Being a mixed-race girl scrubbing toilets for a living in Ho Chi Minh is not fun – especially if you have a family to feed. So when Esme gets an offer from an elegant lady in one of the bathrooms she’s cleaning, she can’t turn down the opportunity. Come with me to America and get my son to marry you. Esme’s mission has begun: seduce Khai Diep and get a better life in the US.
Khai Diep is autistic and while it’s never stopped him from becoming successful in life, it has caused him a lot of social pain. He doesn’t understand or display emotions like his family and friends – which makes dating practically impossible. His mother is constantly pushing for him to get married and her latest scheme is having a foreign girl, who only speaks Vietnamese, stay at his house. Not being able to say no to his mother, Khai finds himself with the hottest roommate he has ever had.
In the meantime, things aren’t working out as Esme Tran had anticipated. Khai is not like other men and he’s constantly doing or saying the wrong thing. However, once they’ve gotten used to each-other, one can hardly be without the other. Their chemistry is very clear and sparks are flying all over the place (ahem, this is where I need to warn you about mature content). There are definitely some steamy scenes – the overall seduction plot should make that obvious – but it’s still cute and funny. The tricky part is not being attracted to each-other but when feelings are Khai’s one weakness, love is not a welcomed guest in his life.
The characters consists of a typical setup with two MC’s in the romantic spotlight surrounded by filler characters. However, what I love about Helen Hoang’s books is that she makes space for family interactions. This includes all of the good, bad and awkward elements that families are known for. It makes the story seem more real – and the pushy Viet ladies are so much fun.
My biggest problem in this story is Esme and her attitude. She’s honestly a selfish girl with a pretty smile. She goes to another country to seduce a stranger and get a better life – but is absolutely the victim here and certainly not a golddigger. Girl, please. While I loved reading about this couple’s chemistry and quirks, I did NOT appreciate Esme’s character.
The writing is very simple and easy to read. I did get a little confused in the beginning, since the book starts off by jumping in time and from the US to Vietnam. I got the pieces connected pretty quickly though. We also get the story from both Khai and Esme’s POV, which gives us a lot of insight. Especially Khai’s parts are fun since he’s so confused with everyone’s emotions.
If you haven’t already read the first book (The Kiss Quotient) you don’t have to. Each of the stories are independent but you might not catch on to cameos and references in The Bride Test. A third book in the series has been announced – and I’m ready for it!
Page count: 296
Goodreads rating: 3.9/5