A cute love story with autistic rep, written by an own-voices author.
- Emotional Abuse
- Sexual Assault/Rape
- Sexually Explicit Scenes
- Stalking (mentioned)
- Slut Shaming (stigmatization of sex-workers)
Stella Lane is a 30-year-old, hard-working econometrician whose parents won’t stop trying to set her up on dates and talking about grandchildren. The problem is, dating–and sex–have never held much interest for her. In fact, french kissing grosses her out and any form of sexual advance causes her to completely shut down.
When Stella’s coworker tells her that practice makes perfect, she begins to wonder if maybe he’s right. As someone with Asperger’s, maybe sex is just one of those interpersonal things that require more effort. One thing is for sure, if she’s going to learn sex, she’s going to learn it right. She does the first thing she can think of: she hires a professional.
Enter Michael Phan. Having worked as an escort for several years, Michael knows that he must always keep his clients at an arm’s length. If people get too close, things get messy. So when Stella offers to pay him to be his only client for the next few months, it only makes sense that he say no. So why doesn’t he?
Review (No Spoilers)
I know this is probably a very strange way to start of a review, but my favorite part about this entire book was the Author’s Note at the very end. In it, Helen Hoang not only shares her journey of discovering she was autistic and how this affected her life and writing, she also shares several resources that she recommends for readers to be better informed. I often don’t read author’s notes/acknowledgements at the end of books, but I’m so glad I didn’t skip this one.
Okay, story time! And by that I mean, time to talk about the story!
Stella and Michael were really cute the entire book. As much as I love hate-to-love plots, I also love reading romance novels where the two characters are good for each other from the start. I wanted nothing more than to see the two of them together and happy, even when they had miscommunications and misunderstandings.
My biggest issue with The Kiss Quotient was the fact that one of the side characters is a complete jerk the entire book and never learns his lesson. When someone is written to be as problematic as he was, I always hope that the author will use it as a teaching point for all of their readers. The world is full of terrible people like him and if one of them decides to read this book, I want them to know that the character that they identify with is complete trash. Of course, this is less likely to happen if the book doesn’t fully address it.
Aside from that, I enjoyed The Kiss Quotient more than most of the romance novels I read. As much as I really wish that the use of miscommunication/secrets would stop being used as plot points to move stories along, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. A lot of romance–including Kiss Quotient–does it and so does almost every YA book ever written. When will people learn to SPEAK TO EACH OTHER???
Anyways, I bought the sequel The Bride Test as well so I’ll hopefully be reading and reviewing that one sometime soon!