THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang

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From the publisher:

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

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…


Let me start by saying that this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It is a hot romance with a strong, intelligent female heroine and a sensitive, swoon-worthy hero. When I first heard about this book, it put me in mind of a really fun movie,”The Wedding Date.” Debra Messing hires an escort, Dermot Mulroney,  to be her date for her sister’s wedding, they fall in love and boom, happily ever after. But this book is much more than just fun.

I’ve never read a romance where the main character is autistic and it worked really well, adding depth not usually found in romances. Hoang handles it with sensitivity, grace and understanding, as she says she is also on the spectrum. Michael is a biracial escort who works for the money and for very good reasons, which slowly unfurl as we learn more about him and his family. Both of these characters are truly brought to life with all their baggage and foibles.

There is amazing heat between them as well, once Stella gets past her aversion to kissing and being touched. Michael is so gentle and patient with her and exactly what she needs. It is a real change from the usual hurry up sex and the realism of consent is beautifully illustrated here. I also loved how they each had their own challenges and helped each other – the power dynamic was constantly shifting between them, another refreshing aspect of this terrific read.

So hot sex? Check. Lots of laughs? Check. Great characters? Check. An unputdownable story? Double check! This book checks all the boxes for a great romance and really ups the ante. I can’t wait to see what Hoang does next. Don’t miss it.

NOTE: This book is getting a ton of well-deserved press because of the dearth of romances that deal with minorities and disabilities. Some interesting articles:

The Changing Face of Romance Novels

In ‘The Kiss Quotient’, Helen Hoang uses writing to process her Autism diagnosis

‘The Kiss Quotient’ By Helen Hoang Is The Hottest Romance Of Summer — And Its Main Character Is Autistic

A Very Personal Love Story: PW Talks with Helen Hoang

Helen Hoang On The Kiss Quotient And Her Autism Journey

7/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang. Sourcebooks Landmark (July 3, 2018).  ISBN 978-1492670131. 416p.

Kindle

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