Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #1
Published: Berkley (June 5, 2018)
Pages: 324 (Hardcover BOTM Edition)
I’ve been hearing about this book for ages; it’s almost universally loved. And after realizing late last year that I might actually like adult contemporary romances, I knew I needed to give this one a try. And, I’m so glad I did. This was fun and steamy and has great #ownvoices autistic representation.
“I like you better than calculus, and math is the only thing that unites the universe.”
Stella Lane is a hardworking professional who loves math and is great at her job. Econometrics makes sense. Dating? Not so much. Stella is autistic which she thinks makes her undatable. And, sex unenjoyable. So when her mother begins to pressure her about marriage and grandchildren she realizes that she may need to hire a professional to help her if she’s ever going to have a successful relationship. A professional escort that is. Enter Micheal Phan, a handsome fashion designer by day and escort by night, who Stella hires to teach her how to be good at sex.
“Girls like me intimidate boyfriends away. 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 has a 1 date policy with his escort clients, but after meeting Stella he decides that maybe extending that policy to 3 dates might not be such a bad idea. But, soon the two are having feelings that they didn’t expect. And are having to navigate familial complications and expectations, jerks at work, and past emotional trauma in hopes of finding their happy ending.
There is so much to love about this story. Stella is a fantastic heroine who honestly deserves the world. She is strong and smart, and she’s not willing to pretend otherwise just to get a man. And, Michael? A cinnamon roll if ever there was one. He loves his mom and is willing to do just about anything to make sure she has everything she needs. Michael appreciates Stella for exactly who she is, and never asks for her to be anyone but herself.
“All the things that make you different make you perfect.”
And the interactions between the two of them? Woah boy. It is STEAMY. I loved that consent was always at the forefront of their interactions. Michael making sure that what he was doing was okay with Stella. And him reminding her that she is in control. I will say, however, that this focus on consent makes the sexual harassment towards Stella even more frustrating. Because while it was presented as a “bad thing” there were never any repercussions for the guy (which, I’ll admit is pretty true to real life.) But, Stella just kinda brushed it off like it was no big deal- which didn’t sit well with me.
This is a story about two people trying to find themselves who end up finding each other long the way. It’s about learning to accept yourself exactly as you are, knowing that you’re good enough. It’s about realizing that you are not doomed to repeat the failures of your parents – their mistakes are not your mistakes. And that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.
“Michael was mint chocolate chip for her. She could try other flavors, but he’d always be her favorite.”
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. And I’m definitely looking forward to picking up the sequel. I’m incredibly excited that the third book in the series will be Quan’s story because I loved his character in this book. If you’re looking for a sweet and sexy #ownvoices romance, you’ve got to give this one a try.