The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang fulfilled the “Debut Book” category of the PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge. Ms. Hoang’s book debut to great acclaim in 2018. It is a steamy romance with a happy ending.
The book is perfect.
I’ve studied romance writing for about ten years. The natural arc of a romance has been tattooed on my brain by many workshops, professional books, and colleagues. If you read Romancing the Beats by Gwen Hayes, it sounds so easy, so formulaic. But trust me, a good romance has that arc well buried under layers of great story, interesting characters, and conflict. Ms. Hoang perfected the model on her first go.
The story depicts a wealthy Asian woman with autism. She wants to find a soul mate or at least a date and settle down, fulfilling the expectations of her parents. Her intellectual mind says “hire an escort and practice” to get versed in sex and relationships. Thank goodness she finds the right guy on the first try.
The Kiss Quotient is now on my top ten list for romance books. The arc and growth of characters are very well done and satisfying. I loved Stella, with all her issues and quirks. And I loved that Michael understood her and loved her for her issues, not despite them. The story epitomizes true love and everyone should read it
It also shows how complicated the romance genre can be. The book seems effortless, but I know from experience that creating a novel such as that takes true talent and much work. The best part of the book I found was the diversity. Ms. Hoang wrote about Vietnamese culture in the book as a natural part of everyday life. She didn’t dumb it down for me or spend hours explaining family life, food, or culture. She immersed me in their lives, and I feel I learned more because of it. In a day and age when diversity in romance can be a tough find, The Kiss Quotient stands as a model of a diverse book should read.
One last issue regarding the book. It was a very steamy romance. The sexual tension and “lessons” set the heat level at just under erotica. It might not hurt to have a fan nearby to cool off as you read. The book had a cartoon cover. This is where some controversy sets in. Most romance books with cartoon covers are romantic comedy or sweet books (no sex). Many readers were shocked to find the heat in the pages based on the cover.
There’s a new trend with drawn/cartoon covers in romance. Many books are using the art style and some readers are not happy. The practice throws a wrench into marketing romance books. A reader might be offended by the cover not matching the material inside. An author might gain readers by using such a cover or might receive some negative reviews based on the mismatch.
I’m not sure what I think. I write steamy books and wouldn’t want a cartoon cover to scare off any readers. The practice seems to be widespread and seeing that The Kiss Quotient is an amazing book, I hope readers were not turned away.
I give The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang 5 complex algebraic equations, with kisses.