Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Books Romance

Helen Hoang has started her publishing career off with a bang with The Kiss Quotient. This is the autistic romance I’ve waited my whole life to read as an autistic woman much like Stella.

The Kiss Quotient CoverStella 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…

Goodreads

I received an eARC of The Kiss Quotient from Berkley through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The author and I are also mutuals on Twitter.

The Kiss Quotient features a white autistic woman, Stella, and a bi-racial Vietnamese and Swedish man, Michael, as the main pairing in this stunning romance. Author Helen Hoang is also autistic, though she was diagnosed much later in life than Stella.

This needs some content warnings for severe parent illness (specifically cancer), money troubles, sex work, forced kiss by non-hero, unwanted sexual comments from coworker,  intentional sensory overload, accidental sensory overload, explicit sex, internalized ableism, and internalized shame about sex work.

The description of autism for Stella felt so real for me. Even Stella struggling to turn her brain off during sex is something that is familiar. Stella’s obsession after the break up with trying to make herself seem allistic (non-autistic) is definitely something I’ve tried to do when I was particularly frustrated with myself. But I always came back to the same conclusion.

“She could change her actions, change her words, change her appearance, but she couldn’t change the root of herself. At her core, she would always be autistic. People called it a disorder, but it didn’t feel like one. To her, it was simply the way she was.”

Most of the conflict on both sides was internal, and not communicated in a way that both parties entirely understood what was happening. It felt very real to me.

I also adored the loving portrayal of Michael’s family, particularly how he and his sisters work to care for their mother and grandmother in their age and illness, and how it affected their college choices. Stella built a legitimate friendship with his sister, Janie, bonding over their shared love of math and economics. It was beautiful to see.

I can’t say anything other than I loved this book. I look forward to seeing more of Khai and Quan in the next book, The Bride Test, which is out in January. You can pick up a copy on Amazon or Indiebound!

 

ABOUT THE KISS QUOTIENT

Title: The Kiss Quotient

Author: Helen Hoang

Publisher: Berkley

Length: 336 Pages

Release Date: June 5, 2018

Rating: ★★★★★ / Five stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Representation: autistic woman, bi-racial Vietnamese and Swedish man,

 

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