The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Romance, 296 pages, published May 7th, 2019

Synopsis: Esme is living in Vietnam when she gets an offer from a woman in the hotel where she works: come to America and marry her son. Esme figures she has nothing to lose, so she goes to America for the summer to try and seduce Khai.


I enjoyed The Kiss Quotient, so I was excited to see what else Helen Hoang would write, but there were definitely some things about that book that bothered me. Unfortunately, there were also a few things that bothered me about The Bride Test.

I think the thing that bothered me the most is that Esme never really understood what autism is. She mentions that she doesn’t know what it is, and someone briefly explains it to her, but she never really understands it or goes out of her way to even try to educate herself about it. I would have liked to have more of her learning about it because I think that could have been a really interesting aspect of the story.

I was genuinely confused as to why Esme changed her daughter’s name. It wasn’t even that she changed it, but as soon as she did, she thought of her as Jade every time, like she hadn’t been calling her by a different name for five years. It was just really odd to me, especially because she didn’t even know at that point if her daughter would be joining her in America, so there was really no need to change her name yet. In my opinion, Esme having a daughter added absolutely nothing to the story.

I grew really frustrated with Khai’s idea that he couldn’t feel emotions. His brother Quan kept telling him that he was in love, but Khai never believed it because Quan never gave a good explanation of what love is. The reason Khai thinks that he can’t feel emotions is because of a past trauma, but instead of his family getting him help, they just kind of left him as is. I think the way his family treated Khai was weird. They kept putting him in situations that obviously made him very uncomfortable. I just don’t think this was handled well.

I was also not a huge fan of the ending. I think it was rushed and there were a few things I actually wanted to hear more about. I mean, this book was short, there was room for it. I feel like my common complaint for romance books is a rushed ending, so it not unexpected.

The one thing that I really enjoyed about this book is that Esme and Khai tell each other what they do and don’t like. They were pretty clear with each other, and I appreciated it.

I don’t think this was a bad book, but it just felt off to me. I think it could have been longer to tie up some things. It had bad things, but there were very few great things to make up for them. I’m not sure if I will continue to read Helen Hoang’s books. Maybe if the synopsis sounds good, but with this one and The Kiss Quotient, there have been a few really big issues that keep me from loving them.

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