Author: Helen Hoang
Rating: 4 Stars
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he's defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can't turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn't go as planned. Esme's lessons in love seem to be working...but only on herself. She's hopelessly smitten with a man who's convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme's time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he's been wrong all along. And there's more than one way to love.
This is the first book I've read by Helen Hoang, and I loved it. It was such a great, cute romance that hit me right in the feels.
- The two main characters. They were amazing, I think. It must have been really hard for Esme to come to a new country, and to meet Khai, and go through trying to get him to fall in love with her - even if it was a ploy in the beginning. Khai was written so well, as was Esme. Watching the way Khai was developed as an autistic person and what he could handle, and how he approached having Esme touch him was great. I am not autistic, so I won't even pretend to know how it feels. I will say that I think the author wrote Khai very well, and with so much depth - it's great to know that the author understands that autistic people are not just one dimensional, and that they are people like the rest of us. Esme was written very well also, and was such a great character. I think both characters really learned a lot about each other and themselves throughout the course of this book and that was great.
- The settings and the build up of the story were fantastic. The author really developed everything well, and showed a lot of great development in what was happening around Khai and Esme as their relationship developed. For example, showing how Khai managed things at big events like weddings was great because it gave us even more insight into his character and who he was as a person. Being in large social settings like that was difficult for him, and you could tell he was growing and making an effort when he went from bringing a book to these events to not bringing one at all. Those little things really added to the story and helped bring me into what was happening.
- Khai's family was awesome. I really liked his mom and brother. They were as well developed as the two main characters, and seeing how they reacted to Khai, to Esme, and to each other and their friends and family was great. As secondary characters they really felt real and well written to me. Khai's family was also I think mostly understanding of why he lived the way he did, but they also weren't afraid to tell Khai what was what. His brother was honest with him to the point that Khai really did learn things about himself and what he needed in his life and I loved that.
- Esme finally being open with Khai about her daughter was so wholesome to me. He met her daughter and was like cool, cool, here's my family. It was just a great moment of acceptance to me showing that Khai had really grown when he realized that he loved Esme and was going to accept her wholly no matter what.
Overall this book was wonderful and I am so glad I finally had a chance to read it. (I am now onto The Heart Paradox, and I'll review that soon - but so far I'm loving it!)
If you've read The Bride Test, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!