This book is everything I want from a light romance novel. The characters are sweet, intelligent, and imperfect. The romance isn’t easy, but it’s lovable. There’s some hot scenes, but it isn’t dripping in sex like The Kiss Quotient. I really think Helen Hoang nailed The Bride Test, and the author’s note at the end was such a lovely added bonus.
“He shook his head at himself. That took “delayed reaction” to an extreme. But he was an extreme kind of person.”
Again, I don’t think it can be understated, what Helen Hoang is doing in the romance genre on a deeper level, for autism. The talent to be able to write these characters so perfectly, so genuine, so human; the gift she shares with us is insight and understanding; what she’s doing is bringing us all closer to one another. People who fall somewhere on the spectrum, and people that don’t know quite what that means because they don’t have experience. As an extremely talented, own voices writer, she’s giving insight to that experience. And it’s beautiful. I absolutely love her for it, and for her bravery to be an own voices writer. Because she didn’t have to be. She could have written about anything and not opened herself up to the inherent vulnerability. But she chose to write about what she knows, she connected with her family and with herself, and gave us something that matters.
I love that Khai is different from Stella, Stella being the high functioning autistic protagonist from The Kiss Quotient. By having two characters on the spectrum, in two different books, she’s showing the diagnosis doesn’t define a person; it’s just a piece of them.
“His heart wasn’t made of stone, after all. It just wasn’t like everyone else’s.”
The Bride Test is a book that really makes you think about what it is that defines love. Is it the way we express affection? Is it the way we remorse when it’s gone? Is it the need to not lose something we can’t live without? What is the illusive definition of love between two people, and who has the right or power to define it? And how many of us have the same definition? Does it just come down to the ability to say, “I love you,” or “I love?” Is it just claiming the love.
These questions are going to be with me long after I shelve this book. The insight into life experiences different from my own are going to be with me long after I shelve this book. And let’s not look over the insight into immigration either. Because there was a good deal of that as well.
Thank You Helen Hoang. Another wonderful gift to the romance genre from this brilliantly sweet writer.