Book Review – The Goal by Elle Kennedy

by Maryse on October 1, 2016 · 16 comments

in My Book Reviews

The Goal (Off-Campus Book 4)
One of my favorite college romance series hits a home run again! Er… scores a goal. ‘Cause you know. Hockey. :P

This one had all of the characteristics of every one of the preceding books (intense connection with someone that might not normally fit the group… for whatever reason). Plus hilarious interactions, realistic characters, dialogue and reactions, steamy sex scenes, and an angsty moment that throws everything for a loop.

Each book has each one of these characteristics, and it almost feels like watching your absolute favorite TV show (or even movie series). It always feels like I’m coming home. It was an automatic one-click for me, and I went into it blind (other than knowing how my fellow readers were reacting… which I love!!).

Tessa: *happy sigh* My heart is so happy. My grin is so big. The Goal was just what I needed on an overly hot day. I’m in happy land. Tucker is a big, old sweety and I just adore him. …I can’t wait to see what you think of the Goal. The opinions are all over the place.  :D

Lisa: Loving The Goal. Tucker is a gorgeous big old hunk. Sabrina….meh….not so into her…..maybe he’ll thaw her out a bit.

Jean: Finished The Goal and ended up loving it even though the h initially annoyed me! So sad it’s the end of the series!

DG: Read The Goal and AGREED Tuck is the bomb! Loved him…a lot! Sweet, sexy, Tuck…yeah, I could have a thing for hockey players if they were all like these guys…Love the book, felt bad for the h…she was not crazy likeable but the girl had issues…Tuck’s mom…yeah, I didn’t like her so much…overall I LOVED it!

Julie o: Just finished The Goal. Why can’t they clone a “Tucker” for each of us? Is that asking too much?????

So what’s it about?

Sabrina is going to college and living a somewhat underprivileged life. Living with her sweet but ornery grandmother, and perv-of-a-stepfather,

My gaze darts to the hallway. “He won’t bother me,” she whispers, as if reading my mind. “I lock my door at night.”

… she’s working two jobs to be able to afford school with the intention of getting into Harvard on a scholarship.

I’m trashy. I live with trashy people. I belong in a trashy place.

The question is, will I ever be able to rub off the stench of my past to belong at Harvard? I thought I could.

But tonight, I honestly don’t know.

She may come from bad beginnings, but she’s got a goal and her forever will be bright if she doesn’t lose focus.

I don’t spend much time with my peers. I know I come off as aloof at times—

Fine, bitchy. Aloof is just a nice word for bitchy. And while I’m not thrilled that my classmates think I’m a bitch, there’s not much I can do about that. I don’t have the time or energy to make small talk, or to grab coffee after class, or to pretend that I have anything in common with the wealthy, elitist kids that comprise most of this college.

Sure, she’ll play the field, one OCCASIONAL night at a time, but there will never be anything more for her (romance-wise) than that. She’s jaded. And too busy.

That is… until sexy-sweet, super-star hockey player “Tucker” comes into the picture. She may be “Dean Di Laurentis’s” nemesis, but his buddy Tucker has no problem flirting and skirting her bad-girl potential, despite all of Dean’s warnings. But once that connection is made… can it be severed?


And I’ll admit, while the whole book is darn good, the first half left me a bit… disenchanted.

Jan: I’m half way through The Goal and I guess I’ll have a go at finishing it. Tuck is pretty sweet, but I just don’t like Sabrina’s lack of self-respect and her potty mouth. Call me old-fashioned (oh yeah, that’s right, I am). Ah well, maybe the book’ll get better. One can always hope……..

I was feeling the same way for the first half, Jan. It was good. Just not unputdownable for me.

Not that it wasn’t well written, and didn’t have good dialogue. It did! Elle Kennedy has a way with bringing her characters to life. But there wasn’t all that much about  the “meet cute” and the steamy connection, and the heroine’s difficult home life vs. the heroes good-boy (with a little bad-boy) ways. Good… but not addicting. But she’s one of my favorite authors, and I knew she’d throw in a monkey wrench sooner or later. And OMG DID SHE!

The second half of the book? AWESOME. And I can’t really tell you why, because I didn’t see it coming, and when it happened, I was all… OH WOW!!!

Personally? I loved Sabrina. Sure she didn’t have the hilarious comebacks and fun attitude that our past heroines in this series did. She was reserved, didn’t interact (or should I say connect?) all that much, and she was serious, focused, and no-nonsense. But that was because her life depended on it. She could have ANYTHING she wanted, as long as she worked for it. Life didn’t come easy to her, and she was forced to dig in deep. And then she was forced to dig in deeper.

The emotional, nonchalant wall around her made it hard for the readers (and her fellow students) to connect with her, but it’s not long before her vulnerability shines through and you TRULY get who she is.

And well… Tucker? Yeah. He’s pretty much perfect. ;) LOVE!!! Er… except for his calling her darlin’. I dunno why, but I couldn’t quite “hear” that term of endearment, as naturally as I would have liked.

But that would be one of my only hiccups.

Oh also, just the whole “non-communication thing” that was prevalent in this one. But hey! Sometimes people are insecure and can’t come right out with it. Who am I to judge? ;) You’ll see.

Sidenote: I JUST NOW (after reading the book) read the full blurb, and it gives away some of that *surprise* reveal. Yep I WENT IN BLIND. And personally? I’d suggest going in blind to anyone that is in the mood for a fun, but kind of realistically “deep” new adult romance. I was very excited by the direction this one decided to take, because it was in the LIVING of the second half of this potential love story that had me hooked. I loved that the author explored many angles of this dilemma and allowed the reader to feel it, in all of its reality.

P.S. It’s got PLENTY of hilarious scenes and dialogue (amongst crew and internal) too. This one is full force Elle Kennedy, and I laughed out loud a TON!!! GAH. I love that she can combine hilarious goofy humor with real life drama.

“Dean’s my buddy, so obviously the bro code says I have to side with him. But this one—” He jerks a thumb at Hannah, “is my girlfriend. Girlfriend trumps buddy. Wellsy’ll take Allie’s side, and I’ll have to take Wellsy’s side, vis-à-vis, I’m taking Allie’s side.”

“I don’t think you’re using vis-à-vis right,” Morris pipes up.

“Yeah, I believe the word you’re looking for is therefore.” Logan’s lips are twitching wildly.

P.S. It gets even funnier (but those are secrets I can’t give away ’cause you know… reveal). ;)

4.5 stars!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim Box Person October 1, 2016 at 8:42 PM

I want to read Fitzy book!!!!

Jaime K October 1, 2016 at 9:06 PM

Maybe I’m mistaken but at the end of the last book does it not give away what this book will be about? I didn’t read the blurb and I knew the surprise that you are talking about. Maybe I read it somewhere else? I’ll have to go back and read the very end of the last book. Such a great series though I’ve loved every book!

Maryse October 1, 2016 at 9:09 PM

Oh maybe Jaime!!! I guess I was so wrapped up in the last book’s main characters, I didn’t focus too much on what storyline was coming next. Quite possibly though!! For me, I didn’t even see it coming, so it was a bit of a thrill. LOL!!! :P

Jaime K October 1, 2016 at 9:13 PM

Honestly I think it would be better not knowing like you did. The whole time I was reading the first half it kind of felt like a waste of time because I knew what was coming. I know she was trying to build a relationship but I kept thinking okay lets get to that part!

Maryse October 1, 2016 at 9:26 PM

Luckily, when we got to that part, it was pretty intensive! ;) Plenty of detail that I “felt” you know? Holy moly I felt bad at times.

Fabi October 1, 2016 at 10:03 PM

4.5 stars – I’m starting this one tomorrow!

Lisa October 2, 2016 at 3:57 AM

Spot on review Maryse.
Think there is going to be a spin off series…Im sure I read that somewhere.

Julie o October 2, 2016 at 5:15 AM

I liked his “darlins” !!

Lisa October 2, 2016 at 5:20 AM

Me too Julie O! ;)

Jean October 2, 2016 at 10:08 AM

I loved the darlins too! I did remember the end of book 3 with the surprise so I was waiting for it too. Great review Maryse! Did you hear anything about a spinoff?

Teri W October 2, 2016 at 5:56 PM

I was scared going into this book because I read a few reviews where they hated Sabrina. I loved her! I could totally relate to her need to keep herself extremely focused on her quest for law school. It’s hard enough normally but when you rely on yourself for financial support it really does take every ounce of energy that you have. And Tucker, sigh….loved him too.

Amy October 2, 2016 at 8:06 PM

Alright, I’m clicking this one. And I WILL at some point get around to reading it as well as the one before it.

Even though I keep hearing that the h is not well liked, I have been known a time or twenty to like an h that others have really disliked so I might be okay. ;)

Kaycee October 2, 2016 at 9:20 PM

I really liked this book, but I was opposite to you! I loved the first half so much, but the second half fell short for me. I guess it’s because we already knew what was going to happen, being that it was revealed at the end if The Score! I loved Tucker though and he made up for Sabrina’s down falls.

Fabi October 2, 2016 at 10:05 PM

I don’t know how Sabrina is going to change, but at 20%, I feel nothing but sorry for her.

Lisa October 3, 2016 at 5:58 PM

Elle Kennedy replys on Goodreads:
Q: Is Off-campus over or will we get to read about Fitzy and Hollis?

‘I am going to write a spin off series about the Briar players, but I don’t have any specifics to share yet. But Fitzy will get a book.’

Fabi October 4, 2016 at 8:09 PM

Maryse, I didn’t read the blurb until after I finished the book either. It’s a shame that one of the big twists is given away in the blurb. I thought it had much more impact as a surprise turn in the plot.

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