"This is such a fun read and it's also quite original and sexy and sensitive."--Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author
"Hoang's writing bursts from the page."--Buzzfeed
A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...
Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Wow. WOW. The Kiss Quotient is easily my favorite romance of this year and it will definitely be on my best of 2018.
For those of you who have heard the hype for this book, it’s ALL TRUE. This is a diverse, Asian-American, #ownvoices for autism, reverse-Pretty Woman romance. It’s all of that and so much more.
Author Helen Hoang draws you into the world of Stella Lane, an econometrician (think statistics for marketing) who is devoted to her work, wealthy, extremely independent – but isn’t great with socializing or recognizing social cues. As a result, all attempts at a love life have been half-hearted dates and sexual encounters that left her extremely cold. After a coworker makes a nasty comment about how she might need to practice in order to get intimate, Stella decides to take matters into her own hands and hire an escort to help her figure out this whole dating thing.
The escort turns out to be Michael Phan, a half-Swedish, half-Vietnamese man who is desperately in need of money, but also really good at the sex thing. Their first date ends up with Stella and Michael both intrigued, and an offer on the table. Michael will give Stella lessons in how to date for an extraordinary amount of money.
It sounds like a ridiculous premise, but Hoang really makes it sing. Stella and Michael both leap off the page with their quirks and interest. Their attraction is absolutely sizzling. I don’t want to tell you too much about each of them because every detail about Stella and Michael is so beautifully unfolded by the other. It’s best to come to this book knowing very little and uncovering the story bit by bit, like the characters. I honestly haven’t read a romance this captivating and unique in a long time – it’s weeks after I finished, and I’m STILL thinking about scenes.
Aside from the leads, The Kiss Quotient is filled with secondary characters who delight and surprise. Michael’s family, particularly his mother, is super close to him, so we get to see them through Michael’s eyes as well as through Stella’s fish-out-of-water eyes. Even though I’m not Vietnamese, the way Michael’s family teases each other feels similar to the way my Chinese family interacts, and it rings very true.
And for those of you who love the steamy, sexy scenes, holy HECK is this one spicy. I haven’t blushed at a romance in a long time (call it conditioning), but this one made my cheeks hot multiple times. I love that the romantic scenes are also respectful and not in any way icky. You know what I mean. Michael is such a great lover, and Stella (and I, and multiple other readers) just swoons for him in a way that makes you want to be in her shoes. And makes you want to re-read again right after finishing.
The Final Word:
I wish I could say more about the perfect details of this book that make it soar, but honestly, I think it would be robbing you of the little pleasures of finding them out. The Kiss Quotient unfurls its story delicately and deftly, inviting readers to savour each encounter and detail. You will fall for Michael and Stella as they fall for each other. This may be a debut novel, but its confidence in its story and its writing makes it feel like a romance that has been years in the making.
Put The Kiss Quotient at the top of your TBR – you aren’t going to want to miss talking about this one with other readers right away.
THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang is out in bookstores now. Will you be reading it? Have you heard all the hype about it and are you intrigued by the premise? Have you read any other books or romances with autistic main characters? Let me know in the comments!