The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – Book review

Title: The Kiss Quotient

Series: The Kiss Quotient #1

Author: Helen Hoang

Genre/Themes: Contemporary Adult Light Fiction, Romance, Neurodiverse Representation, Autism

Blurb from Goodreads

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 maths 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…

My Review

This book has one big fat shiny positive going for it… It’s own voices regarding the depiction of autism. That’s just brill. Need more of that.

What I’m not entirely sure about is the over all theme of the book. Is this idea of of trying to screw away the neuroatypical profile of the lead female character Stella a positive message to be sending? It could be interpreted as if autism is something to be fixed as opposed to society needing to step up and recognise that not everyone is neurotypical nor should anyone be expected to be.

I think an important thing to consider when thinking about people on the autism spectrum is are they a person with autism or are they autistic… They’re two vastly different interpretations regarding societal acceptance of atypical neuro-behaviours IMO.

But towards the end of the book the lead female character did have a sort of epiphany as she realised she was enough and didn’t exactly need to change… But it felt a little underdeveloped to me. I would have liked her acceptance of self to have been a little more emphatic… So yes, this book was about a character’s personal growth journey with regards to acknowledging one’s own self worth and being enough… but I could have done with a few more bells and whistles at the end in order to truly dispel my early ill feelings.

I didn’t like the male lead AT ALL!

Frequently I wanted to slap his entitled ass because of how he treated Stella as an object to be possessed instead of an actual human who has her own opinions…

There was one instance where Stella’s co-worker kisses her that is entirely unwelcomed without her consent, and when she tells Michael this, he understandably wants to beat up the git but then he gets weirdly possessive. And is all oh I must have you now and practically forces himself on her just so the other guy is forgotten???? It just felt very weird to me. And I wasn’t okay with it. And he definitely had that whole ‘stalking masquerading as romance’ vibe going on.

I mostly liked the first half of the book because it was an easy read… But then I got supremely fed up of the endlessly cliched plot “developments”… Lol at calling them developments!

And by 70% I was frantically searching for my will to live so bored was I. The writing was so prosaic. Juvenile really. With incredibly repetitive sounding passages. And utterly lacking in emotion… I felt I was told things as a reader rather than shown.

So I don’t know, I liked it at first but then it troubled me and then I really began to hate it….

A bit of a letdown really.

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