This is one of the many books I placed on hold after reading The Hating Game and I have to say I’m disappointed. Hopefully some of the others will be better than this, or else I really need to lower my expectations.
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…
By the looks of things I should have really loved this book. It’s got the type of cover that started drawing me to this genre, the characters aren’t your typical leads, and the plotline, though predictable, seems interesting and full of promise.
Yet something(s) really stopped me from liking this book! And I’m so frustrated because I really wanted to like it!!
I’ll start with the negative so we can try to end on a positive note. My biggest qualm with this book is the pacing. How many times can the author “allude” to Stella’s secret from Michael and Michael’s father issues? I feel like every chapter after a certain point in the book ended with, “Maybe we could really be happy, if it’s wasn’t for my (dad/autism)…” And honestly, I started rolling my eyes. In addition to this repetitive building up of things that ended up being disappointingly inconsequential, there were so many parts that were dragged out for no reason. Then, we suddenly have a 180 on the characters’ personalities. And then things drag on more. This back and forth got exhausting to read and it made me bored with the story.
Speaking of the characters, why couldn’t we decide on their personalities? It felt like Michael and Stella didn’t really grow much, which I guess really isn’t an accurate statement. They did develop, my but none of it felt very natural. It also happened with the very secondary characters, like Stella’s dad. Is he supportive and proud of her or is he a misogynistic ass? I don’t know!!
OK, now that the worst parts are out of my system I think I can handle some of the positives.
I have a very limited amount of experience with autism, both in my life and in the books I read. I think it’s really cool that the author, who explained her own story with autism at the end of the book, represented autism in women through this book. I ended up learning more about something I was, and still am, pretty clueless about. I really liked the emphasis that autism wasn’t Stella’s only defining trait- she’s just Stella. There’s also a lot of diversity in this book and I found myself learning more about Vietnamese culture because of it. Both of these factors make The Kiss Quotient a great #ownvoices book.
There seemed to be some pretty interesting gender role reversals here which I thought was pretty amazing. Michael is not ashamed to be a fashion designer and Stella is filthy rich and works in STEM. Michael’s relationship with his family, though complicated in some respects, was pretty endearing. These might seem minor but I loved it. There was still a definite “man must protect woman” vibe that I wasn’t a huge fan of but we can’t win all battles.
Basically, this was a below-average book for me. The things I enjoyed about this book are pretty unique and it’s always important to have #ownvoices stories, but I just didn’t like the book all that much. The pacing just threw me off and messed with everything that makes a book enjoyable. There are obviously a lot of people out there who liked this book since it was a 2018 Goodreads Choice winner, but I’m not one of those people.