Author: Helen Hoang
Page Count: 314
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Diverse, Own Voices
Blurb as on Goodreads:
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 to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, 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…
There is a lot of hype surrounding this book so naturally, I was quite nervous to pick it up. What if it didn’t live up to the hype? As it is, I don’t read much contemporary romances. What if I didn’t enjoy it as much as so many of my fellow book-lovers did? Fortunately, from the very first chapter, I fell in love.
Plot & Writing
I can’t believe that this is a debut novel! The writing is simple and easy to follow, the words perfectly chosen to express each character’s thoughts, motivations and feelings. The story is told in the third person switching from Stella to Michael’s POV and back so smoothly. Both the main characters have their own distinct voices that are reflected in the writing and narration.
She ached so badly to be held it felt like a sickness had invaded her muscles and bones.
Before going into this book, I’d had a bare minimum idea of what it means to be suffering from Asperger’s or the various forms autism can take and how these disabilities affect different people in different ways. Now i’m not an expert but I know more than I did before I read this book. And I’d just like to say kudos to the author for bringing her own difficulties and experiences to light in the story in such a fun and entertaining way for the reader.
She had a disorder but it didn’t have to define her. She was Stella. She was a unique person.
Apart from that, the rest of the plot is basically an adorable rom-com, and while I don’t usually read romantic-comedies (though I love watching them), I did love this book a lot. And I just found out that it’s being adapted into a feature film, so I AM EXCITED!
“I relax with you because of the way you treat me, because you’re you.”
The story revolves around Stella, an econometrician who actually loves her work but has issues interacting with people in social settings, and especially in getting physically intimate due to her Asperger’s though she has learned to cope in other ways. Her mother wants her to find someone, get married and have kids so Stella decides to tackle this problem logically and methodically. She ends up hiring a “specialist” i.e. a male escort with very high ratings, Michael, to teach her how to date, and more specifically, how to be good in bed.
Michael’s life isn’t going the way he’d wanted but he’s doing the best he can under the circumstances he’s in. He has other talents and dreams than escorting but he’s had to put his life on hold, and has caged himself in waiting for the situation to improve.
“Sometimes, the way your mind works is a complete mystery to me.”
I loved both these characters from the get-go for just one basic reason: they are good people. They are very different in their thinking, how they feel and see the world, how they see each other and themselves – and some similarities in how they yearn and long for things that they think they shouldn’t/can’t have. They’re both such amazing characters, each lovely in their own way.
The hero didn’t even have to win. All he had to do to get the girl was fight for her. If he lost, she’d kiss him better.
It was wonderfully educative (and hard) to read about Stella’s difficulties in trying to lead a ‘normal’ life and then come to terms with what’s her ‘normal’. Stella’s character and her whole transformation were so well done that I could only admire her brain, her heart, her will and her strength.
The same goes for Michael who tries to hide how trapped he feels in his life but is so sweet and tender with Stella, so patient and understanding and kind despite not knowing why she is the way she is. He just instinctively knows how to make her feel comfortable. Fangirling aside, it was good to see him come to terms with who he is and what he deserves. 😍
The ball of irritation in his chest loosened. He couldn’t be annoyed with her when she didn’t understand.
I really enjoyed this story – the drama, the tender, sweet romance as well as the hot, steamy scenes. It’s been a while since I read anything so raunchy and adorable at the same time – I was giggling and blushing throughout and even yelling towards the end – but it never felt out of place or too much.
“When you love someone, you fight for them in every way you know how. If you put your mind to it, her dad will come to like you. If you treat his daughter right, he’ll love you.”
“All the things that make you different make you perfect.”
Loved it!!! Incredibly well done, I learned a lot, laughed a lot, and enjoyed a LOT! I’m pretty sure this very cute, fun and sweet book will be on my list of favorite reads for this year. So excited for the film adaptation and the next book by the author, The Bride Test, which follows another character from The Kiss Quotient!
People who enjoy adorable and sexy contemporary romance about characters who feel real and steal your heart. Definitely for adults, though.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Have you read this book yet? Are you planning to? Excited for the movie? Let me know in the comments below!