous girl who treated her badly in the past during a recital. I wouldn't have talked to that bitch, but in the same recital Hannah is too agreable to this girl and too cold to her friends (hide spoiler)] but I still would prefer to root for Hannah 100000000 times over Ella, the heroine from the other Kennedy book I read. At least Hannah managed to be FUNNY, AND SMART FOR 80% of the book, she didn't slut-shame and she didn't let Garrett set the tone of the relationship or ordered her around. I love that in heroines.
Another thing that I love about this book is that sometimes you find adult fiction/erotica marketed as New adult reads, but there's barely any references to college life, to coming of age journeys and to trying to find your place while you're studying. Example of this would be At any price by Breana Audrey. It's labeled NA, but in reality it's more adult/erotica/romantic suspense. I love New adult, I love to see the struggles of people reaching adulthood but not quite there yet. This book is new adult featuring college life, full of college/coming of age situations and in my opinion a must read of the genre.
The romance builds slowly betweent these two, but it's not completely free of insta-love. I think it has the right rhythm for you to root for these two to be together, it's fast in a way but still you get to know them really well before anything happens. I enjoyed so much that. This book reminds me a lot of Beautiful disaster with the difference that Garrett never considers cheating throughout the customary separation of the couple that happens in all NA reads. Hannah considers cheating, though! But at the end nothing horrible happens and we get our HEA and closure. No cliffhanger here.
I'm recommending this to romance readers who like me hate TSTLness, cheating heroes, slut shamming and "adult" characters acting like teens. It's been a while since a contemporary romance impressed but The Deal surprised me in a good way, just when I was about to give up on the erotic romance genre.
There is OW activity twice. Once the same day H talks h for the first time and another when she's still crushing in another guy but she's slowly falling for hero. I didn't mind. My hard limit is when that happens after our couple kiss for the first time. [ In this book OW happens when they were only strangers and later friends and it wasn't detailed. The first time is fade to black, the second time is a little more visual, I could picture the scene but rather than upsetting me I laughed at it because it was awkward the way Hannah caught him. It didnt' bother me other than I wish Hannah had refused to change their appointment. However, since a lot of my friends hate OW activity and one even didn't finish the book because these scenes I added the warning. I'd say also that I haven't read book 2 but I DNF book 3 because OW activity was too detailed for my taste but that's another free of cheating book, just be careful