Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Bride Test

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. - excerpt from Goodreads

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang continues right after her debut novel, although it's not really a series but the characters are mentioned in the first book.  Here we have Khai and a new addition Esme which builds a very different dynamic. All autistic people are different so expect Khai to differ from Stella very much. Of course certain characteristics are the same else they would not be catogorised as autistic but because of different family backgrounds Khai's understanding of feelings and emotions are special and often noted as an emotionless person. How Khai view himself and other see him is not the same and often misunderstandings stems from it.

With a new leading female, Esme's life and background is something to take note in this book as it's the key story of what the author is trying to show her audience. Inspired by her mother's story, the author created Esme that is somewhat simple at first but learns to adapt and grow with opportunity. I love how Esme is strong yet because of her background she feels inferior in many ways. The impressiveness of this books is how all the characters interact with each other, the reactions to situations that arises when a stranger is just thrown into your life. You get a bit of laughter, sometimes a bit of heartwarming moments through the interactions of family members.  One thing that was not to my satisfaction is I wanted more of the side characters to be involved such as Khai's brother and of course his cousin as well but mostly we get more of Esme interacting with others than Khai.

The plot itself is unexpected given there is a timeline to Esme's stay in the states. Throughout the story, you'll probably try to anticipate if anything will happen between the two and often you will be a little bit surprise and a little bit disappointed as well. I would say the plots are smooth with little flaws but everything feels a bit rush because of the deadline. I would have loved a bit more expand into Khai's and Esme's relationship as some timeline is just rushed over with a mentioned of a week later and what not.

Overall, this is one entertaining book with a good backstory. The alternating POVs from the male and female characters is always refreshing as you get both sides of a story. I love Esme's personality and it certainly compliments Khai. As for Khai, sometimes I don't remember he is autistic and just felt that he is like every other male in the planet. I would not compare both books as characters and plots are different but the excitement I had for the first book is not at the same level. I can easily take a break from this book where else the other one was a strong page turner. I believe this is because the flair and the attraction is not as strong but it is just my own opinion. The last book will be about Khai's brother and this is one book that I am excited as I have been curious of him since the first book.


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