I do not typically read romance novels. Yet, when I saw the synopsis of The Kiss Quotient I wanted to read it so much I skipped the library wait and bought the paper version. I was mostly drawn in by the main character. She is in her 30s, does predictive analysis, and has Asperger's. Then to top it off she is drawn to martial arts and K-drama. While my K-drama obsession is non existent my Taekwondo obsession is alive and well making this the most like me character that I have ever seen.
Which is probably why this book only received four stars instead if five. That and the plot given way to sex scenes - I did mention I don't typically read romance.
I think Helen Hoang is a great author and this is an own voices book written while the author was receiving her own diagnosis of autism. In a way it is like an exploration of what it means to be autistic.
However, as a reader with Aspergers bringing up two kids on the spectrum there are two things I did not find as realistic with the main character. The first is that everything came so dang easy to her. She was rich and she worked in a company that accepted her just as she is. Most people on the spectrum cannot just buy their way out of sensory issues. The second is that she worried about her autism too much. This may just be a me thing, but I am proud of my diagnosis. What I worry about is the actual difficulties I have - such as social communication. Stella seemed to be the exact opposite. She did not have to worry about any of the repercussions of her disorder, just the title.
Also, the way the first chapter described SAS was weird and inaccurate. While I understand and relate to Stella's geeking out of data sets the way it was described was awkward. However, as the book moved on it became less awkward. I am uncertain if this is because the descriptions themselves were less awkward or because the became more about economics, a topic I am less familiar with as I am a social scientist.
Yet, it is a romance novel and there is a reason that I typically do not read them. I would rather the pages devoted to sex be given away to plot and character development.
My review is probably a bit too analytical. I did enjoy the book. I do think the characters were distinct and developed. I also think the writing was well done. The Kiss Quotient is well deserving of the four stars and I plan on continuing to read Hoang's books. Probably in paperback since that is how I started. I just hope the next book has slightly more depth. It is so easy to turn autism into a caricature or the sole defining aspect of a person.
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