PLOT: 3/5
CLIMAX: 2.5/5

My musings

I was looking for an easy and laid back read when I came across this book on my Storytel app. Having seen it on many bestselling lists, I remembered that it had won the Goodreads Choice Award for Romance. With so many accolades to its credit, I decided that it was time that I read the book for myself. Read on to know what I think of Helen Hoang’s debut book, The Kiss Quotient, and how was my experience of reading it?

What to expect?

Expect a book that is an easy and breezy read. Expect a book that is essentially a romance, but one that also has many sex scenes in it. Expect a book that is primarily the story of an autistic girl finding romance. Finally, expect a book that can be easily read within a day or two.

Who can read?

Since the book is written in a simple language and a breezy style it can be easily picked up by a beginner-level reader.

Let’s talk about the storyline

Stella Lane is a geek who loves Maths and Economics and makes a bunch load of money putting her knowledge to use by creating algorithms to predict customer purchase patterns and consumer behavior. While she is very good at her job, she lacks social skills and is miserable when it comes to the dating department.

The fact that she is autistic makes this a much bigger issue than she would like to think. Single at thirty and constantly pushed by her Mom to start dating, Stella decides to take a leap of faith by hiring the services of a professional escort, Michael Phan.

Michael Phan, who is extremely good looking with his half-Swedish-half-Vietnamese exotic looks and with a body that seems to be carved out in stone, is a patient and kind man. He is the tough-on-the-exterior-soft-in-the-interior kind of guy who Stella is now finding hard to resist. Very soon, Stella would have to rethink this arrangement of practice dating that she has going on with Michael. Though from the looks of it, it will not be an easy task.

How good are the characters?

The characters are good, and I loved both the central characters of the book. Michael Phan is just the kind of guy every girl wants to fall in love with, whereas Stella Lane is your super nerdy heroine who is unaware of the effect she has on people. 

Add to this Michael’s money issues and overwhelming family responsibilities, and Stella’s misadventures with the opposite sex thanks to her autism – and you get characters that are fresh and interesting. The characters are undoubtedly the best part of The Kiss Quotient.

What did I like?

At the end of the day, The Kiss Quotient is a kind of romance that fills you with hope and promise. It is the kind of book that everyone needs to read every once in a while, to get over all the negativity that this cruel and brutal world showers on them. For me too, this was a kind of ‘in-between’ read that I picked up because I had been reading a lot of dark and serious books.

What did I not like?

For having such a basic plotline, The Kiss Quotient is a pretty lengthy read. That’s because almost one-third of the book is full of sex, sex, and some more sex. It is interesting in the beginning, but when it becomes repetitive, it gets a little boring. I would have loved it if the sex scenes were fewer and more unique.

What could have been better?

When I first picked the book, I expected it to be something on the lines of Crazy Rich Asians – I was expecting some high-octane Asian drama with a lot more character and Asian influence. The Asian part was pretty basic, and it’s a shame because it could have added much more flavor to an otherwise mediocre read.

Is the climax good enough?

The climax of The Kiss Quotient is mediocre. I do understand that there aren’t many ways in which this particular story could be ended. But that being said, the book scores zero points in creativity when it comes to penning that expected conclusion. It is cliché and predictable.

It all boils down to the entertainment quotient

I have mixed feelings when it comes to the entertainment part of the book. The first half moves very quickly and sounds exciting. There is that promise of an unlikely-pairing-and-forbidden-kind-of-romance. The sex scenes are also exciting. But the second half is where everything fizzles out. There is no adventure, mystery, or anticipation, and the turning of pages becomes a chore rather than an adventure.

In the end

In the end, Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient is a novel that somehow doesn’t live up to the expectations created by the hype that surrounds it. It is your normal ‘plain jane’ romance with a mostly cliché plot and a pretty basic romance. If you are a beginner, this book might interest you but if you are a voracious reader, let’s just say that you will find better romances in the market.

The final verdict

Can be read!

Pick it up

  • If you are a beginner looking for an easy read.
  • If you like your romances served with a generous dose of erotica.
  • If you enjoy all kinds of romance.
  • If you are looking for an Asian romance.
  • If you enjoy books with specially-abled representation.

Skip it

  • If you are looking for an intense romance.
  • If you are looking for a serious read.
  • If you are here only because of the hype around the book.
  • If you don’t like books with a ‘barely there’ plot and cliché characters.
  • If you are a voracious reader.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Kiss Quotient using the link below.