Press "Enter" to skip to content

Elle Kennedy shoots and misses with ‘Off-Campus’ series

Graphic by Audrey Garcia

Bestselling author Elle Kennedy has captured the attention of the romance world and BookTok with her “Off-Campus” book series. Kennedy brought the sequence to a close in 2021, with a fifth epilogue book to fulfill all book lovers’ dreams. 

The interconnected stand-alone series follows four college couples on their journey through trauma and loss to find love. 

The main four books have dual points of view which alternate between the main love interests. While it is not necessary to read each book to understand the rest, Kennedy always left readers wanting more.

Kennedy ropes you in with a fake dating trope between hockey superstar Garrett Graham and music major Hannah Wells in the first book “The Deal.” In their junior year of college, Hannah decides she’s ready to date after her traumatic past. She strikes a deal to tutor Garrett and they fall for each other. 

After the readers are hooked, they can follow Garrett and Hannah’s friends in “The Mistake,” “The Score,” “The Goal” and the epilogue in “The Legacy.”

Even though Kennedy grew up and lives in Canada, she has found her niche writing American love stories. Maybe that’s why the girls throughout the series wear dresses and heels to frat parties. 

Kennedy also mentions real-world celebrities such as Justin Beiber, Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift, breaking the spell of fantasy. Despite aspects of the books mirroring reality, like the setting of Boston and the mention of Broadway, there is no reason for these celebrities to exist in this fictional world. 

The first three books include third-act break-ups with parallel make-ups that are less than satisfactory. Each reconciliation is followed by very little setup for the future. Rather, Kennedy uses the few pages to leave a cliffhanger for the next book. 

The fourth book is an incredibly lethargic slow-burn. The largest conflict is resolved early, but the woman-versus-self conflict lasts the whole book. As expected, it ends happily, but it is again resolved in the last 10 pages. 

The abrupt resolutions of each book are mediocre for a bestselling author. Creating a world for readers to live vicariously through is put off by the mention of real-world celebrities. While the first book in the “Off-Campus” series may be worth the hype, the rest unfortunately are not.

Copyright © 2023, The Scout, Bradley University. All rights reserved.
The Scout is published by members of the student body of Bradley University. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University.