I’m picky when it comes to reading romance books. Romance isn’t my favorite genre to read and I won’t read a romance book without knowing it was highly rated. The Kiss Quotient written by Helen Hoang was recommended by almost every booktuber I watch. One of the other factors for me picking this up to read was how the main character is on the spectrum. My best friend and my brother both are on the Asperger’s / Autism spectrum, therefore, I was looking at this book critically. I’m pleased to say that this is a delightful read.
Stella Lane is a successful econometrist who makes a six-figure salary. Her work drives her routine. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s and she struggles with socializing loud noises, and sex..? She claims she’s bad at sex and relationships, so she hires a male escort named Michael Phan to help her get better at sex. Similarily to Pretty Woman, they fall in love although they both come from two unique backgrounds, can they make it work?
Writing a protagonist with Asperger’s can be tricky. Hoang herself was diagnosed in her adult life with being on the spectrum. This helps to write an authentic, not offensive portrayal of someone on the spectrum. The way Stella interacts socially especially with Michael’s family highlights how differently Stella sees the world. Stella is a character I would fiercely protect as she reminds me of my friend in real life.
Many reviews I read stated this book had too much sex and wished there was less. I disagree with this statement. The sex shows how people on the spectrum are still sexual people. The sex to me enhanced the book because it showed how Stella was becoming more in tune with her body and what she wanted from a romantic partner.
My minor complaint with this book is how some sections felt repetitive to read about. This includes Stella and Michael repeating how they wanted to be together but didn’t want to share these feelings. Stella, I understand because of her Aspergers, but Michael kept going on and on about his past. The first half of the book was a fast read, but it felt sluggish towards the middle of the book.
This was a solid four-star read. When I think of my all-time favorite romance books, this book would belong on the list. Helen Hoang has written a sequel in this series and a third book is coming out in 2021. I already shelved it into my to-be-read shelf on Goodreads. The Kiss Quotient is the perfect division between romance and character development.