Khai 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
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Helen Hoang is officially an auto-buy, auto-read, auto-pick-up-whatever-the-hell-she-releases author. I read this book in two days and couldn’t stop gushing about how much I loved the characters. I also couldn’t stop thinking about a movie adaptation of this. I hope someone gets on that soon.
Vietnamese immigrant and autistic rep
The Bride Test is the second book in The Kiss Quotient series. It’s a dual POV novel about Khai, Michael’s cousin, and Esme. Khai is autistic and he avoids relationships because he believes he’s defective. Esme is a bi-racial Vietnamese woman and a single mom working hard to provide for her family. The two meet after Khai’s mother travels to Vietnam to find the perfect bride for him so he doesn’t end up alone. She meets Esme in a hotel restroom and presents her with an opportunity to woo Khai for a summer. Esme takes her up on this offer, immigrates to the U.S. and immediately starts adding her personality to Khai’s house and life.
This was such a cute and fun story that I found even more endearing after I read the author’s note at the end of the book. I promise I teared up reading that. Khai and Esme are so adorable and refreshing to read about. I loved the writing and that, in addition to the romance, this book dived into deeper issues, which made the characters more compelling individually. I also loved the side characters and the way they helped Khai process his emotions, especially Quan. Quan is so freaking amazing and I’m ready to read all about his sexcapades in a spin-off series.
The only minor issue I had with this book was Esme’s lack of boundaries in the beginning. There were times when I felt like she didn’t respect Khai’s personal space/wishes and that bothered me. This is likely just a “me thing” and not entirely the character’s fault.
I loved this book so much that I had to make an exception from my no-half-star-rating rule to give this 4.5 stars. Highly recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, quick, and cute romance novel with diverse characters.
P.s. I did a quick video review for this book, which you can check out here on my Twitter account. Let me know if I have a future on Booktube. Lol!