Release Day Review: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

the-goalThe Goal by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus #4
Genre: New Adult
Release Date: Sep 26, 2016
ARC provided by the author via Nina Bocci PR

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.

D.G.’s Rating: 3.5 stars = B

Now I know why most New Adult have douchebags for heroes.

All the conflict in The Goal stemmed from Sabrina, because Tucker is pretty much a saint (even she says so.) He’s kind, patient, even keeled, respectful, supportive, protective without being a caveman, sweet, plus hot in looks and in bed. If a woman was going to get knocked up, she couldn’t do much better than have Tucker as her baby daddy.

In short this is the Sabrina’s show. When we met her in past books, she came up as a stuck-up byotch but it turned out she’s just overworked. She goes to school full time, commutes from Boston and has two jobs. She comes from a poor background and she’s determined to leave the hell-hole where she grew up. She’s never had a boyfriend (just hookups) and I got the impression she thinks men are good only for sex, which didn’t give me the greatest impression of her.

Even though I understood where Sabrina was coming from, she was difficult to like at times. She’s so closed off, the type that thinks she can do everything by herself and never accepts help, not even from her best friends. She keeps Tucker at arms length pretty much for the whole book. First, she’s concerned that being with him will be “a distraction” and when that doesn’t pan out because the guy is understanding and has his own life, the issue of the baby comes up. This of course, derails the plans Sabrina had made her whole life.

Trigger Warning: Sabrina seriously considers not having the baby. I mention this only because if you have moral or religious objections to abortion, you may not want to read about this in a romance. I’m firmly in the pro-choice camp and in my opinion, this was handled thoughtfully and realistically. There was no way a woman in Sabrina’s situation would instantly welcome the idea of motherhood at a time where she’s about to enter Law School and realize all her dreams.

Once the issue of the baby is settled, Sabrina wavers between three of my most hated tropes:
Let’s suffer now so I don’t suffer later“: She’s SURE she’ll mess up in the future, so why start a relationship with Tucker? No matters how much she loves him, needs him, wants him, she’ll suck it up now so she doesn’t have to suffer when the relationship eventually ends. **rolls eyes** By that logic, she knows she’ll die at some point…why even bother to live?
He’s too good for me: **more eye rolling** He’s a grown man and can make his own decisions. Who the hell are you to tell him who he wants to be with? My husband is definitely too good for me and do you see me whining that I don’t deserve him? Lord no! I thank my lucky stars that I got one of the good ones and strive to be better each day.
I’m ruining his life: You know, because she decided to keep the baby. **sigh** Playing the martyr is definitely not Sabrina’s style so I suspect this was one of her excuses not to give Tucker a shot. At the same time, she wants to be so self-sufficient that in her mind, she probably thinks she conceived the baby on her own. Anyway you look at it, this behavior was super annoying.

The best part of the book was of course, Tucker and his friends, which in my opinion, we didn’t see enough of. The godfather competition was HILARIOUS and I wish we had been there when Logan explained the rules.

I thought this was going to be the end of the series but given the situation between Fitzy and Summer (Dean’s sister), I get the impression there will be another book at least. Even though The Goal wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, I’d give a 5th book a shot. (Maybe that could even be the title…what do you think of ‘The Shot?’ Ms. Kennedy?)

Series Reading Order
1. The Deal
2. The Mistake
3. The Score
4. The Goal

Thanks to Elle Kennedy and Nina Bocci PR for providing a review copy of this book.

© 2016, Badass Book Reviews. All rights reserved.

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