How little I knew how much I would enjoy this book! I can’t believe it. I’m not one for reading chick lit or women’s fiction, but I’ve seen this book around often, and its film, TV, and media rights were recently acquired by Pilgrim Media Group. Since I’m so into Young Adult literature and immersed in its world, it’s a rare thing for me to pick up a non-YA book. I’ve made a vow to myself to look outside of my circle, and this was just the perfect book to do so.
Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Release date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, romance, Women’s fiction, chick lit
Length: 323 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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…”
I devoured this book in two days. This doesn’t happen. Okay, well, it rarely happens. I’m so glad it happened with this book. It was such a treat to read as “break” from YA.
First off, a main character on the autism spectrum? A love interest whose biracial (particularly half-Asian!)? Sign me up! Maybe if I had paid a little more attention to the synopsis, I might have known it had sex scenes in it but the truth is, I didn’t really mind it. I think sex scenes can be done poorly or well, and Hoang is definitely the latter. She doesn’t used strange allusions to body parts either, which can be off-putting and cheesy to me. I absolutely melted into a puddle of goo every time Stella and Michael interacted–they are so adorable! It was comforting to read how concerned Michael was for Stella during their “lessons”, continually asking her if she was okay, if she wanted to stop. There was so much communication between the two characters except outside of the bedroom. That’s where their troubles really started.
I adored how dedicated Michael is to his family, even though we see how much caring for them puts a toll on him. I really enjoyed his family as a whole, and felt completely at home with them. The internal tension he faced trying to keep the multiple aspects of his lives separate was really heart-breaking. But then the lines start blurring together, especially in regards to his relationship with Stella. I’m super in love with the “pretend to be boyfriend and girlfriend” trope, and Hoang worked that so well–so much so that even I wasn’t sure how the story would end!
Hoang created visible, real characters. Not just with her main characters but side characters, too. But Stella and Michael connected in such a way that was smooth and easy, which came to a surprise to Stella herself. I enjoyed discovering how much she enjoyed being with Michael along with her. Hoang’s writing style was easy to follow (hence why I read it so quickly). It was altogether a joy to read this book, and I can’t wait to see what else Hoang has in store.