Review: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

I am always here for autistic romances, especially those written by autistic authors. The Bride Test is the second book in The Kiss Quotient series and it’s a worthy sequel.

The Bride Test CoverKhai 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. (Goodreads) Goodreads

I preordered The Bride Test.

The Bride Test needs trigger warnings for extreme poverty, parents setting up romantic relationships without consent, autism-antagonistic comments from extended family members, death of a close extended family member in a car accident.

I didn’t love The Bride Test quite as much as I did The Kiss Quotient, but it’s definitely a solid romance that had me rooting for them all the way through. I wanted to throttle the people who made the antagonistic comments about Khai and emotions. This is a stereotype that harms so many autistic people all over the world. They were hard for me to read.

One of the great things about this romance is the way that when Esme learned what autism was and what it meant for Khai, she did everything she could to avoid doing things that were problems for him. It was heartening and totally in character for her.

The haircut scene and the care she took with it honestly made me cry. Haircuts are a problem for a lot of autistic people because they can be overwhelming to the point that they are physically painful. I also loved the way that Khai and his brother were together. You could feel the love they had for each other coming off the page, no matter what other people had to say.

My favorite part of this romance was the arc that Esme got. She got to do everything she wanted to do, and it was all about her family – finding her dad, finding herself and creating a home for Jade. The way it was done was beautiful.

Readers will get to see Michael and Stella, our main characters from The Kiss Quotient, but it’s readable as a standalone. You can pick up a copy from The Ripped Bodice, Indiebound, Amazon or The Book Depository.

ABOUT THE BRIDE TEST

Title: The Bride Test

Series: The Kiss Quotient #2

Author: Helen Hoang

Publisher: Berkley

Length: 296 Pages

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Rating: Recommended

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Representation: poor Vietnamese immigrant heroine

Tropes: Arranged relationship,

 

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