The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
After a short media break I had the bad luck of falling into a semi-reading slump. I had trouble picking titles, got distracted by everything and basically just didn’t take the time to sit down and read. BUT! what truly saved me from a full-blown reading slump was diving into this romantic contemporary, The Kiss Quotient.
In this book we follow our girl Stella, who is pretty much as awkward as it gets with people and dating in particular. Although her social issues are mostly due to her autism, Stella decides that she wants to overcome her fear of intimacy and hires an escort, Michael, to give her lessons in love (and love-making). Michael agrees, thinking this is just going to be yet another job. However, when the two start spending time together, they realize, that there are more layers to be found in both of them. They can’t seem to stay away from each other – although many obstacles try to part them.
As you can probably already tell, this is an adult contemporary romance which means, yes, there’s both sexual content and scenes with very explicit language. If adult content is something you’re not comfortable with, this book is not for you yet. That being said, it’s not a dirty book in a shallow, erotica-kind of way. Stella has issues with breaking routine, intimacy and relationships in general since she only has bad experience. Michael isn’t a “bad boy” trying to get some, he genuinely wants to help her heal and realize her worth.We also get to see both characters interact with their families which is pretty funny.
The representation of mixed heritage, different social circles and mental health issues is great as well. The characters themselves are also interesting and likeable – most of the way. In the second half of the book, when feelings get involved, they both become pretty whiny and self-pitying which is something I always roll my eyes over in romance books. “Of course he doesn’t love me, who could ever love someone like me” is one of the most annoying things to read about, especially when it’s repeated over and over again which, unfortunately, it is. There’s also a weird, out of the blue aspect to Michael’s character where he suddenly wants to kill/break a guy’s face if he shows interest in Stella (although they’re not in a relationship). It doesn’t suit his personality and otherwise good-hearted nature and no, it’s not sexy.
Overall, I really enjoyed this saucy contemporary and liked reading from the POV of an attractive autistic young woman. I definitely had a few smaller issues here and there with the character changes but the family bonds and dynamic relationships was fun and felt real. I also really liked to read about a very different kind of love story and I just discovered that this is the first book in a series. I’m definitely going to continue with the sequel!
Page count: 336
Goodreads rating: 3.9/5