Review: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

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.

Diep Khai didn’t want anyone messing his well-structured life. He loved wearing black and for him, that didn’t make him look lonely. When his mom told him he was going to get married to a beautiful Vietnamese woman named My, everything changed, he wasn’t prepared for this kind of change. He was different from the rest. He was special. He was unique. He had no feelings. And he was perfectly okay with it.

Until he met this girl “My” also known as Esme Tran, the woman that his mother hired to be his fiancee and company for all the weddings that they had to attend in their family events. He had rules to follow to make this work. But Esme was making everything hard for him to concentrate, to focus, to work, to be him. A mail-order-bride from his mom’s hometown was intent to making their arrangement work and Khai was finding it hard to abide by his rules.

Esme Tran was gorgeous, talented, naive and responsible. Going to America to fulfill her lifelong dream of having/building a better life for her family and maybe find the missing link to her being. She was there to be a good fiance – seduce the man, love him later.

Well, it was easier said than done.

This was absolutely a delight to read, also eye-opening for me who’s currently dealing with anxiety and stress and worrying about my youngest who’s more or less like the protagonist, Khai. The Bride Test isn’t just about finding love through unconventional methods, but also accepting people with their special ways, needs and talents. Khai’s anxiety and autism played a big part in this story, but I found him really inspiring and compelling. Esme experiencing life in the America had me smiling, too. Her struggles and determination won my heart. Both characters are flawed, but they were so much realistic and genuine to me.

I loved Hoang’s first book The Kiss Quotient and this is my second favorite of hers. I love love love this story immensely!

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