Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
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…
I had seen praise for this book around for a while. I had it on my TBR but hadn’t bought it yet. One day it was free (!!!!) on Amazon Kindle and I grabbed it immediately. I’m really glad because I was in the mood for romance soon after and I picked this up.
Content warning: on-page explicit scenes.
Stella Lane is a brilliant econometrician. She’s fascinated by math and patterns. Her career life is stellar, but her personal one is not. She has Asperger’s and hence doesn’t do well in social situations, like dating. She can’t even stomach the thought of kissing or being intimate.
She decides that she needs help and hires an escort. Michael Phan, the more-than-extra handsome escort she hires, accepts her offer to teach her foreplay and how to navigate sex situations.
In the process, they end up falling in love without meaning to.
My thoughts on the book:
- I LOVED Stella. I have read about characters with Asperger’s before but not as adults. She has a successful job, has managed to wade waters and make living until now. The only thing left is to fall in love, get married and have babies (the last one added only for her mother). But other than Asperger’s, she tries hard, she’s compassionate, treats everyone equally and is all-round wonderful.
- Michael Phan was adorabe. He looks like a guy from kdramas, is empathetic, understanding and patient. He also really loves his family. His dream is to have his own fashion line but ever since his mother got cancer, he dropped everything and takes care of her. He’s in the escort business for the money.
He groaned as suspicion dawned. “Don’t tell me… you’re a Korean drama fan?”
She tilted her head as a smile peeked over her lips.
“I do not look like Daniel Henney.”
“No, you look better.”
- They’re perfect for each other. You know how when you read about two characters meeting and within minutes you know that they’re going to be perfect? That’s what I had. I loved them immediately. And honestly I absolutely adored all the times they were together, especially when they began going to places so that Michael can make her comfortable with him first.
There was something novel and wonderful about being in a crowd and not feeling alone.
- I really liked Michael’s family They’re supportive, defensive, will kill anyone for each other and are tight knit.
- Also Michael is a tailor and makes brilliant clothes. I really liked that because this is the first time I’m coming across a character who is a fashion designer and isn’t gay. I’ve never seen a male fashion designer who isn’t gay in media so this is a good and welcome change. I don’t like that portrayal and expectation that all male fashion designers are in some way “feminine” and like “masculine” men.
- There’s also this small detail that I really liked. Stella liked how Michael smelled. Like, she’s totally in love with the smell. It was very adorable.
- Stella had an amazing growth in confidence. I really liked that in the end, she decided that she doesn’t have to be “fixed” and Asperger’s is a part of her.
This crusade to fix herself was ending right now. She wasn’t broken. She saw and interacted with the world in a different way, but that was her. She could change her actions, change her world, change her appearance, but she couldn’t change the root of herself. At her core, she would always be autistic. People called it a disorder, but it didn’t feel like one. To her, it was simply the way she was.
- It’s a light-hearted book that will make your heart warm. I breezed through the book pretty quickly because it did not contain a heavy-ish elements or plotline. It’s also pretty funny.
I loved it and I totally recommend it! The hype and praise are real, y’all.