From the USA Today bestselling author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart...
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he's defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can't turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn't go as planned. Esme's lessons in love seem to be working...but only on herself. She's hopelessly smitten with a man who's convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme's time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he's been wrong all along. And there's more than one way to love.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The second book in Helen Hoang’s Kiss Quotient series is a gentle, slow-burn romance with an empathetic depiction of autism at its heart. Khai Diep’s life is perfectly ordered and exactly the way he likes it, even if he is a little lonely. When his mother meets Esme Tran, a single mother and hotel cleaner, on a trip to Vietnam, she’s convinced Esme is the perfect match for her son and invites her to spend the summer with them in California. Khai isn’t looking to be set up, but he can’t deny how Esme makes him feel. Although The Bride Test is essentially a Cinderella story, we love that Hoang depicts her heroine as strong and self-sufficient. Esme isn’t dependent on Khai’s love to find success as she earns her GED and a chance at a scholarship. Hoang, who herself is on the autism spectrum, depicts Khai’s neurodivergence with realism and compassion, making this a heartwarming and emotionally nuanced read.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved Esme. She was very strong and caring. I loved that even though she came to the US to try and marry Khai, she still focused on improving herself and she had other goals/another life outside of just Khai. I also loved Khai and his struggle with his feelings. I really hated how some of his family treated him, especially since they know he has autism. I loved how Khai got to know Esme and appreciated her. I didn’t like that he only lusted after her at first. I felt like that part went on too long but I loved when he actually started getting to know her and caring about her. I think his perception of love was very realistic especially considering what he went through with his cousin. I also think Esme’s “reveal” at the end was overlooked way too easily. I didn’t bother me or lessen my enjoyment that she kept that a secret. I just thought that it was unrealistic that there wouldn’t be even a little tension because of it. Other than that, I thought the book was great. I can’t wait for his brother Quan’s book. I feel like their Dads leaving is going to play a bigger role in his book. I hated the scene where Quan’s mom got mad and said he was “just like his father”. I feel like the mom really compares Khai and Quan and makes it seem like Quan is lacking. That’s such a hurtful thing to say/do and I feel like that really effects his perception of himself. Can’t wait to discover is story.
A little bizarre
I didn’t not like it, but the premise and some of the situations throughout the story had me scratching my head a bit haha. Maybe it’s a cultural difference I don’t understand about Vietnamese culture and traditions. Just seemed like a far stretch that a single mother would leave her daughter in Vietnam for months because some random lady asked her to try and win over her son, just by showing her his picture and then not telling her a single thing about him…?? Haha just seems so odd to me and I couldn’t really get past how bizarre that situation is.
I cannot think of a book I have loved any more. Loved it from cover to cover.