REVIEW: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

After finding out that Spotify has an app, Spooks, where you can listen to different audiobooks, I downloaded it and chose The Kiss Quotient as my first audiobook to read. Here are my thoughts!

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After finding out that there’s an app called Spooks (now called Lismio), where you can listen to different audiobooks from Spotify premium, I downloaded it and chose The Kiss Quotient as my first audiobook to read. I heard mostly good reviews about it and so I listened to it. After I finished, I found a new love for audiobooks. This is definitely a guilty pleasure romance book, but many aspects of it take away the guilty part of liking this book.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley Books

Length: 323 pages

Content Warnings: Sexual Assault, Cancer, Ableism

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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…

Representation and #OwnVoices

Stella is the main character, who gets help in having experiences in the dating and relationship depatment. This is the first book I’ve read with an autistic protagonist! It’s especially interesting because women with autism are misunderstood, especially since they’re less likelt to be diagnosed.

Hoang, who was actually diagnosed with autism while writing the book, gave an insight on how it’s like being autistic with The Kiss Quotient and I enjoyed learning and reading about it. As well as autism representation, there is Asian representation! Michael, the love interest, is half Asian, half Swedish and we get to understand his culture too. I love reading books with diverse characters because it’s interesting seeing other perspectives of family, culture etc. Reading different books with characters who are basically the same people gets boring.

The characters

Stella is a hard worker which I really admire about her. She’s passionate about her job in econometrics, she’s well off in terms of money and you can really tell that she loves what she does. Now that I think of it, she’s the definition of a girl boss! I also love that Stella’s mum emphasised to her dad that she doesn’t need a man to “take care” of her. Stella is financially stable on her own and achieved so much that a partner didn’t need to complete her life, just add to it.

Michael is a lovely guy. I love his personality because he’s very family orientated. Pretty much everything he did was for his family and it’s so sweet. You can really tell that he adores his mum and loves his sisters. (His mum is hilarious! I laughed when she said money is better than men because honestly, mood). What’s also interesting is that he’s not as well off as Stella. He makes less money than Stella and is creative, which I haven’t seen much in books. His intentions did make me question his character but he actually addressed them near the end of the book which impressed me.

What makes Stella and Michael different from other romance book characters?

Stella and Michael were interesting characters both when they’re separate and when they’re together. Normally, when I read romance books, I’m not bothered about the personal lives of the characters, I just want to read the romance story, but The Kiss Quotient was different.

When Stella and Michael were together I couldn’t press pause on the audiobook. Their personalities bounced off each other and they understood each other (for the most part). It was funny reading the part when they first met, they were quite cringy but cute and I love that during their intimate moments they were making jokes and laughing. Although they both had their secrets and they were both flawed, it wasn’t incredibly detrimental to their relationship. It did get difficult at certain points of the book, but no relationship is perfect.

My only issue

After a certain character sexually assaults Stella (trigger warning on that, btw), Stella tells Michael that she doesn’t want to kiss him and he doesn’t take it :/ I hate when men don’t take no for an answer and it doesn’t change when the character is the love interest, it’s still unacceptable.

Have you read The Kiss Quotient? What did you think of it?

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