I have been on a bit of a Kindle book kick lately and decided to catch up on some of my physical books on my To Be Read stack. I thought I’d start with a lighthearted read and have had The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang on my list for a while. I ended up picking it up with my Book of the Month order since I keep coming back to it on Amazon and really wanting to buy it.
It is definitely an adult romance but it has a little more depth than my usual guilty pleasure romance reads. I was expecting it to take me longer to read at 314 pages but it ended up being a great binge read and I stayed up all night to read it.
It is about a girl, Stella, with Asperger’s, or highly functioning autism, who is ready to have a relationship, but because of her autism finds it hard to have a physical relationship with men. So she hired an escort, Michael, to help teach her how to have a relationship with a man. Of course, they end up becoming very close and fall in love like in any good romance, but between his insecurities and her social anxiety, they have many obstacles to overcome before they can actually be together.
As someone who does not have autism, I cannot say whether the perspective of Stella is accurate, although I assume it is since the writer herself has Asperger’s. As someone who used to teach autistic children and specifically children with Asperger’s I can confirm that the dynamic between her and the other characters who do not have autism are very realistic. My students with Asperger’s were always my favorite (I know, I know, I’m not supposed to have favorites – too bad) because of how guileless and honest they were. They never tried to be funny, but they always had such an amusing perspective on people and situations that I found very funny.
This book captures the humor of any social relationship with someone who has Asperger’s. With all of the politically correct romance books out there breaking down barriers between interracial relationships and even different sexual identities, it is nice to see a romance book that explores a relationship between someone who has a “disorder” (I don’t personally see this as a disability or disorder, but rather a personality quality) that is quickly becoming a normal diagnosis in our society. It normalizes romantic relationships between “regular” people and people with autism which I thought was lovely. It also could open up discussions about people in the sex industry.
I could go on a huge rant about the stigmas of autism, but instead I will keep this might and just say that I truly enjoyed this debut novel and really recommend it for those that love a good romance book, both bingable/guilty pleasure romances and relatable romantic literature. Fans of Pretty Woman would enjoy this immensely. I’d give this book a good 4/5 stars.
Please be aware that this is an adult romance novel with several very steamy moments. If that is not your thing, I totally understand and just want to give you a heads up.