Book: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Genre: Adult romance, contemporary
My rating: ★★★★★
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 to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, 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…
Oh my word. This book was everything: From the adorable characters, the romance, the steaminess, and the Southeast Asian rep — this book was made for me.
I’ve been reading A LOT of YA and sometimes you just need a genre switch-up, ya know? So after hearing about the amazingness that is The Kiss Quotient, I knew this would be the book pull me out of the YA reading slump. This book will easily make my best of 2018.
The Kiss Quotient follows Stella, a very smart and successful woman with Asperger’s. Even though she has everything she could possibly want, she wants help in the dating area. And not just dating, but the things that come with it: kissing, foreplay, sex. So she hires a male escort to help her.
Michael has his own personal reasons for escorting (with very strict rules), but he’s taken an interest in Stella’s proposition. What starts out as a professional work relationship quickly blossoms into something more; and oh my gosh, I was LIVING for these moments. Not only does Stella get introduced to Michael’s adorable Vietnamese family, but she also learns so many things about love and self-love.
Aside from the swoon-worthy romance, my favorite parts were the scenes with Michael’s family. Having spent the majority of my childhood growing up in Thailand, I wholeheartedly appreciated the Southeast Asian rep in this book. Michael’s large family reminds me of my Thai family, even down to all the Vietnamese dishes. The author even uses the word magrude for the Kaffir lime leaf and like… that totally made my frickin’ day. Because I NEVER hear that word here in the US. See? It’s the little touches like this that make a POC like me appreciate a book so much. It might not be a big thing, but sometimes it’s these little things that mean the world to us.
And as an own-voices book, Helen Hoang did such a wonderful job incorporating Asperger’s into this story. I did not know much about it going in, and while I understand the spectrum can be different for each individual, I really appreciated the rep and learning about it.
I recommend The Kiss Quotient with all my soul! It is fast-paced, extremely well written, fun, lighthearted, and full of so much heart. If you read this I’d love to hear your thoughts!