Melanie's Reviews > The Bride Test

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, romance, adult, arc, read-in-2019, own-voices, buddy-reads


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! ❤
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Reading Progress

July 4, 2018 – Shelved
July 4, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
July 4, 2018 – Shelved as: contemporary
July 4, 2018 – Shelved as: romance
July 4, 2018 – Shelved as: adult
January 10, 2019 – Shelved as: arc
January 10, 2019 – Shelved as: read-in-2019
January 10, 2019 – Shelved as: own-voices
March 12, 2019 – Started Reading
March 12, 2019 – Shelved as: buddy-reads
March 15, 2019 –
page 200
62.5% "All I want in this life is for Quan to get his own book! 💗"
March 15, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)

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message 1: by Chelsea (new) - added it

Chelsea (chelseadolling reads) blessings on blessings <3


Christy YAS!!!! Me, too girl!


message 3: by Bree (new) - added it

Bree Lauren So jelly!!!!


message 4: by Beatrice (new) - added it

Beatrice ~ Confessions of a Pinay Bookaholic Update us if it's good!!


message 5: by Flinn (new) - added it

Flinn I'm so jealous !!! Argh enjoy!


elizabeth • paper ghosts The jealousy is real! Hope you enjoy!


message 7: by Tucker (new) - added it

Tucker (TuckerTheReader) I would say I'm jealous but I can see that's already been well covered! Happy reading, friend! 💕


message 8: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Wimberly melanie how do you read so many books?are you a speed reader?


julianna ➹ hey I LOVE you also I totally forgot to start this four days ago, so I'll just read the whole thing today lmaoo


message 10: by Seema (new) - added it

Seema Rao Have heard many disappointing reviews


Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ Sorry you didn't love it as much as the first, bub <3 Looking forward to your review x


message 12: by Mary (new)

Mary Super excited for this one! I adored the Kiss Quotient and I'm so glad to see this one is also great :D


message 13: by Ashoora (new)

Ashoora TKQ was really good and I was hoping for this one to be the same. Sad to learn that it's not!


Melanie Chelsea wrote: "blessings on blessings <3"

Only facts, beautiful! 💕xx


Melanie Christy wrote: "YAS!!!! Me, too girl!"

*runs to see if you've read already* 💕xx


Melanie Bree wrote: "So jelly!!!!"

I hope you got it now, beautiful! 💕xx


Melanie Beatrice wrote: "Update us if it's good!!"

I'm writing my review now (finally) and i think you're going to love it, Beatrice love! 💕xx


Melanie Flinn wrote: "I'm so jealous !!! Argh enjoy!"

Awh, I hope you have it now, love! 💕xx


Melanie elizabeth • paper ghosts wrote: "The jealousy is real! Hope you enjoy!"

Awh, thank you, sweetheart! I hope you're having happy reading! 💕xx


Melanie Tucker wrote: "I would say I'm jealous but I can see that's already been well covered! Happy reading, friend! 💕"

Heheh! I hope you're having happy reading, Tucker! 💕xx


Melanie Jackie wrote: "melanie how do you read so many books?are you a speed reader?"

I think I'm a little bit of a fast reader! But honestly, my tip? I read for an hour before bed every night! 💕xx


Melanie julianna ➹ wrote: "hey I LOVE you also I totally forgot to start this four days ago, so I'll just read the whole thing today lmaoo"

You and your updates made my entire March, so bless you. 💕xx


Melanie Seema wrote: "Have heard many disappointing reviews"

Yeah... the power imbalance just... it is there, you know? But it still has so much good in it! Also, I think living up to TKQ was a really hard feat, too! It is still a good read! 💕xx


Melanie Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ wrote: "Sorry you didn't love it as much as the first, bub <3 Looking forward to your review x"

Awh, thank you, Alex love! I am FINALLY writing it! Hahah! I love you! 💕xx


Melanie Mary wrote: "Super excited for this one! I adored the Kiss Quotient and I'm so glad to see this one is also great :D"

I think you're going to really like this one, Mary! Also, I miss you! I hope life is treating you kindly, sweetheart! 💕xx


Melanie Ashoora wrote: "TKQ was really good and I was hoping for this one to be the same. Sad to learn that it's not!"

I still think you'll really enjoy it, Ashoora! I think TKQ was just a hard act to follow, you know? But I hope you're having the happiest of reading! 💕xx


Megan I think I was able to love as much as I did because I actually read this ARC before The Kiss Quotient and I'm kinda glad for that so I didn't have anything to compare to.


message 28: by Kat (new) - added it

Kat Valentine Excellent review Melanie!💖😉


Cherry Bob*omb Great review. Loved the first book in the series but was super not into the idea of literally buying a person and the whole power imbalance, but i'll give it a go.


message 30: by Tucker (new) - added it

Tucker (TuckerTheReader) Just got this in the mail today!! (That huge Berkely package came) Btw, do you have to read KQ to understand this one?


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