by Helen Hoang
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Source: PublisherKhai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
Helen Hoang blew up the romance community last year with The Kiss Quotient. You can bet that The Bride Test was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. And, oh boy, did this book give me everything I didn't even know I wanted!
Esme is living day by day in Ho Chi Min city, supporting her daughter, mother, and grandmother. When a woman confronts her and asks to take her to America to marry her son, Esme is intrigued. A life in America? That could mean a bright, successful future for her daughter. Esme finds herself agreeing and moving in with Khai, an autistic man who came to the realization long ago that he just can't feel emotions. That's just how he is. So when this new women his mother found moves in for the summer, Khai just thinks she's a nuisance. But as Esme wiggles her way into his life and mind, Khai isn't sure what to do with his newfound enjoyment of her company. Can he really marry this woman at the end of the summer? More importantly, could he ever let her go?
Okay, first off, I absolutely love how Esme is from Vietnam and she is the main love interest in this book. I loved having her perspective of moving to America, her self-doubts when it came to living there, and her culture she brought with her to America. Esme was such a special character and it was so hard watching her take things so personally because of how sensitive she was about where she was from. I think that's why I enjoyed the special moments between Esme and Khai when they were together as they learned more about one another. Khai was so sweet and it was adorable watching them fall for each other.
As with The Kiss Quotient, the importance of family was so strong in this book and it was one of my favorite parts. Esme had a strong bond with her family, though we didn't get to really see that throughout the story. Instead, we got to see Khai's family and how important they were to him and how they became important to Esme. Quan is definitely one of my favorite characters and I neeeeeeeed his book! Not only do you fall in love with the main characters in this book, but you want to be in the world just so you can be a part of the family.
If you can't tell, I absolutely loved this book. The romance was so freaking adorable and I couldn't get enough of all of these characters. I am already having withdrawal and need to be in this world again. I think a reread of The Kiss Quotient is in order before a long wait until Helen's next book!