THE BRIDE TEST
by Helen Hoang
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Reviewed by Hellie
Summary: GO BUY THIS BOOK NOW. Now, now, now. Why are you still here? This is the most readable, funny, heartfelt, amazing romance you’re going to read this summer. And if you haven’t read the other book, THE KISS QUOTIENT yet, buy it too. Immediately. You may recall my feelings for THE KISS QUOTIENT (read Hellie's review)--basically the book was a unicorn, a beautiful magical unicorn. This book is the unicorn’s magical beautiful baby.
This is the book blurb, which I’m going to quote entirely: “Khai Diep has no feelings. Well,not big, important feelings 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-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. Her lessons in love work...but only on herself.
“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.”
I cannot decide which character I love more. I really cannot. Khai, who is a little damaged but a lot whole, who loves his family--though he’d never call it that--and who performs acts of service for those he cares for. He’s a little rough around the edges; he likes what he likes as he likes them (who doesn’t?). Esme is the ultimate heroine to root for: she’s brave, she’s smart, she’s willing to do what it takes to succeed and have the best life for herself and her family. All through this story I was rooting for Khai to figure out he loved Esme so he could save her, keep her in America, and have a happily ever after--but the author did so much better than that. I would say more--I would say everything--but I want you to read it and love it yourself. This book is everything that is right about romance novels and how they empower women and how they show the different ways we love--and how all those ways are valid and perfect.
Already--this book is barely out--I am looking forward to Helen Hoang’s next book. I hope it’s Khai’s brother, Quan. He’s a riot and he’s smart. But I will read whatever Helen puts out next: her writing bursts off the page and keeps you engaged until the end. I received this book in February--and I had other books that needed to be reviewed first--and I read this one first, in one day, and wanted to read it again. I think you’re going to do the same.