The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Genre: Adult contemporary romance
Representation: Vietnamese, mixed race, autism
Format read: audiobook
Series: The Kiss Quotient book 2
Rating: planchet-4

Khai is autistic.

To his Vietnamese family, this word doesn’t really mean much–autism isn’t much recognized in Vietnam. To them, he’s just…odd. But he’s family, so they accept him despite his foibles.

Except for one thing: Khai’s mother is convinced he needs a good wife. To that end, she travels back to her home country in order to arrange for a good, Vietnamese girl for him.

After interviewing dozens of wealthy, beautiful applicants and finding all of them wanting in the personality department, she finds her son’s perfect match in an unexpected place: a hotel bathroom. Tran Ngoc My is a hotel maid who spends most of her time scrubbing toilets. She has the routine down to a science–she’s very good at making sure everything is just so, and takes great satisfaction in a job well done.

Mrs. Diep makes her an offer she can’t refuse: $20,000 US to come to America for a summer and woo her son. If he doesn’t like her, she can go home at the end with no consequences. If he likes her, then she’ll have a husband by September.

There’s just one catch: My has a little girl waiting for her at home, and Khai makes it very clear he never wants children. Will the two of them be able to find common ground, despite their secrets?

I loved The Kiss Quotient and was super excited to pick up the next book in this series. While The Bride Test is set in the same world, it follows a different group of characters, though we do see some familiar faces from the first book.

I really, really liked My. I also really liked Khai (I think I mentioned in my review of the first book that I wanted a story from his perspective, and here we are!), but there were some questionable elements in this book. I thought the way Mrs. Diep behaved, both in trying to find a wife for her son without consulting him and then forcing them to live together for three months was completely unacceptable. I’m willing to chalk that up to cultural differences, since it was very clear that she was a caring woman, but it still made me angry. If I were Khai and someone just showed up on my doorstep like that, I’d blow a gasket.

I also had a problem with some of Khai’s anger issues. A lot of it comes from him genuinely not understanding My’s emotions or certain social situations or norms, but at one point he completely blows up at her in public and manhandles her, which was not okay, and I don’t think he ever apologizes for it, not really.

I would have also liked to see My look into autism more, to try to get a better understanding of what this foreign word means rather than blundering around blindly and walking on egg shells.

All in all, I did think it was a good follow up, though. I’d be happy to read a third book in the series if one was ever written, but I also really like that it’s 2 loosely connected independent volumes.