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The Kiss Quotient #2

The Bride Test

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (2019)
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.

296 pages, Paperback

First published May 7, 2019

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About the author

Helen Hoang

6 books47.2k followers
Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 18,316 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews · 294k followers
May 7, 2019
He was ignoring everyone, including her, at this expensive wedding. So he could read a novel about alien demon things.

My soulmate!

I am going to share this again closer to publication, but after my experience with The Kiss Quotient and how it quite literally changed my life, I just couldn't wait to read this. And I gave a lot of thought to my rating. Five stars for a cute smutty romance? Really? But these books are very special to me and I think, deep down, they are actually a lot more than cute smutty romances.

The Bride Test is about Khai, Michael's cousin in The Kiss Quotient. He is Vietnamese-American, autistic, and believes himself to be incapable of the emotions that matter. Like grief. Or love. His overbearing but lovable mother decides to take action and find him a wife from Việt Nam.

That's where Esme Tran comes in. After getting pregnant young, she now desperately tries to support her daughter in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City. She's mixed race, and has long wanted to go to America to find her father. When Cô Nga offers to pay for her visa and trip to California in exchange for her trying to seduce Khai, she takes the opportunity.

Khai and Esme are fully-fleshed out and adorable characters. Khai is geeky and obsessive, but as we would expect from an ownvoices author, it does not come across in a faux-quirky way. His struggles and passion for his few interests are so genuine. Quân is also a real source of hilarity in this book; the dynamic between him and Khai makes for some very entertaining parts.

On the surface, Hoang has returned once again to sexual and romantic relationships where one character is autistic. Khai is not a reincarnation of Stella from The Kiss Quotient but is very much his own person, and ASD affects him in unique ways. Esme must respect his boundaries, just as falling for her is a learning experience for him. The way these books bring sexiness to consent and mutual respect is wonderful. And HOT.

But I said "on the surface" because there's more to this story as well. Trust me when I say the author's note is an absolute must-read. The Bride Test is a sweet, cute, sexy and funny romance, but it is also the story of an uneducated Vietnamese immigrant coming to the United States. This aspect is loosely-based on Hoang's mother's experiences, and it is the tale of an incredibly brave woman defying the odds and clawing her way up from almost nothing.

Helen Hoang is making important waves, one sweet sexy romance novel at a time.

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ARC provided in exchange for honest review 💍
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews · 112k followers
May 29, 2021
I really enjoyed Hoang’s first book, The Kiss Quotient, but unfortunately The Bride Test didn’t hit the same for me. I didn’t think the characters have chemistry or a genuine connection with each other, and they were both too passive to the point where the plot moving forward was dependent on the side characters pushing them. Even the setup itself, with the main guy’s mom literally flying in a woman from out the country to make her live with him so that they could marry, was too much for me.

While I appreciate the autism rep, it seemed like the only way for their miscommunication issues to be resolved was for the side characters to step in and spell everything out for them. I wish both leads had more of an active role in resolving their relationship issues, as well as give us an understanding for why they fall for each other in the first place (other than the main guy literally describing the main girl as having a “porn star body” and gawking at her figure right when they met). There’s also potential for the story to go deeper with portraying the immigrant experience, but much of the process became a sugarcoated American-dream-come-true. Overall, the story was too simplified and easy for me to be invested, without enough reasons for me to believe this couple is meant to be together.

One of the side characters (the main guy’s brother) was the standout of this novel, and he wasn’t even the lead - so I definitely think I’ll enjoy his story much better when it’s his turn in the next book.
Profile Image for Roxane.
118 books · 157k followers
January 3, 2020
I like Helen Hoang’s writing and how she writes romantic stories about different kinds of people. I loved loved loved The Kiss Quotient and had high hopes for her second novel. Overall, The Bride Test is fun. Hoang is a great storyteller. I loved the characters she created here. Khai, Esme/Mÿ were compelling as were their families. The sexy parts were sexy. There were interesting tensions throughout the novel. Esme was a particularly admirable character because she had a clear sense of self and what she deserves. Very refreshing to see that in a romance novel. At times the story did falter with narrative threads that were not fully fleshed out and then the ending comes so fast and everything wraps up a bit too neatly. All that said, I highly recommend this book. It’s a fun read with substance and great writing.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,169 reviews · 98.2k followers
May 8, 2019

ARC provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.

“It felt too big. At the same time, it didn’t feel like enough.”

The Bride Test is the most anticipated sophomore novel from Helen Hoang, AKA: the goddess who we do not deserve and who gifted us The Kiss Quotient! And this book is following a couple of characters who we originally met in that debut! I didn’t love this installment as much as I did The Kiss Quotient, but I still think that this book is a treasure and that Helen Hoang is a gift to the world.

And like The Kiss Quotient, this is an ownvoices novel, Helen is Vietnamese and is Autistic. And one of my favorite things about this book is seeing the difference of Stella, from The Kiss Quotient, and the main character of this book’s Autism. I think people just like to group marginalized people together and act like their experiences are all the same, and this author does such a wonderful job at truly showing the Autism spectrum and how vast it truly is. This book has a completely different Autistic main character, because everyone’s experiences are different, and I truly loved it more than I have words to express in this review.

Khai Vietnamese, Autistic, Michael's cousin from The Kiss Quotient, living in California, and completely happy being on his own, especially after losing someone very close to him when he was younger. Even though that loss has made him think that he is incapable of love.

Esme - Biracial (Vietnamese and white), living in Vietnam as a cleaning woman, when Khai’s mom travels there to try to see if she can find a woman who would be compatible with her son. And Esme accepts because she is a single mom, living in poverty with her own mother and grandmother, and she thinks this is an opportunity to give them and herself a better life. Khai’s mother promises her a summer in California, where she can see if she can make Khai fall in love with her and marry her, but if not, she will return back to her family.

But with this set up, the power imbalance always is at the forefront. I always was questioning Esme and her feelings, because she has so much at stake. Also, Esme doesn’t tell Khai about her daughter for far too long, and that also felt extremely bad to me. And it’s always hard for me to root for a romance that is founded on a power imbalance and then also have it harboring such a big secret, especially after the two individuals are choosing to have sex. Now, I will say that the author does such an amazing job at putting consent at the forefront of this story constantly, yet I still could never find my footing on this shaking ground. And because of this, I can’t give this more than four stars.

I will say that, besides always putting consent at the forefront, this story has a lot of other amazing elements. Like, just seeing Esme in a foreign country, doing whatever it takes to make a better life for her loved ones, and seeing her getting the education of her dreams, I am soft and so happy. My favorite part of this book was easily the acknowledgements, where Helen really shares about her personal life and her mother’s personal experience being an immigrant and coming to American in search of a better life. I shed so many tears at how beautiful and powerful these final words were, and it truly was the cherry on an already amazing ice cream sundae.

Also, much like The Kiss Quotient, the family in this book is everything. Quan plays such a major roll in this story, and honestly was the shining light for me. And I am counting the days until we get his book next!

But this is a story about loss and love, yet also healing and becoming the person you want to be, no matter the circumstances. We get to see both Khai and Esme dealing with their own traumas, and healing separately, but we also get to see them building something really beautiful together; a future where they can be accepted and happy. And seeing them realize they were worthy of that love and acceptance all along? So damn beautiful.

“My heart works in a different way, but it’s yours.”

Overall, I just love being in Helen Hoang’s world. From the important elements and themes, to the beautiful diversity and inclusion, to some of the steamiest and most romantic scenes ever, these books are just really easy to fall in love with. I hope she never stops writing, and I hope Berkley signs her for five more books after these five, because she is a gift to the world.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for depiction of grief, talk of loss of a loved one, abandonment, and some talk of one’s body/body issues that I think could potentially be a little triggering.

Buddy read with Kathy from Kathy Trithardt & Julianna at Paper Blots! ❤️
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,727 reviews · 6,663 followers
July 2, 2019
The Bride Test is the second installment in Helen Hoang's collection of adult romance standalones titled The Kiss Quotient. As opposed to many other readers, I personally enjoyed The Bride Test much more than its predecessor. Hoang continues to be inclusive with a high-functioning autistic primary character. Subtle education about this amazing population shatters ignorant stereotypes as we witness internal processing, growth, and love. Yes, love. Doesn't it look and feel different to us all regardless of so-called limitations? A theme related to immigration in this book shows true limitations and puts things in perspective.
"How did you change your life when you were trapped like this? Her history didn’t define her. Her origins didn’t define her. At least, they shouldn’t. She could be more, if she had a chance. But people didn’t see who she was inside. They didn’t know. And she had no way to show them without an opportunity."
Well-done, again, Ms. Hoang. This will be a re-read for me for sure. Check it out!

My favorite quote:
"...and sometimes one person could make a world of difference."

Thank you to the following for permitting me access to a digital review copy (DRC) of The Bride Test. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing.
Author: Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
On Sale Date: May 7, 2019

Note: All quotes were checked against the final, published edition.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews · 18.3k followers
September 19, 2021
“I’m not lonely. I like being alone.”

So, it’s a bit awkward when you go from rating a book 5-stars to downgrading it to anything less than. The re-reading experience for this book was slightly different than the first one I had.

I reread books all the time. Rarely does it happen when my experience of it changes. Usually my feelings toward the book intensifies. I can’t say that was the case with this story.

My issues mainly occurred during the first 100 pages or so. They were slightly jarring. I didn’t emotionally connect to the characters and I don’t know how I did in the first place.
I was bored, it was too fast-paced and the characterisation somewhat underdeveloped.

Esme was constantly being sexualised and referred to as a playboy bunny of sorts, Khai could not get his dick down, and it wasn’t even done in a tasteful or sexy way, it just read… weird! And it was off-putting. Cringy. There was no flow or chemistry between them and I’m not sure whether this was done purposely, due to Khai being on the spectrum and being so emotionally closed off. But I could not get invested, it took me out of the story and I was on the verge of quitting.

I’m glad I didn’t though. As I read on, my heart started warming up to the story again. Helen Hoang is telling stories that need to be heard and at the back of my mind, that’s what I was thinking about and that’s what kept me going.

I still find it underdeveloped though. There was room for more and I wish certain aspects were explored and expanded upon. The story would’ve read fuller to me.



Helen Hoang is becoming such an important part in my own bookish world to me. She writes romance stories that matter, that mean something, are personal and are a treat to read at the same time.

This story was such a delight. There wasn't one part about this book that I disliked. I loved getting to know the characters, why they were the way they were and how their circumstances shaped them. I couldn't get enough and I never wanted this story to end. I'm still craving more!

It was informative because my knowledge on autism is abysmal. But whilst I was reading about Khai I was learning about how he views the world and interacts with it.
Esme is of a mixed background, who comes to the US from Vietnam and seeing how she embraced and fought through the challenges of being an immigrant was so incredibly admirable.

There’s so much more to all of this. And then their love story started forming through it all... don't get me started. It was everything that it needed to be.

I so appreciated that their actual Vietnamese names were used, how the culture was infused because it brought such authenticity and realness to the story and its characters. It was their truth.

I want more of these types of novels. More of these types of stories told and Helen Hoang is really setting the standard for this.

Just a side note, the Author's Note is just as valuable as the actual story. I think we tend to skip this a lot, but this adds such great insight to why Helen Hoang wrote this book. It was moving.


Look what has arrived on me kindle! Guess what I'll be doing at work?
Profile Image for Cristiina♡Reads.
574 reviews · 3,304 followers
May 8, 2021
A romance with characters that express so much more than just physical attraction, but also grasps the heart of the reader with the tender emotions that are portrayed...

Once this beauty landed in my hands, I knew that there was no backing down of putting everything to the side and start it. That's what Helen Hoang does to you once you get a small glimpse of her writing. I remember last year how hesitant I was about reading The Kiss Quotient because of all the hype and love it kept getting. When it comes down to novels that are hyped too much, I like to back away from them and maybe read them in a month or so once the hype calms down. Thank the heavens I didn't, because I would have never encountered upon Helen's marvelous and unique way of putting so many in depth emotions to the page. I would have never gotten to understand, that even individuals whom may be different in some way, socially, physically, emotionally... anyway. There is still a fighting chance of finding love, cherishing that love, and grasping it for dear life. That's what Khai has demonstrated in this compelling romance novel that will have you running for more tissues.

In my reviews, I really don't like to talk about the story plot of the characters. I like to focus on the way the story plot comes to be and how it changes my mind and mood. Helen does so by implying this new character, in which we came across in The Kiss Quotient during Stella's and Michael's story. Khai. That intriguing and mysterious autistic young man, that had picked my interest from that small glimpse we got of him. His way of living is structured, has a routine that he follows every single day and should not be tempered with. From the point of view of his family such as his mother, brother Quan (whom shall be brought up in a moment), and his sister Vy (whom shall also be brought up in a moment...) he is a simple man who enjoys his lifestyle as an accountant, takes his shoes off once he arrives to his two bedroom home and enjoys the feeling of his old carpet against his feet. It's the little things that one would not be able to understand why they are so important in which in that unique side of him, his extended family never understands. Emotions is something that Helen touches a lot when it comes to Khai. He does not come to a realization that, even though he states he cannot comprehend emotions in general; anger, happiness, sadness, disappointment, and love—he truly is a strong human being whom expresses all those feelings.

That's when Mỹ, aka Esmeralda, aka Esme comes along. A twenty-three year old young lady from Việt Nam whose dreams had to take a pause because life came in the way. Supporting her mother, grandmother, a special someone who shall not be named for the sake of spoilers, is what Mỹ had been doing before she encountered upon Khai's mother whom was looking for a bride for him. She is instantly drawn to Mỹ and offers for her to come to the states for the summer and try to seduce her son, Khai. Mỹ of course has to think about it because she has to support her family. But after a very thorough decision, she decides to accept the offer and goes to the states to try and make Khai fall in love with her.

At first, meeting Esme with the circumstances he was put in by his mother, is not something Khai is pleased with. She moves in with her, but he is also instantly drawn to her natural beauty. Her eyes captivate him in the best of ways, making his body react in ways that have never acted before. The attraction is there and it's beautiful to read that a gentleman such as Khai, whom does not believe he can ever love anyone, expresses these feelings towards Esme;
"Strange, incomprehensible, beautiful woman. She said the funniest things and smiled all the time. His fingers itched to touch that smile, and he sipped away out of self-preservation..."

Weeks pass and Esme and Khai learn how to adequately be with each other. That does not stop Khai's body from acting in a non-gentleman way of course. Which I find so endearing to read from the third point of view. He knows he cannot deny that attraction, but he also knows that he shouldn't act upon it;
"She was already a song that payed on endless repeat in his head. If he started having sex with her, this thing would escalate into pure addiction, and what the fuck would happen when she left at the end of the summer?"

Once feelings expand, that's when the struggles begin to form for Khai. Things take a turn when Esme comes across wanting to have a life in America, a life in which she can set as an example for her next in kin. Her dreams come back to life and want to expand and explore everything that is out there for the world to offer to her, but she knows that if she doesn't fight she will not get far. That includes Khai's love towards her as well.

Overall, as previously mentioned... Helen has created a story that has truly gasped my heart and pierced it with her words. It made me cry, made me giggle, and made me swoon over the love and admiration Khai has towards Mỹ. Stories such as this one are not found very often and that's why they need to be cherished in the best of ways. Thank you so much to Berkley for being so generous with this advance copy. And as previously mentioned, Quan and Vy better come next. Vy's story should be mysterious to read because we really don't know much about her. But Quan however... **sighs** he is the rugged brother, with sexy tattoos that will have me drooling over him once Helen writes his story... that's IF she does it... **wink wink Helen Hoang**

ARC galley kindly provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review...

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Profile Image for Christy.
3,814 reviews · 32.4k followers
July 12, 2022
5 stars

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The Bride Test proves that Helen Hoang is not a one hit wonder, ya’ll. This one was so good! Did I love it as much as The Kiss Quotient? Not quite, but that was a really tough act to follow. Still, it was wonderfully written, delightful, and swoony.

If you’ve read TKQ, you know Khai, who is Michael’s cousin. His mother is a bit bossy and wants him married. She knows how Khai is and knows he will never go after a woman on his own, so she finds the perfect girl for him while visiting Vietnam.
“I chose her for you when I went to Việt Nam. You’ll like her. She’s perfect for you,” she said.

“I don’t—You can’t—I—” He shook his head. “What?”

“Yeah,” Quan said. “That was my reaction, too. She got you a mail-order bride from Vietnam, Khai.”

"Why do you say it so it sounds so bad? She's not a 'mail-order bride'. I met her in person.”

Esme comes from Vietnam to America for a new life. She is strong, brave, and wants better than what she has. She’s nervous and hopes that Khai will like her. She doesn’t know english well and it’s hard for her to adjust at first. Khai doesn’t make it easier for her… it’s not on purpose, it’s just his way. But no matter how Khai acts, Esme is patient with him.
He always expected her to turn him away, but she never did. It was a heady thing, her acceptance.

Khai and Esme living together was something else. Khai just doesn’t know how to live with a woman. And as their relationship progresses, things get really confusing for Khai. He doesn’t know how to express his feelings and he thinks he can’t feel certain emotions, even though its obvious he can and he does.

Helen Hoang is a gem. She’s an author who writes what she knows and does it so well. I respect her and love her words. I love so much that her characters have obstacles to overcome and are flawed. They’re real and I can appreciate that. I don’t always want to read a romance with a perfect hero or heroine, that’s not real life. Hoang seamlessly gives us the best balance of realness mixed in with just a little bit of that fairy tale love story.

Khai and Esme completely charmed me. Sometimes two people so different can be perfect for one another. That is them. Khai is autistic, and I loved that he wasn’t a carbon copy of Stella. He had his issues, but he was so lovable. I loved how sweet and determined Esme was. She didn’t want Khai for his money, she just wanted him. Yes, she was fighting for a better life for herself and her daughter, but she grew to truly care for Khai. Their romance was a slow burn and it was great watching it grow.
She didn't need a rich man. She just needed someone who was hers.

The Bride Test is a book you don’t want to miss out on. I laughed, I cried, I smiled and I had so many feels! And I just want to put it out there, I want a Quan book so badly! He was the absolute best in this book! This story was all consuming, heartwarming, and the best kind of romance! I can’t wait for the next book in this series, I’ll be reading anything and everything Helen Hoang releases!!
Warm. Content. Safe in his arms. Him safe in hers. She hugged him tighter. He was bigger and stronger, but she would protect him with everything she had.

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Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,199 reviews · 40.7k followers
July 9, 2022
Four compassionate girl loves boy loves girl stars!

I loved this book! I love Khai and My/ Esme’s story more than Michael and Stella’s story! Their story is sexier, more passionate, more real, poignant, genuine and emotional.

Khai might think he is out of feelings, he cannot connect with people, it’s impossible for him to love someone. Well, it’s so wrong ! Because from the beginning even he resists to change and he is irritated to live with Esme, blaming her push him out of his comfort zone, he easily starts to connect with her. At first his all feelings are sexual but as they continue to spend time together, he slowly peels himself from the layers he kept to hide himself from outside world and his walls start to crumple with the patience, smile and friendly attitudes of Esme.

Khai might be suffer from autism but he tries to undermine what he did wrong and he never wants to hurt Esme. He tries his best to make her happy which makes him sweet, loyal, good hearted, lovable hero!

I cut the points because of Esme’s first dubious and calculated moves, at the first time he meets with Khai. I can understand she loves her child, she has her own American Dream and she gave her word to her mother for seducing Khai but she tried to act like another person to take his attraction.
I can understand she keeps her cleaning job as a big secret because she was so ashamed and she wanted to be desirable and strong so Khai could love her! But she keeps her child as a secret till the end which really disappointed me!!!Because the real relationships depend on trust.

And other disappointment was her marriage attempt with Quan! I know she wants to stay at the states for giving better opportunities to her child but still she should have found another solution. She shouldn’t have accepted to make fake marriage with her love of her life’s brother! Because there was a slight chance that Khai might have done nothing to stop them. So it was risky move!
And also her real father’s appearance on the wedding at the last minute was full of cliche. Just like Khai’s last second arrival to stop the wedding!

As a summary, I loved this couple, I loved their love story , their chemistry, their compassion. This is sweet, sexy, captivating book! In my option Ms Hoang’s writing is getting so much better with each book she creates.

I think she owes Quan his own book! I wish she chooses to write a sequel for him. I cannot wait to read that!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,534 reviews · 32.5k followers
July 7, 2019
my initial reaction after finishing this was to gush about how cute the story is. i love, love, love the diversity of characters and the autism representation. i absolutely adore khai with every fibre of my being and seeing him grow was such a rewarding feeling.

that being said, i couldnt ignore a tiny nagging poke at the back of my brain. after taking some time to think about it, im not quite sure i adore this as much as i thought i did. i still love khai and i think his character is someone who desperately needs to be written in the book world, but its how everyone else acted towards him that i didnt like. i felt like they were being extremely manipulative when it came to khais feelings and getting him to marry. i get that sometimes people need an external push to get them out of their heads, but i thought the story tried to showcase that manipulation in a positive, if not loving, way?

i dunno. im kind of conflicted about it. might change the rating back to 4 stars if i decide its not as problematic as i currently think it. :/

3.5 stars
February 13, 2022
I AM SPEECHLESS!!!!!! this book was EVERYTHING WHAT??? The way everyone only hypes up The Kiss Quotient (well deserved) but forget about this MASTERPIECE??? a crime!!!!! There was not a single moment of this book that didn’t have me by my neck. I loved the writing and I had butterflies the entire time. Khai quickly became one of my favorite book boyfriends ever???? and Esme was a whole ✨ accountant ✨ queen! I could quite literally talk about this book all day so lemme end this before I overdo it.

Also.. Quan???? He already fully has me and I haven’t even read his book yet.

“my heart works in a different way, but it’s yours.”
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,401 reviews · 11.7k followers
May 31, 2021
Still good (I cried), but the dynamics of this relationship are not my fave. Also, I have to say it again, not enough smut, especially compared to Hoang's other two books.
I am not going to up this to 5 stars. I mostly agree with my old review - this book needs about 100% more smut in it. And this time around the whole immigrant story line made me extra anxious and sad (Even though I find that immigrant experience here is portrayed in a sugar-coated way. It is 10 times harder to get through the process in real life. Been there, done that.)

Another thing is, this novel made me real thirsty for Quan's book, with 7 MORE MONTHS OF WAIT LEFT. Story of my life...

Original review

More serious, less smutty, equally sweet, compared to The Kiss Quotient.

So, mail-order bride scenario in romance is not exactly my idea of a good time. (And neither was a male escort one in The Kiss Quotient). But what Helen Hoang undoubtedly has a talent for is creating characters that are kind and empathetic.

Esme is recruited by Khai’s mom to seduce and marry him, so that he finally can have someone to be with. He is on the spectrum, and isn’t good at relationships, for obvious reasons. Now, this can go wrong in many ways, but Khai’s mom is super nice and truly believes Esme is the best match for her son. Esme isn’t exactly a seductress, but a goofy girl with a big heart (and some mistakes in her past). And Khai believes himself incapable of feeling emotions.

I feel like The Bride Test is a weightier, more serious work. Hoang draws on her parents’ immigrant past, adding a big dose of realism to this romance, but not exactly going all the way there, it is a smutty romance after all. Esme and Khai’s personal journeys are more real too, and so are their problems.

I liked The Bride Test a lot, and inhaled it in a matter of hours. I didn’t like it quite as much as The Kiss Quotient, because apparently I like fantasy scenarios more than real ones. And I clearly prefer a lot of smut too. Esme and Khai’s relationship is a steamy one, but I would have preferred it... even more so. The book has the sexiest haircut scene though. It’s amazing how arousing a conversation about boundaries and sensory sensitivity can be! @.@ And when Khai and Quan and Michael are in a different scene together, it’s a total riot! You are in for a treat.

Now, more wait for the next Helen Hoang romance. I don't know what it is yet, but I hope it’s Quan’s turn.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
793 reviews · 12.4k followers
April 15, 2019
Ugh. No. Not for me.

So many issues, so little time.

I appreciated the author’s note at the end.

I’ll just leave it that.

I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews · 19.3k followers
May 7, 2019
Helen Hoang has done it again! Similarly to The Kiss Quotient, this perfectly balances a mix of charming romance and deeper topics and I loved the heck out of it. The only thing that really kept me from giving this a full 5 stars was the weird power imbalance between Khai and Esme. I never doubted them or their feelings for each other, but it did just feel a little weird as a reader knowing the stakes and the secrets that were being kept behind the scenes. With all that being said I still HIGHLY recommend y'all check this out and I cannot wait to read a million more books from Helen in the future!
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews · 1,596 followers
June 20, 2020

Many thanks to Berkely for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

This is one of my favorite books that deals with mental illness! To see the others and to here me ramble about my brain, watch my video, A Brief Trip Inside My Mind!

Everyone deserved to love and be loved back. Everyone. Even her.

Is this what heaven is like? For the first time in -Checking... - six months, my little shriveled soul got a little less shriveled. This book grabbed my heart, tied it to a fan and took it for a wild and emotional ride that left me feeling tired yet happy.

So, what’s this book about?
The Bride Test follows Esme, a Vietnamese young woman who is brought from Vietnam to the United States by a woman who is trying to find a wife for her son. Esme only agrees to come because she wants to get a citizenship there so she can properly take care of her daughter and mother. She spends her time trying to seduce and flirt with Khai who admently is not having it. But, bit by bit, he starts to fall for her.

Esme - Esme is a biracial (White/Vietnamese) woman who lives in Vietnam. She is just a simple cleaner who is trying to make ends meet for her and her daughter, Jade. Until a strange woman gives her a even stranger proposition. She wants Esme to come back with her to the United States to marry her son but I’ll go into that --plotpoint later. Now, I’m not 100% sure that Esme is autistic because it is never explicitly said so even though it is implied. (Edit: It was said that Khai is the one with Autism and somehow I missed that. Whoops!) I’m really glad that more and more books are being published that are breaking down the walls of stigma around autism and mental illness in general. Something people can forget is that having Autism doesn’t mean your broken, it just means your different. I have severe ADD/ADHD but I am (as my family has said) very smart. My brain just works in a different way. Autism or not, I absolutely loved Esme. She was just so bubbly and snarky. If anyone was a human incarnation of a sparkler, Esme would be it.

Khai - Khai was so attractive yet so f**king infuriating at the same time. He “has no feelings” which is, in fact, a part of the way his autism works. Now, I am not belittling the pain of those who struggle with depression or autism. I had a bout of depression for about six months but I was lucky enough to find a medication that helped. Therefore, I know how painful it is to feel nothing which is why I was so frustrated by Khai’s antics. The fact that he was so, well, stupid about his own feelings was just. Ugh. In spite of that, I did not hate him. No, I related to him so much that it made my heart hurt. I know exactly what it’s like to push people away. Not only for self protection. Some people see antisocial people as selfish when they’re usually trying to protect others. Khai, like me, is so afraid that he would hurt other people that he just pushes them away and, ironically, ends up hurting them. If there was ever any human who deserved a hug and a good therapist, it’s Khai.

I think that one of the best parts of Helen Hoang’s writing is that each book has an integration of mental illness, specifically Autism. Now, I don’t have much Autism so it was a pleasant surprise to learn a little more about it. I do wish that the topic had been delved into a little more as I suspect that I am probably somewhere on the spectrum and it would have been helpful to here about it from someone who has experienced it for a while.

But the romance was the selling point for me. I really enjoyed the relationship between Esme and Khai. Mainly, because it was so dynamic and realistic. They were constantly switching back and forth between hatred and love; lust and disgust. Even though it did feel a bit insta-lovey, I really enjoyed it.

I think one of the biggest things from The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test was the sex scenes. Everyone was so pleasantly surprised by the hotness and intimacy of them. I was no exception. I have read my fair share of romance but I was not prepared for all the details that were shared in this book. Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan, at first. Partly, because I’m gay and straight stuff sex scenes just aren’t enjoyable for me but also because it made me feel very uncomfortable. I am able to enjoy steamy scenes when they’re just male/male but for some reason, when there is a woman mixed in, it just makes me feel awkward. That said, I did get used to them but still didn’t overall enjoy them. But for those of you who do, this book is for you.

One thing I want to note really quickly is one of the main plot points. I don’t mind enemies-to-lovers romance. I don’t mind meet cutes. But what I can’t stand is manipulation. I really hated how Khai’s mother basically forced him into something he wasn’t comfortable with. She was so intrusive and rude it just drove me crazy.

Finally, I just loved the raw emotion this book made me feel. I was either laughing, crying or sobbing the entire time.

Bottom Line:
5 Stars
Age Rating [ R ]
Cover: 5/5 ~ Characters: 5/5 ~ Plot: 5/5 ~ Audio: ⅘
Genre: Romance
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Standalone: Yes
Best Format: Paperback

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Profile Image for exploraDora.
541 reviews · 256 followers
December 23, 2020
***2 unsatisfied stars***

I almost feel bad for leaving a negative review for this book, but... After reading and absolutely loving The Kiss Quotient, this follow-up turned out to be a huuuuuuge disappointment. I only powered through because this is a bookclub read. Had it not been, I might have DNF'd it.

The plot: Khai is Michael's cousin (from The Kiss Quotient). He is a successful bachelor and he's autistic. He's also old enough for his overbearing mother to be worried that he's never been in a relationship, so much that she is determined to find him a bride from Vietnam.

Esme is a maid in the hotel where Khai’s mom stays and as fate would have it, they make a deal - Khai’s mom will get her to the States if Esme is willing to seduce/woo and eventually marry Khai. Because Esme is a single mom to a little girl, she accepts so she can offer her daughter a better future.

Here's what I didn't like:

1. The main characters didn't have any chemistry beyond their sexual attraction. I feel like there were very few scenes (if any, really) where they actually talked to get to know each other, or have any real understanding of each other beyond the physical. Khai is, obviously, VERY attractive and so is Esme. Khai gets a hard-on for her the first moment he sees her and doesn't seem to care about much else. She is pretty much there to seduce him so she can get a green card, but miraculously falls in love with him, although he's a dick to her over and over again.

2. The sex scenes don't happen until half way through the book, and when they do they're brief and... awkward. I cringed every time.

3. There isn't enough dialogue. It seemed like the characters refused to just talk to each other. They encountered so many misunderstandings, which could have easily been avoided or resolved by communicating.

4. We're told that Esme is a charming and bright woman, but we don't really get to see evidence of either of those. On the other hand, Khai seemed like he had the potential to be an interesting character, but we never see him thinking of much, except how hot Esme is and how he gets a boner every time he sees her. *rolls eyes*

5. Neither Esme, nor Khai were anywhere close to as delightful and romantic as Michael and Stella were. Also, Stella’s autism was handled very well by both the author and the characters in the novel. Khai’s autism came off as some sort of excuse for his socially unacceptable awkwardness.

6. This story had a sad vibe to it from the beginning that I did not like one bit. It also lacked the humor I enjoyed so much in the first book and that's just a shame.

But to be fair, there were also a few things did like:
- I loved Quan, he was an awesome big brother
- I enjoyed the scene where Khai came to Quan to talk about his first time and how they involved Michael in the discussion
Okay, that's all I got 😂

For me The Bride Test was a total let down. If you want to read this series, I would recommend skipping this one.
Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews · 1,127 followers
April 17, 2020
ok, so despite my average rating, this book was actually super cute!

Last year I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. It was enjoyable and cute and oh, so unique. Never had I read a book from the point of view of a character on the autism spectrum. To be honest, its something I never even thought about, especially not when it came to romance novels. I really do wish that more authors take that POV into account in the future as it was definitely an interesting read.

Now, Hoang has given us a new book, set in the same world, with yet another set of wonderful charcters and I was so excited to read it.

I am not going to go much into the plot, as I'm sure the synopsis covers that, so I'm just going to tell you all the things I loved and didn't love so much.

First, I love these new characters. Khai is the autistic character in this novel and I loved him! He was nothing like Stella in The Kiss Quotient, showing how not everyone with Asperger's syndrome is the same. I often feel like authors represent certain peoples in a shallow and stereotyped manner. Thankfully, as an ownvoices author, Hoang has a wonderful and insightful understanding of ASD that gives depth and originality to her characters.

Esme was also a fun character although I admit there were times when I questioned how fast she was moving in this relationship. That though is more a problem in the plot, and I will get to that later.

Quan, Khai's brother, was awesome and I hope the next book in this series is about him! Cô Nga was also great, I thought she was going to turn out to be a horrible person, as future mothers-in-laws usually are in novels, but she was actually really sweet and caring. Generally, everyone was great. I only wish we would've had a longer Stella and Michael cameo!

Overall, the book was fun and cute and made me laugh on several occasions. The characters were likable and Khai was honestly a sweetheart in his own unique way, and it was all great. I read the book in one afternoon and I wasn't able to put it down. And yet, I only gave it three stars.

There was something in this book that I wanted and that it didn't quite deliver. The romance was cute, but everything else seemed off to me. Things were either too convenient or only put in place for the sake of tension. The book also felt a bit predictable. And yes, I know that romance novels are pretty predictable by nature, there are only so many places the book could have gone, but still. I expected more.

The other issue was the dynamics of the relationship. Sometimes it felt rushed. Other times it felt as if there was no base to it. How well did these character really know each other? The book takes place over one summer and it's not like the two spend that time getting to know each other all that well. I couldn't quite fall into their story the way I wanted. I was lacking a genuine connection with the characters and the story overall.

In the end, I still do recommend this book. It's a quick and entertaining story from a pov we never get to see. The moment it ended I wanted to keep going and see where else the story was going to go. I also can't wait for book three to come out. Hopefully, we finally get to see Quan's story!

**ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!**

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Profile Image for peachygirl.
267 reviews · 645 followers
December 17, 2021
Another sweet, sexy winner from Helen Hoang.

The protagonist Khai Diep is Michael's cousin from The Kiss Quotient. He is autistic, nerdy and prefers tax conventions to concerts. Ever since the death of his bestfriend in a freak accident at 15, Khai believes himself to be incapable of emotions, which prevents him from forming any meaningful relationships outside of his family. His perpetually single status forces his overbearing but well meaning mother to find a bride from Viet Nam. Her find is a mixed race woman struggling to save her family from destitution, who agrees to seduce Khai in return for an all expenses paid summer trip to California and US visa. One thing to be said about Hoang's characterisation of mothers is that they are a force to be reckoned with and are absolutely lovable.

Esmeralda Tran is a refreshing change from the clueless, seemingly perfect heroines in contemporary romances. Loosely based on the experiences of the author's own mother, Esme's love for her daughter and her grit and determination to make it in America to support her family were awe-inspiring. Although, I felt there could have been more scenes including her daughter. Would have loved to see Khai bonding with a mini-Esme.

The romance between the leads was too wonderful for words. Khai is obsessive and Esme is wonderfully understanding of his needs and boundaries. One thing I was afraid of was Khai being a male version of Stella from The Kiss Quotient. I was glad to see a genuinely unique protagonist with his own mannerisms and quirks.

Some special mentions:
Khai's brother Quan is an absolute delight in this book. He was hilarious, irreverent and so damn protective of his little brother, it was unbelievably cute. Can't wait to read his book!
The author's note is not to be missed.
A very brief but beautiful cameo of Michael and Stella for the fans of the previous book. I relished every scene of their wedding, as short as it was.

5 stars for Khai Diep, CPA, Esme Addict and his adorable love interest.
Profile Image for BernLuvsBooks .
773 reviews · 4,641 followers
June 29, 2019
🥰 The Bride Test is a sexy and sweet romance story with substance. 💖

Khai Diep is handsome, successful and autistic. He doesn't feel things like others and believes he is incapable of the emotion required for love. Khai's mother wants nothing more than to see her son married, even if it means going to Vietnam and finding his future bride herself!

Esme (My) is a hardworking, single mother who only wants to provide the best for her family. At her mother's urging, she accepts the offer to spend the summer in California with the intention of seducing Khai into marrying her.

Oh, how I loved the unfolding romance between Khai and Esme! I found myself smitten by them and was solidly rooting for them as a couple. Yes, I am not at all embarrassed to admit I am firmly #TeamKhaiandEsme! Hoang does such an amazing job of fleshing out her characters. They are flawed, genuine and each undergoing an emotional journey. I was genuinely invested in these characters and their story. I found myself desperately wanting Khai to realize that he is so much more than this autism. I was rooting for Esme to find her way, feel proud of who she is and see all she can become. And I may have become a tad smitten with Quan, Khai's older brother. I'm hoping we see more of him in a future story.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and then I read the author's note at the end. It added even more depth for me to the overall emotion of the story. Don't skip it! As I wait for Quan's story to hopefully come to life - I'll be going back to read The Kiss Quotient. I might be one of the few people that hasn't read it but I plan to remedy that soon Helen Hoang! 😉
Profile Image for aly ☆彡 (sick).
346 reviews · 1,043 followers
February 14, 2023
Helen Hoang did it again. Love the diversity as well as the representation! Her book is always so easy to read, very fast-paced, engaging and foremost, never failed to make me shed tears. Every! Single! Time!

Plot-wise, I enjoyed this one more than the Kiss Quotient. The overall premise is very spot on— the immigrant's story, typically arranged marriage move (by your truly Asian mom). However, the execution was off and disappointing.

It's been acknowledged that Khai is autistic and laboured no "sexual" feelings for how many women he has seen thus far (that's the gist that I got from it anyway). But as soon as he saw Esme, he is attracted and suddenly had these lewd thoughts he never had before. Their meetings were so insta-love based, Esme and Kai didn't come close to being as adorable and romantic as Michael and Stella. The two leads lacked chemistry and fell flat as separate characters.

The conflict in this book is not as lousy but not so great either since it's rooted in the characters themselves (mostly Esme) which means that it could have been easily dissolved if she wasn't as dense. I do sympathize with Esme and my heart goes out for her, especially knowing it must be hard to be in a foreign country with no one else to rely on.

Nonetheless, Esme is too naive and selfish for my liking. I understand if she wasn't aware of Khai's condition since no one was telling her about it in the first place but that's not the case after Khai finally came forward. You're supposed to love this man yet does not bother to look up what autism is or come up with something that could help him. She was too much immersed with her feelings and pity party, she unknowingly became selfish; especially with the insistence to have Khai saying "I love you" back. It was apparent with the constant care, pamper and worrying but no! Say 'I love you' or there was no love. I felt for her plight I do, but it still does not make her any less selfish and manipulative, I'm sorry (´д`).

Meanwhile, Khai character does not give the care it deserves , particularly with how confusing he is. We are all aware he is autistic, but this was more say than show. Stella's autism was written delicately but the same could not be said for Khai. His mannerisms and thoughts were reasonable but using his inept behaviour seemed too convenient and ludicrous to the plot. Unfortunately, the main characters in this are quite baffled. Everything about this book seems a bit too timely.

And as always, Helen Hoang's ending is always so rushed. Even as a character > plot person, I am surprised that I still do find myself enjoying this one but the sprint towards the ending kind of snapped the almost connection that I had with the book/character. If Hoang could put more effort into building up the conflict to resolution, I believe it would have been great.

In a sense, I would enjoy this one better if I wasn't introduced to Stella/Michael story first which is why this book is a bit letdown. Regardless of the minor issues, it doesn't entirely take my enjoyment from reading this one. It's quirky, funny and uplifting!
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,294 reviews · 2,962 followers
March 11, 2019
I'll admit I was disappointed when I finished this one because I did enjoy The Kiss Quotient and had high hopes this would be a good read as well. Lack of good chemistry is the main issue I had with this book and why it was only an okay read. Once again the author has featured characters that are underrepresented in fiction which is awesome but given romance is such a big part of the story, the fact I wasn't really feeling it, was a significant problem. Other readers really connected with the characters so definitely this is one of those your mileage may vary type reads.

This is the second book in The Kiss Quotient series but can easily be read as a standalone. Some characters from the first book make appearances in this one which was nice although some were "don't blink or you'll miss it" type cameos. It looks like a third book is in the works and after reading this one I have a pretty good guess who will be the main character. Even though this book wasn't my favorite, I still wouldn't mind checking the next book out.

Esme Tran has lived her entire life in Vietnam and is working at a hotel when she is approached by a woman who has an interesting proposition. She wants Esme to come to America and marry her son. The prospect of a better life for not just her but also her family, is why Esme takes the woman up on her offer. But getting the son, Khai, to fall in love with her isn't going to be easy.

I wasn't a huge fan of the premise to begin with as having a green card type plot doesn't seem like the best use of diverse characters. I wish the author would have chosen a different reason for Esme to come to America and interact with Khai. However, the author did attempt to give substance to the characters by featuring such things as Esme's drive to succeed and Khai learning how to deal with his emotions. Like I said before I wasn't feeling much chemistry between Esme and Khai and in general I thought the story needing some polishing up as it didn't quite work for me. It just felt like so many aspects of the story were not fully developed or not developed to their potential is maybe a better way of putting it. Everything felt slightly off with this book. It wasn't horrible, but I definitely walked away wishing I would have liked it better.

Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
427 reviews · 1,709 followers
July 16, 2019
I legit had a huge smile on my face from start to finish (okay, okay, I did cry at certain parts!!). Along with almost everyone who read The Kiss Quotient I have been anticipating this book for a year. After loving Helen Hoang's first book I was super hyped for her next work AND IT SURPASSED MY EXPECTATIONS!!

Esme is struggling in Vietnam to support her family. They rely on her and when the opportunity to go to America is presented — by a woman who is desperate to find a good Vietnamese girl for her son — at first Esme is strongly apposed but it is not an opportunity she has the luxury to decline.

Khai has autism and has spent his whole life believing that he is incapable of love. And as such has refrained from any kind of romantic or physical relationship. When Esme comes to live with him for the summer Khai is uncomfortable with someone in his space, changing things around the house and making him feel things he is unaccustomed to.

Now don't make the mistake of thinking that this is the simple plot of ‘marriage for a green card’. Esme has secrets and she's not one to rely on a man to secure her future. She is determined to earn her place and to make the most of her summer by learning as much as she can.

I really enjoyed Khai's POV. His thoughts were so cute and innocent in a way. I'm a huge fan of autism reps so learning more about his autism was a real eye opener and so interesting.

Guys the slow burn was real!! Is there anything better in
a great New Adult novel?

I loved that this is a spin off. It meant I got a sneak peak into the lives of Michael and Stella 💜💜

Khai and Esme hold a special place in my heart and I am most definitely going to reread this soon.

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.


I haven't even read this yet. But I already know that Khai is going to be my husband.

My reviews for:
Book 1 - The Kiss Quotient
Book 3 - Untitled
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,067 reviews · 3,612 followers
April 27, 2019
The story is sweet, kind, loving and gentle. And did I mention steamy?? Oh my!

Khai’s mother is desperate to find him a wife. Khai’s problem is not that simple – he is autistic and just has no interest in personal relationships. Well, time for MOM to step in!
On a “bride seeking” trip to Vietnam, she crosses paths with a beautiful young woman working at the hotel. After a brief, but far from subtle conversation, she gives Esme a most interesting proposition.
Come to America, and win over her loveless son by the end of the summer. If it works and all goes well, she will be blissfully married with a new life in America. Unsuccessful, Esme will return home to her simple life in Vietnam.

Esme and khai’s relationship was delightfully played out as they navigated each other’s differences, while growing profoundly fond of one another along the way.
Will Esme win khai over? Can she win her place deeply in the heart of someone who seemingly has no interest in love at all?

My only reservation in reading this book was that there was a lot of sex talk. And I mean a lot!
At times I think it took the emphasis away from the story itself.
But for those of you who love the detailed steaminess in your romance book, (is it warm in here?) then you will be very happy with this one!

A buddy read with Susanne that left us blushing at times!☺️

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing, Edelweiss and Helen Hoang for an ARC to read and review
Profile Image for Arini.
772 reviews · 1,617 followers
September 9, 2021
#1 The Kiss Quotient — 3.25 Stars
#2 The Bride Test — 2.5 Stars

Talk about Asian parents and arranged marriages... 🤡

Khải Diep (H) steadfastly avoids relationships because he thinks he’s defective. His mother (Cô Nga) decides to take matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

In my humblest of opinions, I’d have a better shot at treating Khải like the precious cinnamon roll that he is if Khải’s mom had flown ME in place of Esmeralda Tran (h) to America. 🤪 Because lemme tell you, that girl is not HIS one. Khải—


Not that she’s a bad person. In fact, thare are parts of her that I found relatable and admirable. For instance, her struggles as an immigrant and how she overcame them was something to be proud of. I’m specifically referring to her taking lessons, passing her GED test, and pursuing higher education.

The thing is, I didn’t agree with her actions in regards to Khải. Coming from a poor family, I understand that she has a lot at stakes. She feels like she owes it to her mom and daughter to give them a better life. Naturally, she’d do anything to make her relationship with Khải work and not disappoint his mom, including:

↠ seducing him by invading his personal space,
↠ lying to him about being an accountant just so they have something in common,
↠ hiding from him about being a single parent and having a daughter,

We can argue that she feels ashamed of her background and doesn’t want Khải to judge her because of it. However, it is honestly rather ✨ i r o n i c ✨ considering the reason she caught Khải’s mom’s attention and passed the bride test was because she (and I quote) “couldn’t help but be herself.” Cô Nga clearly thinks she’s not like those fake Californian bitches.


Well, at least she’s self-aware because she feels bad the entire time she’s doing it. That’s something. 🤠

You’d think my disapproval of Esme would end here, right? No, you’re wrong . . .

💀 I couldn’t figure her out.

Sometimes, she’d come off as this naive, clueless girl sasshaying around *bra-less* in her t-shirt and shorts doing bizarre things like, hacking down a tree with a Japanese kitchen knife or climbing a ladder to clear the gutter off leaves in Khải’s front porch (!!!). Y’know like she’s acting dumb, but cute, but actually just plain dumb. (???) I couldn’t tell if it was part of her seduction plan or if she was just . . . ✨“quirky” like that✨💅 because every time she’s like that, it’s seen from Khải’s POV and he’d be all—

💀 She “brushes off” Khải’s autism.

At one point, Khải shares he’s autistic. She doesn’t know what it means, but she’s noticed that he’s different. Instead of asking questions or doing her research, she’s just . . . not doing anything. On one hand, it was great that she seemed to accept him for what he was. On the other hand, it felt like a dismissal cause she didn’t even make an attempt to understand him and see things from his perspective. Especially when—

💀 She stubbornly refuses to be with Khải unless he says “I love you.”


It was interesting to see how Stella’s (h of The Kiss Quotient) and Khải’s autism affected them both differently. Stella hires a male escort to teach her about sex and dating. Meanwhile, Khải’s (through an *event* that happened when he was younger) has led him to believe he’s incapable of love. I loved seeing him flustered and out of sorts because of Esme and how she wreaked havoc on his life turning it into something he wasn’t used to.

His relationship with his brother Quan was simply precious. I loved when he did the big brother love to Khải—being Khải’s sounding board, helping Khải make sense of things he couldn’t understand, and overall being loyal and dependable. Not to mention, charming and ✨hot✨. Aaahh . . . *screams in Vietnamese* I’m so obsessed with him!!! How did he manage to OWN every scene he was in when it wasn’t even his book??? 😍


I really didn’t like the fact that Khải’s mom manipulated him into marrying Esme. I feel like arranged marriages is such a common practice in Asian culture. Even so, Cô Nga didn’t have to arrange it behind Khải’s back and practically forced him into it. I think it’d be more tactful if Khai was the one instigating it under the pretense of appeasing his mom. So then, it’d be a marriage of convenience situation.

In addition, I feel like Esme got a lot more out of the arrangement than Khải—she gets the chance to be in the US, she’s marrying into a rich family which ultimately will bring fortunes into her own family, she’s LOVED by the most amazing man. In other words, SHE GETS TO HAVE HER AMERICAN DREAM. And what did she give in return??? A lot of lying, manipulating, not being considerate of Khải’s diagnosis, and bitching about him not saying “I love you.” Bitch, go take a hike! 😭

Let’s not forget about the ploy to get Esme her green card! The bitch didn’t want to marry Khải cause he can’t say “I love you,” but she’d marry Quan just so she’d get her green card?!?!?!? Originally, the ruse was a gamble meant to push Khải to admit his feeling, but she’d go through with it if he didn’t stop her. Seriously, what is wrong with her??? I’m not supposed to be ranting about Esme in this section, but it seems I couldn’t help myself.

Another drama we didn’t need was the matter of Esme’s kid and her estranged father. Both only showed up at the last minute. I don’t understand Esme’s decision to keep her child a secret. It’s not like anyone can do her harm since she left her in Vietnam. There’s literally no point in making Esme a single mom other than to *gLoriFy* her poverty and make her more sympathetic. Khải’s reaction after learning about it was out of character. It was all just so very convenient.

“It wasn’t loneliness if it could be eradicated with work or a Netflix marathon or a good book.”

I hadn’t intended to rant this long, but writing this actually helped me decide on a rating. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I liked this more or less than The Kiss Quotient since I enjoyed both just the same. Now, I’m pissed off, and I realised I liked this less.

Khải was a wonderful character, but I had issues with everyone’s (except Quan) treatment of him. The biggest detriment to this book was Esme and the romance. Come to think of it, the romance seemed rather forced and relied heavily on the side characters pushing them to be together. There were cute moments, but I couldn’t pinpoint why Khải & Esme fell in love. (I couldn’t either with the couple in book 1, but whatever.) They can’t even get over their own relationship issues without Quan’s involvement.

I’d planned to rate this 3 stars, but that’d be too close with The Kiss Quotient, which is 3.25. So, I’d go with 2.5 just to be a petty asshole. 🤡 Peace out, friends! I’m going to start ✨manifesting✨ my tall, dark, TATTOOED, handsome, MOTORCYCLE-RIDING Quan. 🧚‍♀️

(Read as an Audiobook)
Profile Image for Eliza.
594 reviews · 1,377 followers
February 7, 2019
2 / 5 ~

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC! After finishing The Kiss Quotient a week ago, getting approved for this arc was amazing. I started it right away. And, sadly, I realized it was going to be nothing like The Kiss Quotient.

The Kiss Quotient characters had chemistry, whereas in this book, I felt like there was little-to-no chemistry. Obviously, that’s my opinion and some of you will disagree when the book is released. But, I wasn’t a fan.

I’ll write more when the book is released in May; I don't want to risk giving the plot away. Either way, I think many of you will like this story and I still recommend it to those who enjoyed The Kiss Quotient. I have a strong feeling I'll end up having the unpopular opinion, but we shall see in May!
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,439 reviews · 78.1k followers
September 23, 2019
#FallIntoMyBacklist Book 1

This book was so meaningful in so many ways. I adored the autistic rep, the steamy romance, the cultural discussions, and the promotion of female empowerment. Full review to come.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews · 29.4k followers
May 15, 2019
4.5 stars.

"Khai didn't hurt. He felt nothing most of the time. That was exactly why he steered clear of romantic relationships. If someone liked him that way, he'd only end up disappointing them when he couldn't reciprocate. It wouldn't be right."

Khai Diep is handsome, successful, a devoted son and brother. He has his routines and he likes everything in its place. He thinks he's broken because he doesn't feel emotions the way others do, and it has caused his problems. But his family knows it's just the way his autism manifests itself, and they want to help him because they know how special he is.

Because Khai isn't interested in getting involved in a romantic relationship, his mother decides she needs to intervene. On a trip to Vietnam she meets Esme, a young, mixed-race girl working as a maid in Ho Chi Minh City, and is taken by Esme's beauty, her integrity, and her intelligence. She offers Esme the opportunity to come to America and live with Khai for the summer and attend a few family weddings with him, in the hopes that she can make him fall in love with her and decide to marry her. If not, she'll go back to Vietnam.

While she is shocked at first about this offer, Esme realizes this is an amazing opportunity for a new life, for her and her family. Khai is handsome and kind, and she would love to marry him. But seducing him isn't as easy as she thought it might be. Although she is quickly smitten with Khai, he resists her advances even though he is immensely attracted to her. As he realizes that if he doesn't marry her, he'll lose her forever. But Esme wants it all, and won't settle for a marriage of convenience, no matter how much she has fallen in love with Khai.

"It wasn't loneliness if it could be eradicated with work or a Netflix marathon or a good book. Real loneliness would stick with you all the time. Real loneliness would hurt you nonstop."

The Bride Test is an utterly charming, sweet, and poignant rom-com, about the things we're willing to do for those we love, and the sacrifices we're not willing to make. This is also quite a sexy book—the sex scenes are pretty steamy!

I love the characters Helen Hoang created—they're tremendously memorable and likable, and I won't soon forget them. I really enjoy the way she writes, so now I'm going to need to read The Kiss Quotient , too. This is definitely a book that would make a terrific movie, if only because I'd love to see how Khai and Esme (and Quan, too) would look on the big screen!

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,659 reviews · 5,137 followers
January 7, 2022
#1 The Kiss Quotient ★★★★★
#2 The Bride Test ★★★★☆
#3 The Heart Principle ★★★★★

'Nothing gets to you. It's like your heart is made of stone.'

I always find it a little bit stressful to read the sequel of a book I loved, because there's so much pressure: what if the sequel isn't as good at the first book? Or what if it blows the first book out of the water and makes me rethink my entire rating system?! Because of that, it's pretty common for me to stall a bit when picking up a sequel, which is what happened with The Bride Test. I read the first 2 chapters, put it down for 2 weeks, and then read the rest of the book in one sitting. Go figure.

But something inside of him loosened, and he didn't mind so much the way she said his name now.

Unfortunately, I did not love The Bride Test as much as I loved The Kiss Quotient, but it's still absolutely worth reading! Much like in TKQ, we've got a somewhat slow-burning romance between two people whose sexual chemistry is off the charts, but who can't communicate well enough to get past themselves and make it work. It's a blessing and a curse, because I love a good slow-burn romance, but sometimes these characters made me want to scream.

She would do anything for this little one. Except give her up.

Khai's brilliant and amusing, but his stubbornness became a little cruel sometimes. Esme, I loved endlessly—her wit, her determination, her intelligence, and the way she owned her sexuality—with my only complaint being that I genuinely couldn't imagine living with someone for weeks and never once letting them know I have a child. As a mom, there were details to that whole scenario that were so frustrating, but they were a little easier to overlook only because the logical side of me knew she was doing it for Jade's own well-being in the long run.

What a difference an ocean made.

Sigh. I feel like this review's a bit of a mess; while I genuinely did enjoy The Bride Test so much, putting my thoughts down on paper has me seriously considering all of the things I was disappointed by. I will give a caveat that the last 1/3 or so of this book is practically flawless and made me cry happy tears, but the more of this review I'm writing, the less I can justify anything above a 4-star rating. I'm very excited for the third book and I can't wait to spend more time with Quan, and I loved a lot of things about this book, but I'm a little bit worried nothing will be able to trump TKQ for me.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Berkley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews · 48.4k followers
June 16, 2021
The fact that I enjoyed this is going to make me a demonstrably worse person.

I have been trying to get better lately about reading books I think I'll like. This may seem like, you know, the most obvious reminder on the planet to most people, but to me it is a constant battle between reading what's popular/been sent to me by the publisher/readable in 45 minutes versus stuff that is actually up my alley.

The first one is constantly winning.

So lately, when I don't like a book by an author, I try to prevent myself from the inclination to read, you know...other books by that author.

Again, this might seem like basic common sense to the lot of you, but you're talking to (reading of) the girl who read every book by John Green out of pure stubbornness. So.

Anyway. For a long time I staved off my very mild desire to read this book, because I did not like The Kiss Quotient and I'm not stupid. Or rather I am stupid but I'm forcing myself through idiot rehab.

But then I was reading all books by Asian authors in May...and I wanted to read a romcom...and my library had this available...and I gave in.

And I - liked it?

Don't get me wrong: It was not, like, very good for me. It was more of a sex-based romance than I like, and all of the conflicts between the love interests were solved by outsiders which was weird, and I feel like I didn't catch when the Falling In Love bits actually happened.

But it was fun. I enjoyed myself.

Bottom line: I'm officially incorrigible!!!


okay. this was not NOT fun.

review to come / 3 stars

currently reading updates

i did not like the kiss quotient, but if i am two things, those things are brave and stupid.

so i will be reading this.


taking lily's idea and reading only books by asian authors this month!

book 1: the incendiaries
book 2: last night at the telegraph club
book 3: dear girls
book 4: sigh, gone
book 5: frankly in love
book 6: emergency contact
book 7: your house will pay
book 8: convenience store woman
book 9: on earth we're briefly gorgeous
book 10: we are not free
book 11: searching for sylvie lee
book 12: the displaced
book 13: schoolgirl
book 14: sweet bean paste
book 15: little fires everywhere
book 16: trust exercise
book 17: front desk
book 18: the bride test
Displaying 1 - 30 of 18,316 reviews

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