From Amazon: 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.
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.
Elle Kennedy co-wrote one of my favorite m/m new adult romances, Him, with Sarina Bowen, and while I sought out Bowen’s The Ivy Years series, this is the first book by Elle Kennedy that I’ve read.
AND I LOVED THIS BOOK. Holy hell, was I utterly charmed by this book. Here’s just a short list of the things this book gets right:
1. The characters. Hannah Wells is fantastic- she’s smart and sassy and funny and strong. She’s been through a really traumatic event and she’s determined not to let it define her or her life. Garrett Graham, hockey team captain and undisputed Big Man on Campus, is charming and cocky and pushy, but he’s also supportive and kind and decent. He’s a wonderful surprise.
2. The pace. I’m not a fan of instalove; as a romance trope, it’s my least favorite. The bulk of this story takes place only over a few months, but Kennedy does a great job of building from antipathy to grudging like to actual friendship to complete love.
3. The chase. Graham is the most known and popular guy on their college campus. Hannah isn’t, and she’s perfectly content with herself and her (lack of) popularity. There were so many places where I worried that Hannah would catch feelings and get her heart crushed by the popular jock, but I needn’t have worried because in this story, Graham is the lovesick fool.
4. The fantasy. Why yes, this story takes place on a college campus with a huge hockey and football program and many fraternities, but the school a) doesn’t let the jocks skate academically, and b) so prioritizes student safety that the school has never had an incident of roofies or sexual assault at frat parties…I mean, romance is already fantasy so just go ahead and slather the whole story in unreality, I don’t mind one bit!
5. The emotional maturity. Yes to a 20 year-old guy with the emotional maturity not to jump to conclusions but to actually go talk to his girlfriend when he learns some unhappy info. Yes to a 20 year-old woman who knows and values herself well enough to set limits and boundaries for herself and her heart and to maintain them even in the face of a very hot hockey team captain. Yes to a friendship built on honesty and trust that turns into a relationship. Just yes.