April 26, 2019

Book Review: The Bride Test

Though his family knows that his autism just means that he processes emotions differently, Khai Diep has always believed himself incapable of experiencing big emotions (like grief or love). He’s always avoided relationships (especially the romantic sort), but his mother takes matters into her own hands when she goes to Vietnam to find him a bride. Enter Esme Tran, a mixed-race girl who simply wants to provide for her family and sees the opportunity to go to America and meet Khai as the chance to change her circumstances. After their initial meeting, it quickly becomes clear that neither person is what the other expected. Will Khai allow himself to admit that he could have been wrong all along? Will Esme be able to stay in America? And will romance ever blossom between them?

I’ve been eagerly awaiting The Bride Test after falling head over heels in love with The Kiss Quotient last year, so it was no surprise that I devoured it a few days after an unexpected ARC showed up in the mail. I’m happy to say that this companion novel did not disappoint! There are several things that I think The Bride Test did just as well as its predecessor, including:
  • A rom-com plot | I seriously got plenty of Asian drama vibes from this story, particularly when you are witnessing the basic premise come to life on the page. I was initially wary of the synopsis when I’d originally heard about it, but it played out in a way that I didn’t predict – and I liked being surprised by that. It was also charming and sweet, and I adored it!
  • All the feels | I laughed out loud a lot (especially at one moment, which had me literally cackling). I teared up a fair bit too (especially when things got super stressful or were starting to seem desperate for our two main characters). Any novel that can elicit a full physical response in this way is immediately higher in my esteem.
  • A set of beloved secondary characters | From Khai’s well-meaning, goodhearted meddler of a mother to the new friends Esme makes when she comes to America, Hoang did a great job with making everyone feel like a real person. I’m especially fond of Khai’s older brother Quan (which has been true since The Kiss Quotient, so maybe I’m a little biased). He gets much more page-time in this one, for good reason, and I genuinely think that I fell even more in love with him.
  • The main characters and their romance | I loved getting to know both Khai and Esme. Khai’s perspective, his instincts, and his endearing sweetness really appealed to me; Esme’s open heart, perseverance and willingness to work hard and learn won me over. Their individual stories, and the journeys they go on, were incredibly compelling, and their romance was equally wonderful.

I obviously loved The Bride Test. It’s another well-written, engaging romance read, and it fully surpassed any expectations I had going into it. Helen Hoang has now cemented herself as an author whose work I enjoy, and I fully look forward to the next novel from her (and not just because it’s about Quan). (Okay, maybe particularly because it’s about Quan.) (I always need more of Quan.)

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang | Series: The Kiss Quotient #2 | Previous Book in Series: The Kiss Quotient | Publisher: Berkley Romance | Publication Date: May 7, 2019 | Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)


  1. This sounds so cute! I'm looking for some cute rom coms to get me through summer, and this sounds perfect. Great review!

  2. I'm so glad you liked this one, I'm really looking forward to it.

  3. I love it when a book exceeds expectations. It's such an awesome feeling. I'll have to check this one out!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian


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