"The Kiss Quotient": The Perfect Steamy  Beach Read

"The Kiss Quotient" is the Perfect Steamy Beach Read

There's no algorithm for love...or is there?


In "The Kiss Quotient" by Helen Hoang, Stella is a successful woman working in economics, using her love of math to analyze patterns of customer purchases. She is very happy with her job and life until her parents not-so-subtly hint that they want grandchildren. They even suggest that she date a work colleague whose parents they are friends with.

Insecure about her proficiency in relationships due to her autism, she hires an escort, Vietnamese-American tailor and aspiring fashion designer Michael, to teach her how to have sex and how to properly behave when dating someone through a "practice relationship". She intends to use all that Michael teaches her once she gets a "real boyfriend", but things don't work out exactly the way she planned.

Throughout their time together, Michael is very attracted to her but feels that she wouldn't think of him as good enough for her because of his lack of education and wealth. Stella also has very strong feelings for him but wants to avoid being like some of Michael's former clients, who have stalked him and wanted to continue things once his services toward them ended.

Stella does not tell Michael about her autism because she doesn't want him to see her as lesser-than. Some of her traits come out when he brings her to meet his family, and she fixates on plastic not being microwave-safe when his mom puts food in a plastic container in the microwave for them to eat. She also indirectly brings up topics related to Michael's absentee dad, not realizing that it's a sore subject for the family.

Michael also takes Stella to a nightclub and she gets sensory overload. It's not until his cousin Quan shows up and comments on her similarities to his brother Khai, who also has autism, that Michael started to make the connection.

Throughout the whole book Michael remains sexually attracted to Stella and even feels inadequate compared to her. Prior to the book's events he was working as a designer in New York but returned home to California to help his mom out with her struggling dry cleaning and tailoring business. Stella on the other hand lives in a huge apartment and was willing and able to buy him a Lamborghini. He refuses because his mom doesn't know about his second job as an escort and tailors don't make enough to buy Lamborghini's.

Their chemistry shines all through the book. The novel has an engaging tone that makes it impossible to put down and you grow really invested in these characters. This is an own voices novel, as the author, Helen Hoang, is Vietnamese American and discovered that she, too, had autism while doing research for this book. It was a Goodreads Choice Winner in 2018 which is a huge win for both the autism community and the Vietnamese American community. This book teaches you a lot but also reminds you of the ways that we are all the same.

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