The Kiss Quotient: A Book Review

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.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Book Review

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green is the first book written by popular YA author John Green’s brother. His writing style is totally different. A highly believable sci-fi book with characters that are sometimes hard to love and themes that really make you question yourself and society, I think that this book was an excellent debut for Hank Green.

The story is narrated (mostly) by the main character April May. A bisexual, artsy millennial who stumbles upon a giant robotic-looking statue outside in New York City one night. She calls one of her best friends, Andy, to come and see it, names it Carl, and they record a video for his YouTube channel, becoming instantly famous. It turns out that the Carl in New York isn’t the only one. They have popped up in cities all over the world and no one knows how they got there or who put them there. April May and her friends discover that the Carls are not just an art piece but possibly an alien species. Two schools of thought break out in society: one is that the Carls are there to bring humanity together, and the other is that they are out to destroy us. Between telephone conferences with the President, TV interviews, and writing a book about her experience with Carl, April May struggles with how to keep ahead of the crowd so she can keep her fame and her own self-importance with regards to the Carls (being the first to make contact with an alien species and all). Her and her friends work together to solve the many puzzles the Carls have left for the human race in order to discover what their purpose  and reason for coming to Earth is.

The book deals with some pretty big themes and makes some serious social commentaries about today’s youth and even government. Some of the themes include love in a modern society and friendship. One of the themes is the use of social media and fame in modern society. Another theme is the effects and perils of fanaticism. It also deals with the mores of sexuality in society and how and why Millennials deal with personal relationships. The book also makes commentaries on how fame can change people and on having a personal identity, while also having a strong message about cooperation among people in order to unite humanity.

While the story is utterly ridiculous, it is almost believable because of all of the thematic references which are so personal to so many young people in society right now. April May’s story is either familiar to you, or you know of someone that may be going through something similar, or thinks similarly to her. Her character is not always easy to love. In fact, through many parts of the book, I found myself really disliking her. However, I think she is an excellent character. She has many depths and is very believable.

It is definitely an intelligent book, however, it was not a difficult read. The story flows and the voice keeps it from being stuffy. I have not read a lot of sci-fi, but this book was pretty fantastic. I truly enjoyed reading it and it also made me think. It does end a bit unexpectedly, but luckily it is the first book in a series and will be continued (although Goodreads has not listed a title yet or a release date, so it seems we might be waiting a while to see how the story continues).