Cover Image: The Bride Test

The Bride Test

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Member Reviews

My expectations for this one were sky high going in, and Helen Hoang did not disappoint. Having read her debut novel in one sitting and continually forcing people to read it for months, I was a little nervous The Bride Test wouldn't meet my expectations. But I certainly had nothing to worry about. This contemporary romance wasn't put down till I got through the last page... at 4 in the morning. 
With refreshing authenticity, wonderfully developed characters, and a thought-provoking love story, The Bride Test  is bound to sweep anyone off their feet.
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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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A sweet follow-up to one of my favorite debuts. Helen Hoang does a beautiful job of creating characters who feel real -- with honest emotions and problems to face -- while keeping the tone light and sweet overall.
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I enjoyed this one, but I didn't love it the way I did THE KISS QUOTIENT. There was something missing that was in the first book. I don't know if it's just that I had a harder time relating to Esme and the way she is trying to trick Khai? I still enjoyed the book and think Helen Hoang is a fantastic author. I love that she features autistic main characters as well and normalizes them. I wanted so much for this book, and while I still recommend it at work, I don't focus on it as I do the first one.
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MY RATING: 4/5 STARS
I received an ARC from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for a honest review. 

You guys! If you're new, I'm a fan of Helen Hoang ever since the coveted The Kiss Quotient released last year. I sound so annoying because literally everyone is a fan of Helen's writing especially since she's a writer of own voices and all the jazz. And like her dirty scenes are always so steamy that I need to not read it in public. I'm so happy for Helen's success this past year with her debut so when I had the opportunity to read The Bride Test, I was ready to go. 

The Bride Test follows Khai who is on the spectrum just like Stella from The Kiss Quotient. He's doing really well being alone by the way. If he hasn't mentioned it already to his brother and overbearing mother, he wants you to know that his set routine of spending evenings alone is exactly what he wants to do forever until maybe he dies. But his mother is not convinced and knows Khai deserves a woman who understands him. Without his knowledge, his mom brings home a nice Vietnamese girl named Esme who spends the summer with him. If he doesn't like her, Esme goes back home to her daughter and mother while also getting the amazing experience of America and also having the opportunity to find her biological father. 

The relationship starts off rough. Khai needs to adjust to Esme's way of things from her cooking to her cleaning the bushes in her backyard in her figure hugging pants, they get along with each other in the end. Khai and Esme develop this lovely relationship but she doesn't really understand what being on the spectrum means so it leads to a lot of miscommunication issues among the couple. The worst happens when Khai doesn't believe he could ever love anyone no matter how amazing they are and how unwell he's doing without said person. 

This book was good. But was it as good as The Kiss Quotient? Maybe I held The Kiss Quotient too high up on a pedestal when I was reading it because of the amazing hype so now I think The Bride Test as to attest to something that was never as great as I thought of in the first place. Or maybe The Kiss Quotient was just that good and while Khai's story was heart-warming, it wasn't as good as Stella and Michael's love story. I can't explain it but it didn't hit the mark perfectly for me but yes, I did cry. I cried when we learned more about Khai's grief and his relationship with his late cousin. 

And of course, I cried more during the author's note. I definitely recommend you guys to read Helen's author's note. It explains so much and why this story was told the way it was. 

MY RECOMMENDATION
REAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD THIS.
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I really wanted to like this book. But it felt incredibly tropey, and not in a good way. It romanticized poverty, and its key takeaway was that everything in your life will be okay as long as you fall in love with a hot rich American.
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I don't traditionally read romance, but after reading this second Hoang book and absolutely LOVING it, I'm pretty sure I would read ANYTHING she published at this point. I can't wait for 2021 and book 3!
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I really loved this book! I love it when books include autism rep, and this made me smile so much. Esme is such a sweet character that I really came to love, and Khai melted my heart and he worked his way through his journey to learn about the kind of man he is. I found their love story to be inspiring because it's so different from anything I've read. It made me feel hopeful. Very sweet.
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I, like so many readers in Romancelandia, fell so hard for The Kiss Quotient. It was one of the sweetest, sexiest and most tender novels from last year. With such high praise, The Bride Test has a lot to live up to.

First off, The Bride Test has a different feel. Where Stella wanted to experience romance in The Kiss Quotient, there's a lack of it in The Bride Test, at least initially. That's because Esme has been foisted upon Khai as a potential bride by his worried and well-meaning mother. Esme agrees to leave Vietnam for the States where she's expected to woo him and if all goes well, the family will be planning a wedding by summer's end. It's a tall order to expect of someone who's never met the potential groom-to-be and who also happens to have no interest whatsoever in getting hitched. Khai has autism which impacts his interpersonal skills so he doesn't get social cues or read people the same way someone who isn't on the autism spectrum would. The only person with whom he ever got on with and who understood him was his cousin. Khai's convinced himself that he's this dark, broken person unworthy of anything good. So he'd rather stick to his routine and be content with the way things are.

I'm a bit confused by Esme. She's sweet and stronger than I could've imagined. You'd have to be if you're going to uproot yourself for a mad plan like this. But she has a lot at stake back home so she can't turn down the offer Khai's mom puts in front of her. She doesn't understand Khai's behaviour and is unaware of his condition. All she can think to do is try to make his very bland bachelor lifestyle less bachelor-y and more home-y. She tries to introduce a little bit of home by introducing traditional Vietnamese things she likes in hopes that they'll catch his attention. I certainly was not expecting some of the other stuff she winds up doing such as assimilating herself into American culture and going to school. This is what I mean about how strong she is. She has no family here and misses those she left behind, but she's making the most while she's in America. And for all his complaining about her, Khai does get used to having her around and wouldn't you know, starts developing feelings though they feel pretty alien to him. Esme not only baffles him and tests him, she's also patient with him which is something that he's not accustomed to.

The Bride Test is like continuing education for me about autism, at least through the lens of Khai's character. Once again, simple interactions that we take for granted are significant for him. As Khai finds his orderly life changing, he's forced to learn to interact in ways he's never had to before. I felt as if I was also learning something new from a different perspective as well. This is what I love so much about Hoang's writing - that she takes these seemingly banal moments and brings deeper meaning to them. There's a scene where Esme gently touches Khai and his reaction is of pain. He can't tolerate soft touches and when he explains what that sensation feels like to her, he brings context to it and with that empathy.

I admire Helen Hoang's honesty in writing about how autism affects daily interactions. Any time an author can break down and illustrate human behaviour into different parts to make us see it in fresh light, is an accomplishment worthy of all the praise. I am so grateful to be able to read a romance that comes with its own set of unique circumstances. It's a bit of a slowburn that gradually gains traction as they start to click. The Bride Test is warm, funny, empowering and ultimately, a gem of a book.
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Another fun book from Helen Hoang. It has circulated well at the library and I enjoyed reading it. Helen continues to show that romance should keep expanding with people from all backgrounds and walks of life.
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A wonderfully unique romance that checks all the boxes. Hoang gets it. She develops characters us feel for and gives stories you want to read about. There is an honesty in her storytelling that I just love.
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Thank you for the eARC

A delightful, wonderful story. I definitely enjoy reading this so much. It will stay in my heart for long
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The follow up to Hoang’s smash hit The Kiss Quotient, The Bride Test follows Michael’s autistic cousin Khai who avoids relationships at all costs because he believes he’s not made for love. His mother disagrees, to the point of heading to Vietnam to find Khai a bride. Esme can’t turn the chance to come to America and meet a potential husband but nothing goes as planned. Esme and Khai only have so much time to see if their relationship has a shot. Make sure you read the Author’s Note at the end!
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I could not get through this book. I am not prudish about books and do enjoy sex scenes, but the way the word "dick" was thrown around got old fast. I struggled with Hoang's first book but finished it. I will not pick up other books by this author.
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I had a hard time reading this book after the greatness of The Kiss Quotient. The main characters are very different from TKQ, which was fine, but some of the actions of the heroine put me off of reading the book. I was cringing for her every time she misunderstood or misinterpreted something. I understand that that's part of life for some people, but it was sort of difficult to read. Hoang's writing and the story overall redeemed it for me.
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I can’t remember the last time I read my #botm pick the month I got it — probably way back when I signed up! 😂 I’ve been waiting for this one to release ever since reading The Kiss Quotient, and it did not disappoint. I love Helen’s writing style, and I LOVE her characters and all their quirks. I also love that we’re starting to see more diversity in writing.
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Another great book by Helen Hoang!  She really has a knack for writing pieces that, aside from their obvious excellence at broadening the options for romantic leads to neurodivergent characters, resonate and feel empowering.  Many romance novels unfortunately create characters too flawless to be true or a plot that requires a woman to disempower herself in order to get her Happily Ever After.  Hoang has succeeded once again in authoring a book where a woman empowers herself within and without the central relationship.  I'll continue to pick up any book she publishes and recommend her books as much as possible.
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140+ books into this year, and I choose this book as my top book of the year.  There are so many reasons to love this story - it's an immigrant's perspective, it has feminist undertones, and it's heart-felt.  The characters are marked by compassion and driven to make things right.  The author notes that this is written with remembrance to her mother, and it shows.  It is a caring story that highlights the struggle and perseverance that characterizes so many immigrant family stories.  I've read it twice already and thinking about it again, I may need to read it one more time before the end of the year.
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After having enjoyed The Kiss Quotient, I knew I had to check out The Bride Test. I ended up liking it even more than The Kiss Quotient.

Just like in The Kiss Quotient, there were a lot of steamy scenes, which Helen wrote so well each time. Throughout the story, I found myself laughing, crying, cringing, squealing, and/or smiling. I love when a novel can take me on an emotional roller coaster ride. Khai and Esme were such lovable characters and I enjoyed getting to know both of them.

It would be great to have a pronunciation guide for names, since this was not an audio read for me, like the previous novel was. However, not knowing how to pronounce a name did not detract from my enjoyment of this novel.

I definitely recommend checking out The Bride Test. While it can be read as a standalone, it contains a spoiler for The Kiss Quotient, so you may want to read that one first. I already can't wait for Helen Hoang's next novel to publish in 2020!

Movie casting ideas:
Khai: Hideo Muraoka
Esme: Liza Soberano
Co Nga: Tia Carrere
Vy: Gemma Chan
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I enjoyed this more than her first book in the series. I have never quite read anything like her books that feature anyone on the spectrum and romance. It is not something that people read often and what keeps me looking forward to her books. It was fun, and a great audio!
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