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The Kiss Quotient #1

The Kiss Quotient

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A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

323 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 5, 2018

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About the author

Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 45,020 reviews
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews156k followers
August 11, 2022
This book had the nerve, the audacity, and the unmitigated gall to come into my home where I pay the bills… and let me down.

On the bright side, however, at least it’s not a Percy Jackson movie.

I have so many issues with this book. But let me discuss first the brief list of things I liked about it: the fact that this is the book version of Pretty Women but with a refreshing subversive twist that’s embodied in the gender role reversal; the honest and clear-eyed exploration of money and how fortune does not touch everyone with the same hand; how there’s a real sense of culture and history in the depiction of Michael’s community (his Vietnamese heritage shines through and there's tremendous joy in his interactions with his family: the banter, the support, the kindness threaded through ruthless teasing); and the knowledge that the events in this book and the author’s continued research has inspired her to seek out a therapist and be diagnosed on the spectrum. It's very important to see autistic women at the forefront of efforts at representation, expanding the conversation and the vision for autistic characters.

I really wanted to love this book. But it was, quite frankly, boring, averagely written, and riddled with clichés. But what grates at me the most is the way The Kiss Quotient demonstrates great knowledge of vital issues only to overshadow the significance of its premise by refusing to delve deeper into something more nuanced and thoughtful. I expected more from this; more thoughtfulness, more artfulness, more craft. Instead, I was left uncertain how to feel about the whole thing—about an ending that felt easy and trivial, almost mocking the seriousness of the rest of the book, and a fizz of uneasiness that I couldn’t quite shake afterwards.

This is the story of a woman who is smart and beautiful and accomplished and who simply has had the poor misfortune of coming across men who had never cared for more than their own entertainment, who didn’t have her welfare anywhere remotely near at heart, and who treated her either like a boring convenience or an exciting toy. So, she stood there and accepted the weight of the blame, because clearly, if someone hurt you, there’s something wrong with you to deserve it. For Stella, it is her autism.

If it were obvious and unmistakable at any point in the book that the author was highlighting this attitude as a problem, I might feel more kindly disposed toward it. Instead, it’s almost positioning autism as an inherent flaw that you’re supposed to overcome, and showcasing the love interest, Michael, as someone who will, and I quote, “seduce [perhaps more aptly termed in this context: fuck] the anxiety out of [Stella]”, failing throughout to properly examine the crucial fact that Stella’s past sexual encounters didn’t go awry because of her autism. Not at all: her past dates are simply pieces of shit who didn’t treat her like a human being. And then, Michael comes along, shows Stella the barest scrapings of human decency, and she feeds off that because she’s been starving and thought such crumbs a feast. It’s like the novel version of those cishetero dating articles whose basic premise is “Ladies, Here Are 10 Tips to Make Men Treat You Like a Human Being.”

This is a frustration exacerbated by the fact that once Stella establishes that she enjoys physical contact with a man (read: a man who treats her decently and who doesn’t leave her laying on the bed like an unloved doll splayed out on the floor), she suggests that they now forgo the sex altogether and work together to figure out how to make her comfortable in romantic situations, and so begins a fake-relationship which of course blossoms into a romance.

I fault this book for trying to depict a well-balanced pairing only to deploy it in ways that feel manipulative and disingenuous. The bar was already set so low for Michael…and yet, he still managed to slide right under it. Michael says all the right things to make Stella feel comfortable, but his words stand in blatant contrast against his actions—which are infuriatingly manipulative and alarming. For instance, when Stella clearly voices her discomfort with something, Michael sweeps aside her comments like you’d brush crumbs from a table and assures her that she’ll enjoy it when she tries it, and of course, she doesher agency completely disregarded by this point. In moments like these, the relentless patronizing Michael is subtly practicing left a deeper impression than anything else, and I couldn't just chalk it up to character unreliability. It made me want to furiously wave my fist at the book in outrage.

Also egregious is how Stella’s symptoms seem to conveniently disappear around Michael. In fact, it is pretty obvious early on that the narrative is charitably embellishing Michael’s traits, palliating his possessiveness and elevating his character only by villainizing literally every single other male character. This is made even more manifest in the second love interest, Philip, Stella’s coworker, who is painstakingly one-dimensional: he’s an unmitigated jerk. That’s it. That’s the extent of his contribution. I can’t overstate how exhausted I am of this trope. If the romance in your book only works because every single character who’s not the potential love interest is even more of an unbearable asshole, that's just not it.

Speaking of unbearable assholes, there is a particular scene early in the novel that almost made me DNF: Philip comes into Stella’s office, casually asks her if she’s a virgin and gives an unsolicited advice from “a man who’s been around the block a few times” (I rolled my eyes so far back I could see the last of my brain cells dying). His advice is that if she goes out and fucks a lot more men, she’d be more experienced and have more luck. The entire scene is howling “sexual harassment in a workplace” and the fact that this whole encounter is just... simply glossed over in a "oh well, boys-will-be-boys" kind of way still strikes a sour note.

At the bottom of everything, that's really my problem with this book as whole: its frustrating refusal to explore and thoroughly examine so many important themes and ideas in favoe of escalating a plot that keeps a very tight, narrow focus on a romance with really questionable dynamics. I know a lot of readers felt differently about this book and will not agree, and that's fine! Regardless of my experience of this novel, I believe books like The Kiss Quotient are important for their capacity to help improve awareness and diagnosis rates for a community that's undeniably under-represented, and I really hope to see a greater plurality of representation for autism in this genre, and all genres.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
May 23, 2021
4 1/2 stars. Well, this book. I'm not even sure where to start. I guess I'll begin with an overview.

The Kiss Quotient is a seriously sexy, fun book that has rekindled my interest in the romance genre. When it hits the spot, I LOVE a good romance, but I rarely find one that goes beyond cliches and instalove so I usually end up bored. Not with this one. Not one bit.

It's the perfect blend of sweet and steamy. And let me be clear: this is not YA. There's a lot of graphic sex scenes, though I should also say that the author builds up to it really well; she knows how to tease us. It was just so nice to read a book where sex is actually sexy and not political, cold, a form of manipulation, or not sex at all because consent went out the window.

This is an ownvoices book about Stella, who has Asperger's syndrome. Convinced she needs lessons on how to be good at sex and relationships, she hires Michael, an escort, to teach her. Michael is mixed race - Vietnamese and Swedish - and described as a hotter version of k-drama star Daniel Henney. In a gender-reversed Pretty Woman scenario, the two inevitably end up developing feelings for one another.

Stella's autism makes it difficult for her to know how to behave around other people, and she also struggles with being touched. Through this, the author explores the importance of consent - Michael is deeply respectful of her boundaries and always waits for her to be 100% ready. Perhaps it sounds less sexy than the spontaneous grab-and-go on the office desk sex but it actually isn't. It's kinda wonderful.

Okay, and here's the weird thing. I don't know how to talk about this or if I really should, but I think it is worth mentioning. We talk about the importance of diverse books all the time and the way voices by POC, LGBT+, and those with disabilities are absolutely essential. They foster understanding and help a lot of people realize they are not alone. Well, I got a lesson in just how important books like this can be.

As I was reading about Stella, I started to make some comparisons. I was so affected by it that I made a list. This list:

• Extreme social anxiety
• Loss of focus; frequent "zoning out"
• Fanatic obsession with a small number of interests
• Difficulty reading verbal cues and understanding sarcasm
• No interest in playing with others as a young child
• Avoiding eye contact or overcompensating and staring
• Clumsiness and poor spacial awareness
• Called "quiet" "shy" "weird" and "odd"
• Outbursts of anger when losing or unable to complete a task
• Deep levels of frustration and anxiety when routine disturbed
• Practicing "conversation trees" in head
• Facial tics

Um, yeah. So this is me. Some of these are behaviours I exhibited as a child, but many I still do. It turns out I probably have autism. I currently only have a self-diagnosis and a score of 35 out of 40 on the Cambridge autism test (over 32 is high probability of autism) but I am pursuing a professional diagnosis.


Honestly, this book just made me feel so... understood. Everything that I've worked so hard to hide and bury about myself is normalized and even celebrated. So yeah, it is sexy as hell and really sweet, but it's also so important. Seeing as so many women and girls go undiagnosed, this book could offer validation to so many who need it.

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Profile Image for emma.
1,866 reviews54.3k followers
November 17, 2021
things about this that were very good:
- the autism rep
- the fact that while the author was researching said autism rep, she got diagnosed with autism
- this is #ownvoices for autism and asian rep! yay! cool inclusion of vietnamese culture!
- the female character is the moneymaker/works in STEM and the male character has less money/is a creative! employment gender role reversal.

things about this that were not very good, for me, personally, sorry:
- a woman getting f*cked out of some of her autism symptoms
- a man not taking no for an answer (one time a man does this and it's Bad. but when the hot love interest does it, it is Very Very Good, apparently.)
- i did not like the smut and i am sorry but i did not
- the word "quirky" turns me off a character faster than you can say not like other girls
- the protector-man gender roles were so bad
- also so much "chicks love that romantic stuff" and "men never talk about feelings" type gender roles
- felt pretty insta-lovey to me. like one second both are like "we cannot be in love!!!! never will we allow ourselves!!!" and the next. boom. lovefest city, population these two nerds.

anyway. this book didn't work for me but clearly i'm in the teeniest minority in world history so.

bottom line: read this if it sounds good to you i guess? basically the bottom line of all my reviews is "please do not feel compelled to listen to my opinion and/or take it seriously."


this is...a lot.
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
May 14, 2020
3.5 or 4? Not sure, but I’ll bump it up on Goodreads just because I personally enjoyed it despite some of its faults! It’s a cute, light, and fluffy read with very minimal conflict and stakes, making this an easy and simple book to indulge myself in a mental break. The relationship dynamics (the successful woman + the sweet guy who pines after her and thinks she’s too good for him) and the male love interest (so patient and sensitive!) are right up my alley, and I also enjoyed the smut scenes for how steamy they were.

Downsides: it’s very instalove-y to the point where it can be distractingly unrealistic and contrived, though I tried my best to just go with it haha. And though I didn’t mind minimal conflict for the sake of light reading, when the book does try to ramp up with conflict towards the end, it’s done with very contrived miscommunication that was a little frustrating and too drawn out. The sudden character development in gaining confidence also felt thrown in for the sake of wrapping up the story. I think the book is better when it goes along with the light and fluffy moments and smutty scenes, rather than trying to add conflict or narrative developments, which doesn’t work as well.
Profile Image for Ayman.
210 reviews84.7k followers
September 15, 2021
this shit had no reason to be that cute and filthy as it was. my ovaries were shaking
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
January 11, 2022

This was my pick for the June 2018 Book of the Month box!

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“I like you better than calculus, and math is the only thing that unites the universe.”

Friends, The Kiss Quotient is so deserving of every ounce of hype it has received thus far. I am not sure I’ve ever been so happy, and had such a lame grin on my face, while reading any other book. This was heartwarming, beautiful, and a treat to read. Don’t sleep on this one. Also, Michael and Stella are both partner goals, I swear.

This is an ownvoices novel about autistic woman who has succeeded in every aspect of her life, except for love. Her mother is putting pressure on her to find someone and start thinking about family, now that she turned thirty. Plus, Stella is kind of lonely anyway, and as much as she loves throwing herself into her work, she wants to spend her life with someone who she can completely be herself with. The problem is, Stella thinks her autism makes her unable to successfully date, and maybe even unable to be good at/enjoy sex. So, she hires the dreamiest escort to help her!

“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.”

The thing is, Michael is an escort that doesn’t do more than one session per client. Yet, after his and Stella’s first night, he might be willing to make an exception. Michael is biracial (Vietnamese and Swedish), fashion designer, and has always put his family first, especially after the way his father left them all. Michael’s mother is also battling cancer, and the medical bills are piling up.

Trigger and content warnings for unwanted touching and forced kissing, lowkey sexual harassment, anxiety attacks, abandonment, a loved one with a chronic illness, a fatphobic comment/insult, and someone telling someone else about a person’s diagnosis.

Also, this book has very explicit and graphic sex scenes. But, like, all of the sex scenes in this book are 11/10. So damn hot, I swear. I have a lot more experience with sex than Stella, but I would happily let Michael teach me a thing or two. *clutches pearls forever* But please use caution if that is something you do not enjoy in your books!

But besides the steamy sex, the beautiful romance, and the lovely messages that are inside this book, my favorite part is that this book never shames Michael for being an escort, and it sure in the hell doesn’t shame Stella for being on the autism spectrum. A lot of other conflicts happen throughout, but those two things are never put in a negative light and it was such a blessing.

And I never expect a fiction book to teach me anything, but this book gave me such a wonderful glimpse and perspective into some people’s autism. (Obviously, I know that no two people are the same!) From overstimulation with lights, sounds, and smells, to the preferred clothing, to focusing everything into one thing, to the importance of schedules, lists, and reminders! This book was really insightful, and I loved that about it.

The importance of consent is always at the forefront of this novel. I think that’s why most people who are reading this right now are so in love with Michael, and it’s because he always is thoughtful and so very patient with Stella. He truly puts her needs first, and makes sure he is never overstepping any line that she is not willing to cross.

And I just loved Stella Lane as a character. She is actually probably my favorite heroine of 2018. Not only does she know who she is, she refuses to change for anyone, even the guy she has fallen in love with. I had happy tears in my eyes so much while reading this, and it was mostly just because I was so proud of her. Michael might be most people’s wet dream, but Stella felt like the character I’ve been searching literature for forever.

“But I want you to know I can handle the truth. If I’m not enough for you, that’s fair and I accept it. I’ll get over you eventually. I don’t want to be coddled or lied to because of what I am. I don’t need your pity friendship”

Overall, this was such a perfect read! I loved this from first to last page, and I couldn’t put it down. Here, I’ll really sell you on how good this book is: Muse of Nightmares, my most anticipated release of 2018, came in the mail while I was reading this book. And you know what I did? I finished The Kiss Quotient before starting it. Seriously, this is a masterpiece. And I can’t wait to see what Helen Hoang does next.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 120 books159k followers
May 6, 2018
The Kiss Quotient is quite the unexpected romance novel. Stella Lane is on the spectrum and wants to get better at sex so she can, hopefully, find a life partner and start the family her parents so very much want her to have. To get better at sex she hires Michael, an escort with a lot of debt and a few secrets but who, somehow, is exactly the man she needs. Of course he is! That's how romance novels work. But this is such a fun read and it's also quite original and sexy and sensitive. Stella is a really compelling protagonist and Hoang does a fine job of showing us who this woman is and how she negotiates a world that isn't as welcoming to her as she deserves. Lots to admire her! Well worth a read.
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.7k followers
December 6, 2018
Not exactly the wow-worthy read I was expecting.

There’s been a ton of buzz surrounding this novel and I would say, rightly so for one reason. With this story, Helen Hoang gives voice to a syndrome that until now has been absent in the romance genre. Through her cast of endearing characters, she explores the importance of self-acceptance and the desire we all have to find that one person who makes establishing an intimate relationship feel effortless. I just wish I had enjoyed the plot as much as the characters she created. Viewing the world through an autistic lens brings a fresh energy to the storyline initially, but it doesn't take long for the formulaic feel of the plot to overshadow the quirkiness of the cast.

A gender-swapped Pretty Woman of sorts, The Kiss Quotient introduces the reader to Stella Lane, an incredibly smart and driven, thirty-something, living with high-functioning Asperger’s. Her social awkwardness, lack of interpersonal skills and myriad of other eccentricities have been a hinderance on her relationship status. Her best bet, she figures, is to start by improving her skills in the bedroom.

So, how does one go about getting better at sex? I guess, if you’re rich and lacking in social skills, you hire a male escort to teach you a few things. Who better to learn from than a professional, right? Lucky for Stella, Michael is the perfect specimen of a man. Tailor by day, sexual escort every Friday night and all around good guy—what could go wrong? In the real world, probably a lot; but this is fiction. Predictable fiction.

What's a romance novel without a happy ending?—it's pretty much a given this is going to happen. Aside from the character traits I admired in both Stella and Michael, their love story felt dare I say . . . basic. Their budding relationship narrowly avoids insta-love, is paved with convenience and the will-they/won't-they is fueled solely by miscommunication on both their parts, which takes on a stale note rather quickly. And while we would all love to fall for someone who completely understand us—no questions asked—it’s unrealistic to think it would ever happen this easily.

Despite all of my issues with the plot, I still found this to be a worthwhile read. My big takeaway—Helen Hoang’s message in the Author's Note following Stella and Michael's story—be unapologetically you.

“As I pursued and eventually attained a diagnosis (at age thirty-four), Stella, my autistic heroine, was born on the page. It has never been so easy for me to write a character. I knew her intimately. She came from my heart. I didn’t have to filter my thoughts to make her socially acceptable, something I’d been unconsciously doing for ages. And this freedom allowed me to find my voice. Before this, I’d been using every other author’s writing style, trying to be someone else. When I wrote The Kiss Quotient, I became myself, and I’ve been unapologetically myself ever since. Sometimes instead of confining you, a label can set you free.”

*Thanks to Berkley for providing my copy.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,207 reviews19.7k followers
September 18, 2021
“I’m obsessed with you, Michael,” she confessed.

This story still has me losing my mind. I’m obsessed with it in every way and each time I reread it, I don’t think my obsession can grow but it does.

I adored the journey both these characters went on. Both have held themselves back. Both haven’t actualised the life they want for themselves but they come together and everything falls into place. Well, almost everything. We go on a journey with them to find the people that they were supposed to be, apart and together.

I remember reading this for the first time and loving the small insight I got into the escort business. I loved seeing what it meant to be autistic and not seeing it as a disorder, but as a part of who you are amongst everything else.

I appreciated how unapologetic Stella became. How comfortable she became in her skin. It was so powerful to read.

What seals the deal off even more is the Author’s Note. Not only was this a journey for Stella, but for Helen Hoang too.

It just reinforces how much I love what fiction can do. Storytelling is the most perfect of ways to understand others. There are emotions that get triggered when we read that allows us to form a deep bond to the story and its characters, all because of the way an author decides to tell that story. Because they chose to be vulnerable.
It leads us to remember thing that meant something to us and allows us to reminisce specific aspects that have touched us the most, because at the end of the day, storytelling deals with subject matters that make us fundamentally human.

The sex scenes are still, hands down, some of the best I’ve read. I still have problems breathing properly whenever I read them. It’s so intimate but filthy as fuck too.

This remains one of my favourite books ever.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,912 reviews33k followers
October 7, 2018
5+ Stars!!!


There isn't much better as a reader than finding a debut novel that you have zero expectations for, and it blowing you away. The Kiss Quotient did just that. Helen Hoang wrote a book that is smart, sexy, made me laugh, and gave me just the right amount of feels. There wasn't one thing I would change about this story or the characters. I loved everything about it! 

Stella Lane is a thirty year old econometrician who is smart and successful, but lacking in one area of her life. Relationships. After her mother pressuring her to settle down and meet someone, Stella decides it's time she gives it a try. Stella has Aspergers, a high-functioning form of Autism that makes her a little awkward when it comes to relationships, sex, and certain social situations. Due to this, she decides to hire an escort to 'teach' her how to navigate this. 

This is where Michael enters. Michael is an escort, but he's so much more than that. He is a stand-up guy who only escorts on Friday nights as a way to help his family financially. Honestly, he feels that he has no choice. When he meets Stella, he is stunned someone like her would hire an escort. She fascinates him. Michael is kind to Stella, he's patient and understanding to her situation. So much so, that being with him one night won't do. 
These were supposed to be simple sex lessons. Why was it getting so complicated?

Michael and Stella develop a friendship and relationship of sorts. One of my favorite things about this book was seeing how Michael grew to care for Stella, embraced her quirks and handled everything that made her different. Both of these characters made my heart so happy. I adored them both and wanted nothing more than their relationship/friendship to go to the next level. 

One thing I found so refreshing about this book is Stella's character. I could tell Hoang knew what she was talking about when she wrote Stella. Even though Stella is much different than me, she was very relateable.  Michael and Stella brought out the best in one another and their connection and chemistry were off the charts. 

The Kiss Quotient is quite honestly one of the best books I've read this year. It was perfection. The story is refreshing and unique, and the writing is intelligent and fresh. I can't wait to see what else Helen Hoang has in store. I'll definitely be reading every and anything else she puts out! 

Profile Image for lisa (lh44's version).
163 reviews772 followers
August 22, 2023
i am sorry but under no circumstance i can have "you're milking my fingers stella" in a book.

one star for stella, you deserve the world
Profile Image for Penelope Douglas.
Author 39 books72.1k followers
October 23, 2017
I started reading this Friday night on a plane, and as usual, I suspected I probably wouldn't make it past chapter 3 before just putting on my headphones and opening up my laptop to write instead. Most of my readers know I don't read much romance anymore, not because it's not good, but because I write it all day, I kind of need a break when I'm reading for pleasure. So I veer toward other genres.

It's like a hairstylist, you know? You think their families would constantly be able to get their hair done, but oh, no. They're the last people to get their hair done! A stylist comes home, that's the last thing they want to do! lol

So anyway, I started reading. And I kept reading. By chapter 2 I was laughing. By chapter 3 I was like "oh, yeah." By chapter 5 I was denying my complimentary pretzels and Sprite. And by chapter 12 my tired eyes were glancing between my Kindle screen and the hotel room clock, knowing I had to be up for a signing in 7 hours, and should I go to sleep or...ok, just after this part and then I'll definitely go to bed.

The author gives us an incredible hero in this story. He has a tough hurdle to overcome, but he's noble and strong but also incredibly hot. He has just the right amount of edge and a touch of bad boy, but at the same time he's doing what he has to do and he's the only man who understands Stella. This guy from a completely different world than her is the only man who can talk to her and connect with her. When they strip everything away and are alone, close and quiet, they are everything the other one will ever need.

Stella is strong and smart, educated and awkward in social situations, and I absolutely loved her. I connected with her. What built between these pages was a relationship between a striving woman and the man she hired to help her, both of whom never expected or tried to make it happen. It wasn't supposed to happen. The lines of the professional relationship start to blur, and slowly, their bond seals, even as they try to resist it.

I loved this story. I loved both of the characters. I adored the side characters and how everything felt natural, the writing flowed, and the heat and need and longing for someone you're not supposed to fall for got stronger and stronger.

And I really wish Hoang had more books out right now!

Give this one a try when it releases, everyone! You won't be sorry!! And I can't wait to read your thoughts. And have others to swoon with <3 Because I feel so alone right now. Lol
February 5, 2022
AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! okay i’m lowkey embarrassed it took me so long to read this HAHA but LISTEN it was worth every second of the wait! I love stella so much, and her story had my heart SOARINNN’ (breaking free vibes!) & michael? my guy!!! gentleman in the streets BUT A FREAK IN THE BED 🤸 This book had me hooked the entire time & i adored seeing the aspergers representation and the diversity in the characters. 5 economic stars ⭐️!!

i’ll leave you w my two favorite quotes:

“Michael was mint chocolate chip for her. She could try other flavors, but he would always be her favorite.” 🖤

“Two lonely halves found comfort together” 🤍
Profile Image for pauline.
129 reviews22.5k followers
July 9, 2021
this has an average of 3.89!?!?!? Ya’ll wild this book is phenomenal 20/5 would recommend ✋🏼
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.4k followers
June 13, 2018
Re-read 6/12/18: Hi hello I am still SO obsessed with this book. If you haven’t read it yet, PLEASE READ IT. You absolutely will not regret it.

Original read 5/2/18: I am a swooney mess, oh my LANTA. I haven’t swooned this hard since Joshua Templeman. My heart is so happy right now, I can’t even. WHAT A ROMANCE.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
May 23, 2021
I love this book.
Alright, I am just going to up my rating to 5 stars. I devoured every sweet, smutty page of this story. Again. While I am not blind to this romance’s flaws, I simply love it. I feel like this story was written exclusively for me.

Original review
The last time I enjoyed a romance novel this much was... hm, I think the word I am reaching for is NEVER. I am always looking for good love stories but rarely find them. This book scratched my romance itch just right. I pretty much loved it.

So the setup goes like this. An autistic econometritian unable to form relationships and under pressure from her mom to start a family hires a male escort to teach how to “be good at sex” so she knows how to attract and keep a man. She doesn’t really like to be touched, so this challenge is no joke. If you’ve read romances or at least watched Pretty Woman, you can see what happens next. The escort Stella hires is hot and fun, and most importantly, kind.

You know how you read something soul-crushing like Cat Person or that notorious recap of a date with Aziz Ansari and get nauseous and depressed? Well “The Kissing Quotient” is the opposite of that. It is a celebration of human connection, consent, pleasure and, as clinical as it sounds, enthusiastically reading the other person’s nonverbal cues.

As it always happens with romance novels, I did lose a little interest once the hottest part was over and the inevitable dramatic breakup started unfolding before the final sprint to HEA (I am not really keen on wedding, engagements, babies, etc.) To the author’s credit, the novel mostly stayed away from tedious misunderstandings I loathe.

But all in all this was a fantastic experience. A romance equally hot and sweet.

You can request it on Netgalley.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,072 reviews51.3k followers
June 14, 2018
well i promised myself i wasn't going to 5 star this, but then the author's note at the end made me cry like a lil bitch

this book was so excellent. like the blurb says, it's about a woman with autism who hires a male escort to help her with her own perceived social ineptitude. but honestly it's just a perfectly romantic story about two people who just really get and accept everything about each other.

what did i like: almost everything but here's an actual list
- stella had a typically masculine job & michael had a traditionally female one!!! we love gendered job reversals!!!! (ALSO SWEDISH VIETNAMESE MALE LEAD)
- stella was a REAL person and not just a diagnosis (who wasn't woe is me about it either!)
- everything was on STELLA's terms... never pushed to have sex she was uncomfortable with
- that being said there was a lot of hot sex™ that imo was not overdone
- so many moments where i was GENUINELY clutching my chest at the romance

what i did not like
- michael's hang ups.... ur a grown adult man. get a grip a little bit??
- douchey pervs that didn't have to meet their maker
- wish there were more snippets of daily life to make the relationship a liiiiittle more fleshed out
- that's literally it, i'm not satan in a sundress today folks, this book rocked

in general, i think you will love this if you feel like you haven't met your "person" yet or if you have and are really really happy about it. i love understanding, i love communication. thanks book, for having both.

buddy read with a fellow romance loving pal, haley!
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,739 reviews5,281 followers
January 7, 2022
#1 The Kiss Quotient ★★★★★
#2 The Bride Test ★★★★☆
#3 The Heart Principle ★★★★★

Sometimes, you hear so much hype for a book that you reach the point where you’re almost afraid to read it, because your hopes are so high that you just know, if it disappoints you even an iota, you’re going to be totally crushed… right? It’s the worst feeling and it can make it so hard to finally pick up that superlatively popular read, because nobody wants to be the only person who hates a book, right?

“All the things that make you different make you perfect.”

Nah, I’m just playing with you guys—this book was everything I ever hoped it would be and more. Oh, my gosh, I cannot even describe how much I adored this book! I literally picked it up with the goal of reading a few chapters for my buddy read, and bam! , it was way past my bedtime and I was sitting here in some sort of shocked state, like, “How do I even follow up how freaking perfect that was?!”

She wasn’t broken. She saw and interacted with the world in a different way, but that was her.

Seriously, The Kiss Quotient is worth every single ounce of hype it has received and so much more. The chemistry is on fire, the story is so fun and captivating, and these characters—you can’t help but love them. Stella is incredible. I loved being inside her head, and knowing that it’s own-voice autism rep, I wasn’t surprised by how much of what she said mirrored things my own autistic loved ones have shared with me (as well as feelings I myself have had, having strongly suspected that I am autistic for a very long time but never having sought out a diagnosis).

Michael was mint chocolate chip for her. She could try other flavors, but he’d always be her favorite.

While Stella is the star, Michael is honestly just as lovable and precious as she is. He’s this biracial Vietnamese/Swedish man, though the only family we meet of his is the Vietnamese side, and they are all so lovable and wonderful, even down to his obnoxious sisters. I loved every scene in his mother’s home, I loved his dedication to his mother and family in general, and I just cherished all of Michael’s motives and inner dialogue so much.

“I don’t want just a night or a week or a month with you. I want you all the time.”

Between the cuteness, the math, the fake dating trope done flawlessly, the steamy sweet moments, and the fantastic focus on consent… I honestly have nothing but good things to say about The Kiss Quotient. Instead of rambling on, I’ll just echo the tons of other people saying if you haven’t read this book, you need to! It’s wonderful, charming, sad, heavy, and sweet, all wrapped up into one emotional little bundle of romance, sex, and family.


Buddy read with Owl!
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,605 reviews10.7k followers
December 27, 2022
**4.5-steamy stars rounded up**

This book filled my heart with so many feels. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better; my cup runneth over.

Thank you, Michael Phan. I love you.

((Focus, Meg. Focus!))

Feeling pressured by her parents, Stella Lane, decides she needs help in the relationship department.

She's of a certain age and they, especially her mom, are expecting things from her; like grandchildren.

Stella, who has Asperger's, finds direct contact and intimacy extremely difficult.

She is hoping with some professional guidance, she can at least learn enough to make it work with an appropriate match. Therefore, she hires a male escort to teach her.

As you do...

Introducing Michael Phan, who I literally fell in love with in the first 20-pages of the story.

Talk about Instalove!

The Reader gets taken on a journey through Stella and Michael's sessions. Personally, I was thinking, maybe Stella is on to something.

Michael was so kind and had such patience with her. I dare you not to find him attractive!

The scenes were steamy, but still tender in an oddly compelling way. There is a lot of dirty talk though, so if that is not your thing, you may want to avoid this, but otherwise, give it a shot!

Obviously, towards the end, I did get frustrated a bit with the lack of communication between the characters, but I understand you do need some drama to keep it compelling.

Ultimately, I was very pleased with the conclusion!

I would definitely recommend this to other Adult Romance Readers, although I feel like I am actually the last one to read it. I am really looking forward to continuing on with the companion novels in this series.

Profile Image for Cas.
119 reviews558 followers
April 10, 2022
How good was the spice, you might ask?
My legs are divorced now.

For a reversed version of Pretty Woman this was too cute and wholesome.
The plot was so captivating! I loved the characters.
It was very refreshing to read about a struggling male mc.

Michael is a blueprint with his own set of problems. He meets Stella who is autistic and has confidence issues. The way their relationship develops was very nicely written.

It was so fluffy and sexy I can’t even 🤧
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,480 reviews79k followers
September 30, 2022
This book was so easy to love; I can see why it's getting all the attention it so richly deserves. The Kiss Quotient is the perfect example of own voices that we desperately crave more of. The author is more than qualified to write this story, and I really appreciate how she accurately portrayed the characters and also how she included a deeper aspect of understanding what Stella's parents have journeyed through as well. Highly recommend the audio version as the narrator was engaging and pleasant to listen to.
Adding on another library audio because I’m needing something upbeat to balance out all of the dark reads. My daughter was diagnosed with ASD when she was 3 years old and identifies on the side of the spectrum that was formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome, so I will greedily devour most any novel that features a female Aspie.
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,263 reviews2,439 followers
April 14, 2023

This romantic novel written by Helen Hoang tells us the story of Stella Lane, who has Asperger's, and the escort she hires named Michael Phan. The author tries to portray the complicated relationship between them.

The initial part of this novel was a little soporific and vapid due to the cringy sex scenes. I badly wanted to DNF this book at that time. Still, I somehow continued reading it, and I was not disappointed. After the initial part, this book's fundamental dynamics changes due to the author's succinct writing style giving more importance to the central theme instead of gratuitously going deep into the subplots like some other authors. Many sycophantic society ladies were ready to throw money at Michael. Michael proves in this novel that the biggest weapon we can use against them is love.

What I learned from this book
1) Who is an Econometrician?
Stella Lane is a sagacious econometrician in this novel. This is a job that we are not so familiar with. An econometrician is an individual who uses statistical and mathematical formulas to produce objective results. Econometricians are very important in this modern world of online shopping. They study and predict consumer behavior for brand management. They are also crucial in Neuromarketing. They are having a pivotal role in controlling the business in this internet era.
"I am an Econometrician. It is Economics with more math. Math is the single most elegant thing in the universe, and economics is what drives the human world. If you want to understand people in a sophisticated manner, I believe economics is the way."

2) True love
The study of the human psyche says that one of the most common defense mechanisms involved in love is splitting. It means that we will see only the good part of the lover, and our mind totally ignores and can't see their bad part in the initial honeymoon phase. But in this novel, Helen Hoang created her main characters differently.

Michael tried to transgress his principles of life to the maximum extend. But he later had to violate it due to the obstacles he had to face. Veracity is the most decisive element of his character. Even though Stella felt that his story was little apocryphal, she understood his genuine nature amid his fragility. They saw each other's vulnerabilities together in the initial part itself. They started loving each other only after that. This can be considered as true love and not a simple attraction as only true love works out like that (not always, though). This reminds us of a verse from the Holy Bible, which considers true love as loving the other person with all their flaws. Stella started to truly love him despite all his shortcomings precisely like that.
“It's never too late for true love.”

3) How should we face our problems in our life?
When we reach a point that seems like a dead-end, we will be totally perplexed and loses hope in our life. We might be forced to do certain things against our will at that time. The author tells us not to lose hope and continue trying to be a good human being because miracles certainly happen in good people's lives.
“We are not going to go around your problems. We are going to go through them”

My favourite three lines from this book
“All the things that make you different make you perfect.”

“I like you better than calculus, and math is the only thing that unites the universe.”

“You can’t hurt someone when they don’t have a heart.”

What could have been better?
Sex scenes in the initial part were too cringy for my liking.

4/5 The topic this novel is trying to discuss is nothing new. But you will most probably love this book due to the author's excellent writing skills.

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Profile Image for Hulya Kara Yuksel.
932 reviews1,129 followers
May 27, 2019
YESSSSSS! 2018 GR Choice Awards - Best Romance - Winner :)


Even Sarah J. Maas recommends this book! Pls watch this video clip. :P


Attention please! This book is going to be a movie soon. OMG I can't wait to see Stella & Michael on the screen. 😍😍😍
For more info, pls read this article! ❤


One of the best books of 2018 and THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ!!! :)
I'm begging you, please don't miss out this beautiful story. <3 I highly recommend it. ;)

“All the things that make you different make you perfect.”

Michael <3 *sigh* Trust me, you have to meet with him ASAP!!! :)
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
July 4, 2019
well, if this wasnt just the most wholesome story i have read in a while. my goodness. this was so pure.

i think romance books have improved so much lately. its been quite wonderful to see romance stories with so much depth to them, beyond just two people in love/lust. not that the swoon-worthy parts arent great, but now i can actually say i read the books for the plot, and mean it. :P

what i really enjoyed about this book, specifically, was getting the opportunity to read from the perspective of character who has autism. having such a unique character made it very interesting to read about how differently emotions can be processed and interrupted. this story made me think about what romance means to not only me, but other people. i will admit, at times the plot was a little unrealistic. but i thought the characters were the most real thing about this story. they felt very authentic and genuine and helped the story feel more natural.

after reading this, i can completely understand the massive attention this book has gotten over the past few months. its the perfect story for those looking for a lovely feel-good book to end their summer!

4 stars
Profile Image for Meredith (Trying to catch up!).
814 reviews12.7k followers
June 25, 2018
3.5 stars

To sum up my reading experience of The Kiss Quotient, I would have to say it’s like, not love.

I really wanted to love The Kiss Quotient. While I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it. I think the hype ruined it for me, as I had mighty high expectations going into this.

25-year-old econometrician Stella has autism; she’s high functioning but has trouble with social skills and intimacy, amongst other issues. Her mother wants grandbabies and pressures her to date. But Stella does not enjoy dating, nor does she like sex. When someone suggests to Stella that she practice honing her sexual skills, she takes their advice and hires male escort Michael, to teach her what she does not know. Michael happens to have a conscious and quickly realizes that Stella is different than the other woman that hire him. Genuinely wanting to help Stella, he goes against his rule of spending only one night with a client and allows Stella to book him for multiple sessions. The two fall in love, but must fight through their insecurities to stay together.

“She had a disorder, but it didn’t define her. She was Stella. She was a unique person.”

Stella’s character is what makes The Kiss Quotient stand out from other romances. It’s clear Hoang did her research and seamlessly incorporates Stella’s insecurities stemming from her autism. Autistic women don’t usually show up in romances, and Hoang takes a risk with Stella’s character. I also really liked Michael’s character; Hoang truly creates Stella’s perfect match with Michael.

This is fast-paced, addictive, easy read. The premise is a little out there, but it makes sense especially after reading Hoang’s Author’s note. I just wish it hadn’t been so predictable. I saw how everything could play out very early on the book but I was hoping that Stella and Michael’s romance would take a different path; one that is as unique as their characters. Outside of Stella having autism, I feel like I have read books like this before. I was hoping for something a little more outside of the box, but it was overly predictable. Overall, I found this to be a fun, fluffy, and unfortunately, formulaic read.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews595 followers
November 1, 2018
Update.. This is going to be a feature film!!!!
If you haven’t read this charming book yet...
consider it!!!!!

I’m completely mush over this debut.
Author Helen Hoang moved me to tears ...
( embarrassing to say how much)...

I found it so heartwarming- that even the word heartwarming isn’t big enough.
A love story .... that I loved!
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,302 reviews43.9k followers
February 20, 2022
This is my weekend re-reading choice: the goldies not so oldies romances you should read to heal your soul!
I’m telling you my dears, if you skip reading this book, you cannot be considered as romance addict.

This book is sweetest, softest, most charming, loveliest gender verse Pretty Woman with thought provoking, realistic approach to Asperger’s syndrome.

Extra smart, sensitive Stella might be my favorite heroine of the trilogy ( I don’t know if the fourth book comes out but I never say no to sequels if they’re written by brilliant Helen Hoang) She has commitment issues. She needs to be coached by an experienced person before she can start a relationship of her own.
This coach could be sexually experienced, sweet, tender, Michael Phan!

They’re combustible in bed! The blazing chemistry can put on entire romance universe on fire! Especially their passionate kisses melt your hearts!

They’re incredibly cute and one of my favorite fiction couples!

The book is not only sexy, the emotions are pouring out from the pages, drawling you into this forbidden, opposite attract, sweetest, kindest, dreamy love story! So many awww and argh moments later, the angsty parts stab your heart in several times but don’t worry, those parts are not too long. You can relax and enjoy the sentimental moments while you’re sniffing loudly and sighing at least hundred times.

I had quiet amazing time during my re-reading journey! If you need a quick escape from harsh realities of your life, please pick this book up and never let it go!
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