“He kissed her like she was his whole world, and if she weren’t already kneeling, she would have collapsed to the floor.”
May 12, 2019:
The Bride Test has a completely different vibe than The Kiss Quotient which I think will make or break it for some readers. I went into it like I’m sure others did, expecting the feel of the book to be the same as it’s predecessor and was a bit disappointed a few chapters into it when I realized these two books are not the same. Where The Kiss Quotient felt lighthearted, fun and sexy.. The Bride Test is an emotional roller coaster with a sprinkle of innocence, a dash of sexy and a teaspoon of frustration.
Esme is approached in her homeland of Vietnam by Khai’s Mother. She makes Esme a proposition that she wants to refuse but ends up going with. She travels to America for the summer to attempt and persuade Khai to marry her. Esme is a single mother, scrubbing toilets to support her daughter, her Mom and her Grandmother. Khai is on the autism spectrum. He has his routine. He knows what makes him comfortable and uncomfortable. He doesn’t want to get married nor have a family.
As I’ve been making my way through, my emotions have been all over the place. I have been finding myself so frustrated. I questioned why I wasn’t feeling connected to this story, these characters. Then I realized that must be how Esme feels with Khai. She eventually learns of his autism once he opens up to her, but that doesn’t meant she never goes without being confused. Why is acting this way? What did I say wrong? Why is he angry all of a sudden? I feel like Hoang wrote Khai so well that even on the outside looking in, Ive had my WTF moments. Khai isn’t a bad guy but he is hard to connect with.
He’s also innocent though. There is a scene where he really pisses Esme off:
“He would always be leaving her. Because she wasn’t what he wanted. She’d known this, but she’d thrown herself at him anyway. Foolish, foolish girl. As the water washed over her and heat sank into her skin, she swore everything stopped here. No more. No more secret hoping, no more seducing, no more caring about him. She was done. She wasn’t rich, classy or smart, but she wasn’t something you could use once and toss away. She had value. You couldn’t see it in the clothes she wore or the abbreviations after her name or hear it in the way she spoke, but she
felt it, even if she didn’t entirely understand where it came from. It pounded inside her chest, big and strong and bright. She deserved better than this.”
My favorite scene happens after this. Khai goes to his older brother and cousin to figure out how he made her mad. He truly didn’t understand. The scene is hilarious and adorable at the same time.
Another reason Esme agreed to come to America is to search for her father. She had it pretty rough growing up mixed race and wants that connection. The point in the book I am, she has reached out to a few men she believes is her dad but has turned up unsuccessful. She has also yet to inform Khai about her daughter back home.
I have less than 100 pages left and am anxious to see how all of these open loops are closed and what happened between these two. The big secret I’m wanting to see revealed is Jade, Esme’s daughter and how Khai takes it.
May 13, 2019:
“And she had nowhere to go. There was a great big world all around, and none of it was hers. Where did you go when you had nowhere?”
I finished The Bride Test today and have a lot of thoughts. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. I just couldn’t give it 5 simply because although I enjoyed Esme and Khai, there was still a lack of connection there that I wanted to feel. I don’t know if Hoang wanted this to be intentional but it frustrated me a bit.
The saving grace for me with this book is Esme. Friends, it is 2019 and Esme is the heroine we need. Esme represents what it looks like to leave everything you are familiar with, literally leave everyone and everything you love behind to take an opportunity. Regardless of what the opportunity looks like, she went for it. Unsure. Afraid. She traveled across the world. She falls in love. She gets disappointed..and she gets her shit together. Esme is the 2019 female. It was she, who made this story for me.
“Everyone deserved to love and be loved back. Everyone. Even her.”
A lot of friends have already hit me up and called dibs on Quan..and I must say, my fingers are crossed that he gets a romance of his own. That would just be perfect. I loved how well he took care of Khai. How he had his back but would also call him out on his crap.
If you’re looking for a fun, spring time romance..I wouldn’t say this is it, but if you were a fan of The Kiss Quotient and want to continue on with the series for the sake of it, go for it. It was a good read but it is totally different from its predecessor. And I will add, before I go..I listened to this on audiobook and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the narrator, so tread carefully.