The Heart Principle
by Helen Hoang
I love Hoang’s series that always feature a “low support needed” person the Autism spectrum and who are all interrelated. (The Kiss Quotient, The Bride Test) This time we get Michael’s cousin the bad boy (and cancer survivor) Quan. He’s dipping his toes back into dating just as Anna Sun, violinist, is told by her long time boyfriend he wants an open relationship.
The interesting thing about this relationship is that Anna, despite showing rather obvious signs such as tunnel focus, pretending reactions she doesn’t feel, etc. etc. doesn’t know she has Autism. It’s rather obvious why when we find out her controlling older sister and mother always strive for perfection.
The lovely part of this book is watching Quan teach Anna its okay to not be okay. It’s also okay to ask for things. Quan doesn’t get the depth of emotional development that Anna does in the story– he’s pretty much all in from day one and his major emotional stumbling block turns out okay. I love how the author enables both of them to have a physical relationship in the dark!
It’s Anna who goes through the emotional wringer here. She is in low place at the start of the book and things kind of only get worse as her family comes together for a crisis in a really, really unhealthy way that forces Anna to expose herself to her therapist and confront a diagnosis of Autism.
Hoang does family relationships really, really well, something I’m becoming a huge fan of in the romance– almost to the point where its just as important as the main couple’s emotional connection.
I ended up reading this at the same times as I was watchin season 2 of “Love on the Spectrum” on Netflix and it made the dating attempts of the ladies on the show that much more poignant.