The Kiss Quotient & The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Contemporary adult romance
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The Kiss Quotient was my first foray into adult romance, and I have to say that it went fairly good – though my interest in the actual romance part leaves something to be desired. What I like about Helen Hoang is that she writes about autistic people falling in love, and though I usually don’t do too hot in the romance department (like, I haven’t had a crush on a real person in years), I love it because her books show autistic folks can and do fall in love, have sex, get married, and the whole shebang.
But honestly, without the inclusion of an autistic main character, I probably wouldn’t even have picked up this book. I don’t tend to enjoy romance, and I’ve never liked the Pretty Woman-esque storyline, even in fanfiction. But Helen Hoang made it work really well.
I actually didn’t relate to Stella quite as much as I’d hoped, except for the social awkwardness bit, because oh boy, you should see me in social situations. That meeting the family scene actually had me grimacing the entire time because it was such a wild disaster. Stella’s also a lot more into routine and organization than I am as well – but because I was reading this while travelling, it did make me realize that I do follow some sort of routine even if everything else is thrown off. So, yeah, books are teaching me new things about myself every day!
Honestly, the one thing I wasn’t super keen about was the sex scenes, and the fact that I didn’t really find Michael a great love interest? I felt like a lot of the romance was about looks, and that never rings true to me. I’m a slow burn type of gal.
But The Kiss Quotient is definitely a really fun, enjoyable romance that doesn’t take itself super seriously, and if you like romance, you’ll probably like this one.
I have to say I enjoyed The Bride Test more than The Kiss Quotient despite both of them being fairly good reads to me, for someone who doesn’t really do romance.
I think a lot of the reason behind me liking this better was because I related to Khai a lot more than I did Stella. See, I don’t have a whole lot of emotional affect either, and I rarely feel emotions very strongly – and Khai and I both have that going on for vaguely the same reason. It was interesting how this book dealt with grief – because autistic people can process emotions a lot differently than allistics do, and it’s good to see an ownvoices portrayal, especially because the intersection isn’t talked about too much.
I also really enjoyed Esme, who was like, super adorable, honestly, and I loved the slow(ish) burn between them and how Esme and Khai helped each other along. I felt like Esme and Khai had a lot of chemistry together. One thing is that I really wish I’d seen more about Jade, because we don’t hear a whole lot about Esme’s daughter, and I’m glad that Esme goes back to her Vietnamese name at the end. It’s so nice to see a romance between two people of colour, because I don’t feel like I see as much as I want to.
I’d definitely recommend this book, especially to fans of The Kiss Quotient and romance fans in general.
Thank you to the publisher & Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy!