The Goal (Off Campus, #4) by Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: September 26th, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports – Ice Hockey
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
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.
The Goal was the perfect book to finish this series on. John Tucker was a steady presence throughout the series. He appeared as the quiet and thoughtful member of the group. The one you’d most likely turn to if you were in a tricky situation. In The Goal, we see that he is exactly that. He’s thoughtful, patient, kind, and incredibly loyal. Tucker is a woman’s dream. At the end of The Score we know what he’d be facing in this book, and seeing the build-up to that reveal was so much fun to read about. On top of that, we also explore the other challenges he faces in life. He knows he has no chance of going pro after college, so with graduation looming, Tucker is at a crossroad of deciding not just what he wants to do, but where he wants to be. Does he go back to his mother in their small Texan town, or does he stay in Boston. On top of that, he has Sabrina to think about. He knows that the two of them could be something great together, but proving that to her is not an easy feat. The chemistry between them is evident, but the sudden addition to their lives complicates things a bit.
Prior to reading the book, there had been a lot of comments on Sabrina’s coldness and how long it took her to truly let down her walls. It’s frustrating and she’s is lucky that Tucker is such a patient and understanding guy. However, that wasn’t an issue for me. It was easy to understand why Sabrina was so guarded. She’s not had the best upbringing, has basically raised herself, and has never really had a consistent support system, let alone someone that loves her wholeheartedly. It’s a trope you see often in NA, but it was Sabrina’s resilience and determination to go out there and create a better life for herself that made her so endearing. She didn’t wallow in self-pity, she took charge and made things happen. Even when she was pushing Tucker away it wasn’t because she didn’t love him, it was down to her not wanting to chain Tucker to a life he may not want to be in. It’s understandable when you consider the circumstances surrounding her upbringing and their relationship. Her journey was a personal highlight in this book and seeing her adapt to motherhood, pursue her dream, and along the way let Tucker into her heart was a delight.
The baby trope is not something that appeals to me that much. However, Kennedy did a great job at exploring the emotions that come with an unexpected pregnancy. There’s the fear, the uncertainty, the doubt, but there’s also the joy. You take the bad with the good and seeing Tucker and Sabrina adjust to parenthood was realistically executed.
This series would not be the same if it wasn’t for the brotherhood between the guys. They had some glorious moments in this book. Tucker announcing he was going to be a dad was the last thing they expected, but the support they offered him and the loyalty they show towards each other was heartwarming. Garrett, Logan, Dean, and Tucker may be heading in different directions come graduation, but the friendship between them will never falter.
The Goal was the perfect ending to the Off-Campus series. Tucker is up there with Garrett as my favourite of the guys. They’re both equally as wonderful in this girls eyes. Sabrina might frustrate you, but she is also an endearing character and it was so easy to root for the two of them to get their happy ending.
What did you think of The Goal?
Who is your favourite Off-Campus guy?