The Goal by Elle Kennedy

The Goal by Elle KennedyThe Goal by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus, #4
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on September 26th 2016
Pages: 319
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She’s good at achieving her goals…
College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.
But the game just got a whole lot more complicated
Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.

Sabrina James and John Tucker is a pairing I didn’t think I’d come across, but then Elle Kennedy is adventurous that way and writes a believable relationship between a mismatched pair by the time their HEA rolls around.

Kennedy can always be counted on to give the down and dirty side of the college hookup culture, or rather, the subculture that’s more concerned with parties, casual relationships and the good life apart from studies. ‘The Goal’, like the rest of her series, revolves more around off-campus activities and the way jocks and the girls meander their way down to love after they start from lust and playing the field with a multitude of people. There is quite an overlap with book 2 and while I can’t exactly remember the details of it, it definitely works as a standalone.

While it did get a little shallow for my liking with my inability to really connect with the romantic leads at all, in truth, I was waiting for the holding pattern that these 2 college kids have gotten going, to fall apart. When it finally happened, I was gleeful to see Tucker’s and Sabrina’s ordered worlds collapsed with the introduction of a factor neither had thought about. Consequently, the last quarter of the book was the most interesting but also the most frustrating to read, as Sabrina alternated between self-recrimination and holding onto her pride about needing no one while Tucker reminisced fondly about staying with his old roommates with the constant stream of girls coming around. While I appreciated how the realism of their on-off, undefined relationship made for the long, slow journey to their happy end, it did drag a little too long for my liking.

Kennedy’s writing style is engaging albeit with very very crude college humour that hasn’t quite passed into wit yet and it’s probably a book for those who really appreciate all the tropes in New Adult sports romances: unapologetic, no holds barred types of hookups instead of relationships (thereby upping the body count as much as possible), with most of the characters going happily about bumping uglies with whomever they can whenever they feel like it, until something momentous happens to flip it all into blissful monogamy. Still, Kennedy nails the tone for this genre, filled with innuendoes that can be cringe-worthy and sometimes, amusing banter that goes nowhere, yet captures the mental state of this particular group of young adults who try to be grown up yet sometimes painfully fall short of it.