Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #2
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
I fell in love with The Kiss Quotient and I knew I had to get my hands on the “sequel” which also dealt with a character who is autistic. But I must say I struggled with this one more than I did the first, which sucks because it’s not a long book, but it took me longer than usual to finish.
And I have to say this…
I preferred The Kiss Quotient over The Bride Test.
There, I said it.
But that doesn’t mean that The Bride Test isn’t a good book, because it is an adorably good book, with great moments and a sweet story, but I just had so much trouble connecting with it.
But let’s get into The Bride Test. I will avoid spoilers for those who have not yet read this book, but if you haven’t read it, then please do still read at your own risk.
Khai is the cousin of Michael, our hunky male lead from The Kiss Quotient, but other than that we don’t really get any character crossovers (I think we meet Michael once if I recall correctly) and you don’t have to have read TKQ before reading The Bride Test.
Our leading lady, Esme, is this sweet and naive young woman from Vietnam who comes to America where everything is so much different, but that doesn’t stop her from going forward, getting a job, learning the language and many other things, which I think is so brave of her. Not only that, she’s also looking for her American father, but with not a lot to go on.
The duration of the book is set to 90 days throughout a summer, which is how long Esme can stay on her tourist visa. So we have a deadline for her to get married in order to be able to stay in the country. But maybe that’s not the only way she can stay, but I won’t spoil anything about that.
It’s definitely not as steamy in the romance department as TKQ was, but it has a build-up that does explode (just before you end up ripping your hair out in sheer frustration), leaving you with a giddy smile on your face.
The reason why this book didn’t get more than 3 stars from me was because of a few things. Now, I don’t know if it is because of my lack of knowledge about autism or not having read many books with characters dealing with this diagnosis, but Khai annoyed me several times throughout the book and if I were Esme, I don’t know if I could have put up with his antics like she did. There were even a few times where I thought that I’d rather have her end up with Quan because Khai’s behaviour towards her frustrated me way too much.
I think this also played a key in why it took me longer to finish than The Kiss Quotient. I didn’t connect with Esme and Khai as much as I did with Michael and Stella in TKQ. It could also be the whole “mail-order bride” storyline that I just didn’t like and how Khai’s mother kept forcing and pushing Esme on her son without properly explaining his condition to her first.
All in all, this book had its ups and downs, but I did enjoy it, though sadly not as much as I had hoped. This time the book didn’t live up to its hype, but I will still gladly and eagerly pick up the next book from Helen Hoang.
Do I recommend The Bride Test?
I do, yes. It was a cute contemporary romance.
To fans of the above-mentioned genre and to those who wants to read about characters with autism.
Have you read The Bride Test? And/or The Kiss Quotient?
Which one was your favourite?