Helen Hoang outdoes herself in her second novel. Her debut novel, The Kiss Quotient, was a bestseller and a romantic favorite. The Bride Test, due out May 2019, is undoubtedly cute, sexy, sweet and laugh-out-loud funny. It surprised me, however, with its depth and approach to important issues below the surface.
Khai is a Vietnamese-American with autism; Esme is an impoverished, uneducated Vietnamese immigrant living in America. When Khai's mother plays matchmaker with a determination for him to marry, Khai and Esme end up teaching one another lessons they never expected to learn. The secondary characters are just as rich as Khai and Esme, and a great source of my chuckling. Quan, Khai's brother, is well developed, three-dimensional and wholly believable.
This book broaches topics such as immigrating to the United States with no money, no education and a cultural learning curve. It may seem like another love story at the surface, but ultimately is a tale of bravery, mutual respect, and our capacity to love. Hoang makes consent look as sexy as it always should. We have a Vietnamese female protagonist presented in a way that doesn't feel forced. An individual with autism that has built up walls to numb pain but failed to realize it also numbed happiness.
Maybe this a 4.75 for me because it isn't a book that I would re-read (I am generally not a re-reader) but I would whole-heartedly recommend The Bride Test snag a spot on your May TBR list. It exceeded my expectations. Funny, important, HOT, and engaging.