I absolutely loved The Kiss Quotient from Helen Hoang last year and I’m excited to see The Bride Test come out next one. I can’t wait until everyone can get their hands on this one. Let me tell you about it.
The Bride Test follows Khai and Esme. When Khai’s mother travels to Vietnam to find him a wife, she comes across My (aka Esme) in a bathroom at a luxury hotel. Esme is a young single mom working as the bathroom attendant. After all the eligible bachelorettes failed to impress Khai’s mom, she found something interesting about Esme in that moment in the bathroom and asked her to join her in America for the summer and spend time with her kid. Esme saw this as an opportunity to go to the States, learn a little about America, and possibly find her biological father. So she goes ahead and agrees to go to the US and meet Khai.
Khai is a young dude who’s main focuses are work, working out, and avoiding everything else. He has autism spectrum disorder, which makes social interactions and most importantly dating difficult for him. When Esme arrives in America, Khai doesn’t know how to deal with his physical attraction for her let alone the budding emotions he starts to feel.
Before I begin, I want to emphasize that this isn’t The Kiss Quotient Part 2. A lot of folks asked me if the book is as steamy as The Kiss Quotient and it’s not. In fact, sex is a theme of this book as you continue to read it you’ll understand why.
Ok, I loved this book. There were a couple of pet peeves towards the end that I wasn’t a fan of, but it didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment. I will mention that the wrap up at the end is a little too convenient, but as I mentioned it didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment. I love stories like this because you’re not busy worried if the couple will stay together at the end. Instead, you can focus on the topsy turvy relationship Khai and Esme have.
But it’s so fun to read their relationship grow. First off, Khai has no idea what to make of Esme as she goes around the house hacking down trees with a meat cleaver and cleaning his bathroom to look like something out of a hotel room. While they’re both Vietnamese, there’s some obvious cultural clashing (Khai is Vietnamese-American). It’s obvious between the two of them as they awkwardly start living together and attending Khai’s family weddings (ending with Stella and Michael’s wedding from The Kiss Quotient) that they start catching feels, but keep each other at arm’s length for most of the novel. Esme tries her best not to burden Khai while he seems like he wants to be burdened. It reminded me a lot of my relationship with my husband.
The best part of this book is that it’s not just a romance. It’s the biggest part of the book so it does count for a romance, but Esme also works to find her father, expand her education, and finds she’s worth more than just a bathroom attendant. Seriously, this theme in the novel brought me to tears. She’s not trying to scheme and stay in America. She’s so humble for the opportunity and wants to take advantage of her time in America by learning English, taking classes, and bettering herself before heading back to Vietnam. I mean, she’s got obligations back at home so there’s no doubt she wouldn’t leave all that behind just to become an American citizen.
Khai also grows ridiculously throughout the novel. First off, Khai has autism spectrum disorder. This is where the anti-social tendencies come from for Khai and while Esme doesn’t understand this about him (she doesn’t know what autism is), she’s willing to accept him as he is and accepts his quirks because she likes him for him. It’s so sweet and while Khai struggles to accept his feelings for her, you see him grow throughout the novel. I honestly teared up at his confession to her. It’s probably the most Darcy-esque confession I’ve ever read.
The last thing I want to mention is read the Author’s Note. If you want to know more about why Helen Hoang wrote this novel, came up with the characters, etc, then the note will definitely answer those questions. Honestly, it solidified the great story even more after reading the note and conveying what Helen Hoang wanted to get across with this story.
Seriously, I can’t not hype this book. It’s got immigration, diversity, adversity, love and some steamy sex scenes. Most definitely pick this up if you’re a fan of The Kiss Quotient, but don’t expect them to be the same. It’s different, but in the best way.
I received a copy of this book from Berkley for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.