In the fourth, but hopefully not final, book in Elle Kennedy’s enjoyable Off Campus contemporary new adult romance series, another university student hockey player and lovely young woman find a future in each other as they move inexorably towards adult lives.
Sabrina James has been surviving on ambition, overwork, and very little sleep as she drives herself through her final undergrad year. Determined to make a better life for herself and gain distance from her grinding family life, she is going to go to law school if it kills her. Her upbringing in an unpleasant, complicated family has made her self-reliant to the point of leeriness and incredibly driven. It’s been a long time since I wanted to see a heroine to escape as much as I wanted a better life for Sabrina. Show me a capable woman fighting dream crushers telling her who she is and you have my full attention.
Letting off steam one evening, Sabrina meets John “Tuck” Tucker. He’s a charming member of the men’s hockey team at her university. While she likes athletes, she has sworn off hockey players after a bad experience with one. Tuck’s a temptingly engaging and unassuming guy though, so she makes an exception for him just for one night. Laid-back Tuck finds himself smitten with tough, but sweet Sabrina and he pursues her until – WONDER OF WONDERS AND MIRACLE OF MIRACLES – she tells him she’s not interested and he backs off. (Let’s pause to thank Elle Kennedy for a hero taking no for answer.) When Sabrina realises she’s pregnant, she finds herself seeking Tuck out and things move forward from there. Tuck is all in.
It’s been three years since I asked this question, but I still don’t have the answer. Should a hero be a perfect guy or the perfect guy for the heroine? Is there a difference? Tuck is pretty amazing. He’s grounded, patient, an enthusiastic and attentive paramour, hard-working, calm, rational, responsible, patient again plus synonyms for it, mature, kind, sensible, fun, good-looking, protective in a non-overbearing way, bearded (to start off with and, admittedly, that may only make him perfect to me), supportive, and financially secure. Tuck gives Sabrina time and space, he participates as much or as little as she wants him to with her pregnancy and its ramifications, and bides his time while she comes around to the same conclusion he did the night they met.
Tuck and Sabrina face almost insurmountable odds in succeeding with the stresses of their relationship, school, baby, and getting established in adult lives and all, I thought, with virtually no sacrifices. I guess that’s where the wish-fulfillment part of these books comes in. Young people having an instant family plot is not my favourite, but Kennedy did a good job with the story and she continues to be very good at writing friendships in addition to the love story. I will be buying all of the other books in the Off Campus series as they are published.
Off Campus Books 1 – 3:
The Deal – very good, I have re-read it
The Mistake – good
The Score – Entitled, privileged guy gets everything he wants. Granted that describes a lot of romances, but it’s annoying here. He’s a dick in The Goal, too.
Other New Adult romance recommendations can be found here.