The Bride Test
by Helen Hoang
I think I just became a Hoang fan 4ever. This follow up to the kiss quotient is even better. This time, Kiss Quotient hero Michael’s cousin is the autism spectrum hero. While Khai’s inner voice seems a little….shall we say…breathless and emotionally mature at times…the bits about noise, tissue box parallel to the wall, touching firmly, seams inside out, etc. etc. make a great introduction to neuro-atypical folks for those without tons of experience. (but go ahead and watch Netflix’s Love on the Spectrum and read Tillman’s The Rosie Project for a slightly more believable autism-spectrum hero to get a bigger taste & education of range)
Khai’s mom meets a hotel cleaner in Vietnam and convinces her to come back to California with her and live for a few months with her son; with the threat of either marriage or deportation back to Vietnam at the end of their time together.
Khai is annoyed by Esme, who is trying her hardest to seduce him in her naive/differently cultured way, at first, but then grows accustomed to her half-filled glasses of water, and fish-sauce smelling soups, and constant chatter. But he believes himself to be incapable of love, especially after the trauma of not crying at this best friend/cousin’s funeral and being accused of heartlessness by an Aunt.
And Esme has familial secrets of her own that might be a deal breaker. Regardless, we get lovely scene-stealing and banter from Khai’s hot biker brother Quan, an embarassingly graphic and hiliarious three way phone call to Michael (it had been so long since I read the kiss quotient that I didn’t realize at first why Quan roped Michael into the conversation until I remembered he used to gigolo) about how to tell if a woman climaxes, and Esme slowly coming into her power as a woman unashamed of her background.
This is lovely, emotionally satisfying contemporary romance that will teach you something about the diversity of the world we live in. Love Helen Hoang.