Kindle Edition, 336 pages, Published June 5th, 2018, by Berkley
Rating – 4/5
Stella is a thirty-something, rich, single, autistic woman, and a data geek. She has the amazing superpower of crunching data to provide fascinating insights into customers’ buying behavior. However, she hasn’t had any success in relationships. So, she devises a brilliant idea. Why not practice with a professional who can teach her how to be a seductress. So, she hires Michael, a part Vietnamese, part Swedish male escort who can’t turn down Stella’s offer. Voila! A romance novel is born. Ahem! Love takes root.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang is a refreshingly unique take on the girl-meets-boy tale, making this more than just a superficial love story or erotica. Sure, there are titillating parts, but it also features a romance that tugs at your heartstrings. The story is remarkable and the execution phenomenal.
The protagonists are hands down, the best thing I liked in The Kiss Quotient. Here the girl is autistic but doesn’t think less of herself due to her disorder. She is well-established in her career as an econometrician. The boy is a male escort and has an Asian background. By featuring characters from diverse backgrounds, Hoang turns the tables on a conventional romance tale and produces a thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating novel. Consequently, I completed the book in two days straight.
Kudos to Hoang for not treating her unconventional protagonists as mere caricatures. She has deftly handled an autistic heroine. I could relate to all of Stella’s quirks. Further, I genuinely loved the banter between the protagonists. I appreciated how Michael slowly and lovingly peeled away Stella’s layers of insecurities and gained her trust. Moreover, Michael’s and Stella’s sizzling chemistry put the pages on fire.
However, The Kiss Quotient has its weak points. One of them is weak supporting characters. For instance, Stella’s father was initially supportive of his daughter’s choices. But in his later appearance, he comes off as a dense man oblivious to Stella’s wishes. Further, every time Michael’s family hogged the limelight, I was impatient to get that part quickly out of the way. It has a happy ending; however, I didn’t like that Michael’s and Stella’s problems evaporated in a whiff. Lastly, the writing isn’t banal, but isn’t worthy of winning the Pulitzer prize either.
Nevertheless, Helen Hoang’s debut novel The Kiss Quotient is undeniably engaging and can be devoured in a day, if life doesn’t get in the way. I highly recommend it to all romance fans.
Have you read The Kiss Quotient? What did you think about this novel? Let me know in the comments below.
Image sourced from Amazon.in.
The review is also posted on Goodreads.