Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Date Published: May 30, 2018
Rating: 4/5 stars
Date read: December 14, 2020 (reread)
The Kiss Quotient follows an autistic woman named Stella Lane who hires an escort to help her learn about intimacy and relationships.
The first time I read The Kiss Quotient I was completely enamoured because not only was this my first romance with asian representation, it also featured a woman with Aspergers, and as someone who has OCD and other autistic related symptoms, it felt really great to be seen. That Stella is also in STEM, and a math related field at that, was another reason I really liked this novel. I find authors rarely feature characters who are interested in mathematics, so while Hoang didn’t delve too deeply into the topic this was still such a refreshing change.
I thought the writing of this novel was solid, nothing spectacular, but easy and enjoyable to read. I also tend to prefer a dual narrative when it comes to romance, so in that regard I was happy. I do have to wonder though, do most men swear so much in their heads? This is something I often see when it comes to romance novels and it is not my favourite. As for the characters, again, I found Stella really relatable and very sweet. And while Michael annoyed me at times, I really liked how kind, patient, and caring he was with Stella, and thought the two had really great chemistry.
This novel is not without its faults though, and what stands out to me most is the last section of the novel. I feel like I will forever be complaining about the unneeded drama that always results in the couple breaking up and then getting back together near the end of every romance novel (that I’ve picked up at least). There has literally only ever been one instance in which I’ve thought this justified and it was not in this novel. But even then, I would have been more open to this narrative choice if it had led to some legitimate character growth on at least one character’s side. Michael’s self-esteem journey in particular could have used a lot more development, especially since it was the root of the conflict. I’m not saying that self-esteem issues aren’t a thing and can’t cause issues in relationships, but I will not ever find the “I’m breaking up with you because you’re too good for me” argument compelling. I also wasn’t a fan of the possessiveness characters developed over their partners, in my first read I was willing to overlook this because I was so happy with the representation, but this second time it just made me uncomfortable. I do still consider this one of my favourite romances though, so ending aside if you’re looking for a fun and steamy romance I’d highly recommend it.
P.S. Quan is the best.
Have you read The Kiss Quotient? If not, do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading! 💗