After a month and a half of feeling like everything I read was just okay, I am so happy to have picked up this cute romance. It was what I needed. The Bride Test is technically the second in a romance series by Helen Hoang, but each book can be read as a standalone and isn’t connected to each other.
Helen Hoang lives in California with her family and has always loved romance novels. Her books investigate what it’s like to find love as someone on the autism spectrum, and thus also explore the intersectionality of being Asian-American and autistic.
In The Bride Test, the mom of an autisitc man worries her son will never get married if she doesn’t take matters into her own hands. So, she picks out a girl from Vietnam to come to America and woo Kai. Esme agrees to do this wooing so she can provide a better life for her daughter. But Kai is convinced he doesn’t have feelings and nothing goes to plan.
I absolutley adored this book. There was cute, swoon-worthy fluff, but there were also spicy scenes that made me scared to take the book in public. It was the perfect balance. On top of that, there were also a lot of scenes that made me laugh out loud.
I also loved the agency that Esme had as an immigrant to the United States. Yes she was there to fall in love, but that didn’t stop her from working hard, pursuing her own dreams, and having other plans that didn’t revolve around a man. In a romance, this is rare to see even if it shouldn’t be!
The exploration of Kai’s grief and emotions with him was also a journey I enjoyed, even though it was frusturating at times. I think it also gave me a bit more insight into what someone’s lived experience may be if they are on the spectrum (bearing in mind that it is a spectrum and people’s experiences differ). I knew a bit about Autism but I never really knew the depth it could take to recognize and regulate emotions when living with it.
There wasn’t much I didn’t like about this book–even the epilogue, which is where I find a lot of romances fall short for me, was satisfying. Everything seemed to find a resolution without doing so cheaply or rubbing me the wrong way.
This was a five star read for me, the first in a while! If you’re a romance reader, then I can’t reccomend this enough!