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Published by Berkley on June 5, 2018
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
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A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...
I was provided a review copy by Berkley; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
❝Michael was mint chocolate chip for her. She could try other flavors, but he’d always be her favorite.❞
What an original, inspiring, transparent and enlightening read! The fact that this is a debut by Helen Hoang blows my mind! It is seriously good! The writing, plot line, and character development were superb. I loved every word.
‘The Kiss Quotient’ is about a wealthy woman, named Stella Lane, who works as an econometrician. Her mother is pressuring her to find a man, marry and have children. But she struggles in social situations, thus making relationships difficult. Further, sex isn’t something she enjoys nor believes she’s good at. Determined to succeed, she decides to hire an escort to teach her how to have sex.
❝Girls like me have never been asked out by a single boy. Girls like me have to find their own way, make their own luck. I’ve had to fight for every success in my life, and I’m going to fight for this. I’m going to get good at sex, and then I’ll finally be able to entice the right person into being mine.❞
Michael Phan’s father left the family with financial difficulties and his mother’s illness has continued to drive the family deeper into debt. Doing everything he can to help out, he works as a tailor at his mother’s dry cleaning store during the day and as an escort on Friday nights. As he struggles to make ends meet, he worries he may one day be like his father. Between his Friday night activities and his father’s legacy, he doesn’t believe he is worthy of anyone.
As her escort, Michael doesn’t rush Stella or push her into sex. Instead, he finds ways to make her relax and learns what she needs. It’s Michael’s kindness, generosity, and understanding that makes Stella yearn for a relationship with him. Michael loves how he feels with Stella. She genuinely likes him for who he is. Both fear how the other will react once their truths are told and both know they will never be the same when it ends.
The raw and transparent way in which Hoang wrote our heroine, Stella, not only brought the character to life but may have dispelled some beliefs about women with autism. At the very least it helped enlighten readers about “high functioning” autism. For Stella, we read about her struggles to be like “everyone else”. From her conversations with others to her obsessions, it was exhausting for her to try and remember what was and what was not socially acceptable to do and say, while also keeping in mind how her words and actions affected others. These are things many of us take for granted.
The honest way in which she wrote Michael’s character reminds us that we all struggle with issues, we all have something we wish was different or that we were better at. These two characters made me think about how easy it is to judge others because they are different or their choices might differ from what we would choose to do. But those differences beg for understanding, not judgment.
A spectacular debut, ‘The Kiss Quotient’ will make you laugh and cry. It will beg you to love your perceived flaws and be understanding of the flaws you perceive in others. Make sure to pack this in your beach bag, the ‘Kiss Quotient’ is the perfect vacation read!