The Kiss Quotient Review
I first read about The Kiss Quotient from my favorite newsletter, Girls Night In. If you don't subscribe, you're missing out. More on that later. After reading that they recommended it, I got on Amazon and saw it was on sale, two days later it was in my hands.
I started reading it poolside, but with this Texas heat wave, I only read a couple of chapters before I had to jump in. Thankfully, the water was cool, even though I could instantly feel it evaporating off my skin. That evening I was able to read a bit more and was instantly hooked.
The next morning, I woke up to my July Goodreads Romance Newsletter and saw The Kissing Quotient recommended once again, now I was far enough along in the book to understand why people are raving about it.
Stella has less experience in the dating department thank your average 30-year-old, and it doesn't help that she has Asperger's. She decides she needs the help of a professional, so she hires escort Michel Phan. She comes up with a lesson plan, and before long, she learns to appreciate his kisses and all the other things he makes her feel. Their partnership unfolds...and Stella learns love is the best kind of logic. Read a full summary here.
I'll go ahead and say this book is rated R. There's no beating around the bush with this romance novel, and it's definitely not YA. I'm not naive, with an escort being a main character, I knew this book would have some sex scenes. I just don't think I was quite prepared for how steamy they would be. Move over E.L. James, Helen Hoang has arrived.
The story line was compelling enough, but the characters are what truly make this an enticing read. Cultural representation and character diversity are things that still need a serious shift in literature, especially the romance genre. Hoang takes both on in her debut novel. Stella is Caucasian, and Michael is Vietmanese/American. Much of Michael's identity is his family's culture, traditions, and food, and Hoang is sure to paint that picture, making him a well rounded character.
Stella is autistic, a trait not often found in characters. Hoang has given a voice to a syndrome that, until her novel, had be silent in the romance genre. Stella is still relatable for those who aren't autistic, and it most certainly opened my eyes and lent some understanding to the spectrum.
It was also refreshing for the female character to be highly successful and have a career in STEM. Thin Pretty Woman and reverse the roles. So often in romance novels the success comes from the man, Hoang is breaking stereotypes left and right.
I'd give Hoang's debut novel a solid 3.5 stars. While it was a great read, it was a little too on again off again, which got old after the third time. Her next book comes out next year, and it's about Michael's brother Khai who has autism.
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