‘The Kiss Quotient’ by Helen Hoang

A heart warming romance that challenges what we think we know about social stereotypes. Think ‘The Rosie Project’ but more sex! 

The story follows Stella Lane- a brilliant mathematician and economist focused on routine and her work- partly manifested by her Asperger’s. Stella has succeeded in her career, where she uses algorithms to predict customer purchases, a career that has given her more money than she knows what to do with.  What she doesn’t know about is men- what to do with them, how to pleasure them and how to keep them. So she hires a professional escort, Micheal and creates a set of check lists and lesson plans to help her along, from french kissing to how to give blow jobs. 

Before too long Stella and Michael’s no-nonsense partnership makes sense and Stella starts to appreciate all the feelings Micheal makes her crave. 

What I loved about this book is that it challenged social stereotypes. It did not hide Stella’s Asperger’s and in fact emphasises how it impacted her life in many ways but it also does not rule her. Many a times I forgot Stella has Asperger’s and simply thought she was a complex character with similar perfectionistic traits to myself.

Micheal was another surprisingly deep character. He doesn’t shy away from his job as an escort but does emphasis this isn’t something he had planned to do forever. His background of Vietnamese was an interesting flavour to the book- I was constantly craving Pho while reading the book because they were always making it! This cultural element did not feel forced or stereotyped and I appreciated how naturally Hoang incorporated this into the Californian setting.  

I’d like to finally mention the sex. I wasn’t expecting so much of it or that it would come with such waves of detail. I’m never going to shy away from the odd piece of erotic in a book, however it did occasionally feel too forced and unnatural. One could argue that this was part of Stella’s journey- going from hating to being obsessed with sex. However, for me, it started to feel ‘Fifty Shades’, but hey, whatever lights your fire. 

I’m curious to read Hoang’s next book ‘The Bride Test’ 

If you’ve read this book or are intrigued to, I’d love to hear what you think! 

Love, Vanessa  

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