ARC Review | The Play by Elle Kennedy

The Play by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U

Genre: New Adult, Romance
Publication Date: October 7th, 2019
ARC from the Author

What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season? No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.

But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friends with a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.

Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.

And she’s making a play for me.

Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.

Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.

| Book Review |

If you’re a New Adult reader, you probably don’t need this introduction, but being the responsible blogger I am, I’m giving it to you anyway. The Play is the third book in Elle Kennedy’s Briar U series, which is a spin off of her wildly popular Off Campus series. Every book in this series is so addictive and fun, and Elle Kennedy really shows she’s the queen of the genre with each new release. There was so much to love about this book, but unfortunately a few things got under my skin, so let’s break this up:

What I Loved

Hunter: Hunter gets to be first because we already know him, and we’ve been waiting for his story for what feels like ever. (I know we haven’t, but when you love a character and want their book, time just crawls.) You know this is a man who, when things hit him, they hit him hard. We saw that from The Chase, and then even more in The Risk. But what we didn’t see was how damn sweet and charming Hunter could be. I mean, Elle Kennedy’s writing him, so you know it’s there; you just haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet. But we see it here, and man does it make me love him even more. Also, his past was pretty freaking devastating, and he’s done a fairly good job of not letting it affect him, though it’s something he can’t escape completely, but we see a lot of growth in him in this area. 

Demi: Ok – so you know that super cheesy saying that you sometimes hear – ‘all the guys want her and all the girls want to be her?’ That’s Demi in a nutshell; Elle Kennedy makes that abundantly clear without having to say it. Demi was so sexy and confident that I wanted to be this chick. That she was so hot and knew it, but then didn’t because she’d been with the same guy for so long she didn’t quite know how to use it (she got that down real quick, though,) was so hilarious. That her love for psychology hindered her dating life – I loved it! It left Hunter and I in hysterics. I just loved everything about Demi.

The Conflict with Demi’s ex-Boyfriend: This one made me nervous. Would enough time pass for me to believe Demi could fall for Hunter? Would too much time pass, and the pacing of the book falter? No to both of those things. There was a cooling off period for Demi (kind-of) and I felt her starting things up with Hunter happened at a believable rate.

The Camaraderie: As much as I love the steam that Elle Kennedy writes, there’s something about the camaraderie between the people she pairs up that just hits me right in the feels. Hunter and Demi had a lot of fun together, they were fun together, and their friendship was just so damn sweet.

How Much Fun These Love Scenes Are: Look, I know this author writes fun love scenes, OK? I never forget that. But even though my re-read of The Risk was like last week, I forgot how fun they are. The witty dialogue and endless teasing are sexy in and of themselves. That they are so damn steamy is just the ‘icing’ on the cake. 

The Female Friendships: This angle of the story has been knocked out of the park from book one with Summer and Brenna’s friendship, and that doesn’t change here. As soon as they meet Demi, she’s in, and I continue to love them for that. No cattiness with these girls.

Hey, hey, the gang’s all here: We get to see a lot of the people from the Off Campus series, and I, of course, loved every second we spent with them. Though I have a serious soft spot for Dean anytime he is mentioned with the girls he coaches. It’s a facet of his character that I love, and I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of it. And I love that, as always, the newest female to crash the group gets pulled right into the friend fold. Also, Rupi and Hollis were here and oh. My. God! I love them as much as ever! There’s also a particularly hilarious Jake and Brenna scene where they’re skyping that had my dying! None of the Briar U characters were left out, and I loved seeing them.

The Newbies: There are a lot of new people in this installment – Pablo and Conor were my favorites for sure, though. And I’m telling you right now, if Conor doesn’t get his book, I will be throwing a tantrum of epic proportions! (Not really…probably.) OH! And bonus points if you can spot the Sarina Bowen character in the book. That was a fun surprise.

Now Here’s What I Didn’t Like:

The Last Conflict: (Highlight for spoiler) This really pissed me off, because the last conflict in this book wasn’t even about Demi and Hunter. It was with one of Demi’s friends, and it felt incredibly shallow and contrived, and as if that wasn’t enough to frustrate me, Hunter skipped out on his hockey game because of it. (Only part of it, but he didn’t know that at the time.) This happens in books occasionally where the athlete misses the big game for the girl, and never has it rung true for me. This book was a huge show about Hunter wanting to be an amazing and responsible captain for his team, but what he did was amazingly irresponsible, and again, so contrived! I didn’t not need to see Hunter miss a game to see how much he loved Demi. I already knew that. Instead, what this did was take a 5 star book for me, and knock it down to 3.5 Because once that pissed me off, I started reflecting on this story, and I didn’t like parts of what I saw. What Hunter had to offer was prominent throughout the whole story, but when I really got to thinking, I couldn’t see what Demi was offering Hunter, aside from her smoking hot body. It felt like, throughout this entire book, Hunter was the one doing the giving, and it made me wonder why he chose Demi to be the one to finally have a relationship with. And that’s something I never want to feel at the end of a book. Now to be clear, it didn’t make me like Demi any less, I loved her character. It just made me wonder why her? I need to know that when I’m reading a book about a player giving up his player ways for monogamy.

Even with that frustration, I still loved this book. And as for whether or not you could start here? I really don’t think it matters. I think you could pick up any book in this series, and you’re going to be so hooked you have to read the entire thing. Even if you start here, you’ll go back to book one and by the time you cycle back to book three, you’ll already be thirsting for a reread. These books are just that good. Still wondering if you should read The Play? There is only one answer to that question: Yup yup.

| Rating |

Series Reading Order

20 thoughts on “ARC Review | The Play by Elle Kennedy

Add yours

  1. I think I’d enjoy her character b/c I prefer a confident person who sees who and what they are, but doesn’t exploit it. And, I really like the nice guy heroes to get their chance to shine among all the broody, tortured types. Too bad about that scene that didn’t feel genuine and soured things for you.


    1. Yes – that is a perfect way to put it about the heroine! I don’t know if I’d call Hunter a nice guy…but he certainly changed his spots just before meeting Demi.

      It’s Ok. Luckily it didn’t break the book for me. 🙂


  2. I read a few of the Off-Campus books, but I haven’t finished the series yet. Hunter sounds amazing except for the spoiler which doesn’t sound true to character. I totally agree that as a reader you need to know why this person is extra-special enough to leave player ways behind. Especially for a sports star. They have so many opportunities I need to feel like the love they found blocks out any other women for this guy. Sounds like there’s a lot of positive here, so once I’m done with Off-Campus I’ll have to give this a shot. 🙂


  3. I have read some of Elle Kennedy’s books that she co-authored with Sarina Bowen but none of the ones she wrote alone. I do want to get to this series someday. Great review!


  4. Wonderful review!!!! I didn’t read the spoiler as I still have to read it but yes Hunter can be charming 😉


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