The Kiss Quotient

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Pub Date 05 Jun 2018 | Archive Date 12 Feb 2023

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From the author of The Bride Test comes a romance novel hailed as one of The Washington Post’s 50 Notable Works of Fiction in 2018 and one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2018!

“This is such a fun read and it's also quite original and sexy and sensitive.”—Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author

Hoang's writing bursts from the page.”—Buzzfeed

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 crave all of the other things he's making her feel. 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...
From the author of The Bride Test comes a romance novel hailed as one of The Washington Post’s 50 Notable Works of Fiction in 2018 and one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2018!

“This is such a fun read...

Advance Praise

“Hoang knocks it out of the park with this stellar debut.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Hoang’s style of storytelling charmed and connected with me in a way no other book has done in a long time.” —Book Riot

“Compulsively readable.” —Library Journal, starred review

"An unexpectedly sweet erotic romance that left me with a huge smile on my face. I dare you not to fall in love with these two characters and their story. Helen Hoang's debut is quite simply delightful!" —Nalini Singh, New York Times bestselling author

"The Kiss Quotient had me under a spell the moment I met the hero. I was excited, in love, and couldn't wait to get back to this book every time life forced me to put it down. A rare and riveting love story."—Penelope Douglas, New York Times bestselling author

“Hoang knocks it out of the park with this stellar debut.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Hoang’s style of storytelling charmed and connected with me in a way no other book has done...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9780451490803
PRICE $16.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 307 members

Featured Reviews

This is a PERFECT romance novel. Misunderstandings! Fake dating! Fascinating, complex characters! Deep romantic connections! Growing as individuals to support the other as a team! This book made me so happy. All romance fans need to pre-order it right now.

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The description of the book said “heartwarming”, and typically, heartwarming is not my thing. But The Kiss Quotient was so sweet, so sexy, so unique, that I may need to re-evaluate what I truly like to read. Because I may be into “heartwarming” after all!

I could not put this book down for so many reasons. The writing was engaging, the characters oddly relatable. I picked this book up for the sole reason that Stella was autistic and I was curious to see how an author tackled a romance heroine who was on the spectrum. Helen Hoang did it with such class and humor that I fell in love. While Stella had Asperger’s and her social interactions were at times awkward, her genuine desire to make people comfortable and work past what she perceived as her failings were so endearing that I couldn’t help but adore her.

Michael was also just the sweetest thing. His desire to put Stella at ease, first as a client when she hires him as an escort to tutor her in sex and relationships, and then as a man who falls in love with her, was just beyond endearing. His inability to see any of Stella’s social actions as a problem, but rather to understand them and work with her to integrate into her world, was just flawless. I enjoyed Michael’s backstory, and the exposure to his Vietnamese extended family, and how the author was able to take the sometimes over-used trope of the “fake relationship”, and make it entirely fresh and new.

As a debut novel, this story was amazing. Even if she had written a dozen stories, this book was pretty fabulous. It was the perfect mix of sizzle, affection and humor. It was just (dare I say it?) heartwarming.

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I devoured this in a single sitting. And it was fucking delicious.

For me, this book has everything going for it. It’s dramatic, emotional, educational, complex, diverse, and hotter than sin.

This is an own voices romance with a female lead on the autism spectrum, and the entire plot setup revolves around her commitment to becoming better at sex. Because, for Stella, being touched by another human is a tricky, sometimes highly unenjoyable experience.

So what’s a modern, successful, driven woman to do?

Hire a male escort to give her sex lessons, obviously.

Enter Michael. He’s half Vietnamese, and half Swedish, and described as looking like Daniel Henney, only hotter.


He also comes with a lot of (understandable) baggage. His dad is an epic douche, and because of how he treated Michael and the rest of his family, Michael is left feeling like he’s never going to be good enough.

For himself, for his mother, and also for Stella.

From their very first interaction, it’s obvious that these two have some serious chemistry, and the pages practically smoldered beneath my fingertips as I was reading.

This is definitely one of those romances that could be listed as an erotic one, so for those of you who like your love stories without the physical act of love in them, be aware of that.

But this is also so much more than smexy times. Stella has never had a boyfriend before, and as their relationship changes, she has to learn how to navigate through all the social interactions that come with that: meeting Michael’s friends, his family, going out to strange places with him.

For someone on the autism spectrum, that can be a living nightmare. The social anxiety, the sound sensitivity, the potential for stimulus overload, it made for some tense and suuuuper awkward situations.

I felt so much for Stella because of her unabashed way of relating all of the above. And for Michael as well, because, like I mentioned before, he comes with his own set of issues and is brutally honest about them to himself.

This whole story just felt so real, if that makes sense. Most romance drama always feels borderline OTT to me, like, just TALK TO EACH OTHER AND RESOLVE THIS SHIT. The kind of petty misunderstandings and stubborn lack of communication that makes me want to rip my hair out.

This book, while definitely heavy on the internal conflict toward the end, never felt like that. Because Stella and Michael’s voices are both so separate and unique and relatable that I got why they were having trouble communicating.

This is a romance, after all, so in the end it all works out. And, for me, it’s one of those refreshing, modern, feminist, cathartic books that I can see myself re-reading every time I start to lose my faith in this genre.

So, yeah. That should tell you everything you need to know about how much I loved this.

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This book is EVERYTHING. I love all that it represents. Stella and Michael are such interesting, nuanced characters. There are elements of Stella that everyone can relate to, autistic or not. When it comes to love, we all feel that bumbling, insecure feeling that overrides our judgment and makes us second-guess ourselves. And it's so heartwarming that she has Michael to balance her out because we all yearn for that person who loves our quirks. It's been a while since a romance has captured my heart like this one. And this book is HOT. It belongs on everyone's TBR list. I'm so excited for whatever else Helen Hoang throws our way!

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