The Kiss Quotient by Helen HoangThe Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient

byHelen Hoang

Paperback | June 5, 2018

see the collection All-Time Favourite Rom Coms

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One of Washington Post’s 50 Notable Works of Fiction in 2018
One of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2018

"This is such a fun read and it's also quite original and sexy and sensitive."--Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author

"Hoang's writing bursts from the page."--Buzzfeed

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...
Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger's Syndrome. Her journey inspired The Ki...
Title:The Kiss QuotientFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.19 × 5.46 × 0.83 inPublished:June 5, 2018Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0451490800

ISBN - 13:9780451490803

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I am so happy I purchased this book. This book was a great read and was so difficult to put down. I would highly recommend this book, and am so excited to read The Bride Test once it is released.
Date published: 2018-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This novel had everything I love about romance/chick-lit novels. It was hot, cute and funny. However, what I loved the most about this one was the main character who's autistic...It gave a really nice twist to this story!
Date published: 2018-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Much Love! This is such a heartwarming, cute, romance/chick-lit novel, I could not put it down. And I have to say, it is much racier than the books I normally read! Yet it is also at it's core, a sweet romance. I love the insight that it gave me into the mindset of someone with Asperger's, it's a personality type that I've only peripherally touched in my life, but I feel that it has given me a much deeper understanding of what my friends with this the diagnosis feel, and think, and want, and need (at least, I hope it has!). Stellar is a character of so many facets and such wonderful depth, as is the sexy hero who helps her on her journey. The author is an incredibly tease throughout the book, I thinks that's why I couldn't put it down half the time. Such skill in her writing, coupled with a great sense of timing, and atmosphere, makes this a wonderful read, even if you are not a romance reader. Just calling it a romance book sells it short, it's so much more...
Date published: 2018-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love love Well, well, well. If this wasn't just disgustingly precious. Could I have loved it more? Not likely. I stayed up until 1 am two nights in a row for this. Never before did I imagine I'd read a book with an autistic lead, which just goes to show why we need such books. I thought the representation in this was fantastic, and I believe it wholeheartedly given the author's own experiences. Stella was utterly adorable, and I found the way her struggles and challenges were written really well. I found her to be so ridiculously relatable and it was so easy to slip in her shoes and her thoughts. She is now probably one of my all-time favourite rom-com/chick-lit MCs. While I initially thought the plot was a bit outrageous (imma hire a prostitute to help me be better with sex) it again was done really well. Both Stella and Michael have such distinct motivations, thought processes, and backstories to make the story work and progress at the perfect pace. Their chemistry was fantastic from start to finish and I enjoyed the development of their relationship. Any book that has you yelling "You idiot!" as them both when they think their feelings are one sided has to be good, right? Such a sweet and wonderful book! Can't wait to read more from Hoang because I get the feeling she's another one of those author's where I'll read whatever they throw out into the void.
Date published: 2018-11-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Start, Good Middle, Flat Ending This is "Pretty Women" with a gender reversal. It was refreshing to read a story in which a woman takes charge of her sexual development and a man is keenly aware of the need for consent. That is supper sexy. However I found the ending fell a little flat and contrived.
Date published: 2018-11-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A quick, fun and saucy read Going into TKQ blind, I had not expected this book to be quite so saucy! I must admit there were often moments in which I dropped my book and had to contain myself. Hoang nails her couple's chemistry and the investment I felt in finally seeing these two fools realize they love each other was immense. On the other hand, shifting back and forth between both Stella and Michael’s perspectives exacerbated my frustration with each character’s blindness to their partner’s love. More so in the chapters in which Michael narrated, I found myself cringing heavily and needing to contain my guffawing in lieu of romance ~feels~. Perhaps this is on me as someone not quite indoctrinated in the romance novel standard quite yet and especially not from the perspective of a straight dude. That said, I read this in a single sitting because as much as I had to contain myself I still couldn't focus on anything but this book until it was over. So here's to even more cringe reading when I pick up that sequel as soon as it's in stores so I can feast upon it!
Date published: 2018-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from SOO CUTE I LOVE this novel SO much! I love contemporary romance, and this one totally stands out. It's not a story about a stereotypical couple. There's representation here, it's smart, it's funny, and it takes the time to get to know the characters. And on top of all that, it's pretty steamy. Highly recommend!
Date published: 2018-10-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Good Read A rom-com between two unlikely people who find love in through an unexpected arrangement. Stella loves math. Her world revolves around data and numbers and professionally she is successful. In the relationship department, not so much. Her mother always asks her about dating and having children. This makes Stella cringe. Stella is socially awkward and doesn't easily pick up on social cues. Michael has had a difficult few years. SPOILERS!!! SPOILERS!!! His father cheated on his mother and stole money from multiple women he romanced, including Michael's mother. The family, which includes four sisters is in severe debt. Michael's mother also has cancer. We learn later the bills add up to nearly $12.5 million. To help out, Michael gets a second job, as an escort. When he and Stella meet, Michael is immediately smitten. He agrees to her arrangement and as the two spend more time together, each one learns more about the other and they start to open up about their lives. The thing neither one knows is whether or not this "relationship" is real. Helen Hoang does a great job of writing in varying perspectives of Michael and Stella. The narratives are easily to follow and they really help move the story along, it isn't confusing or unnecessary. Helen distinctively writes both voices and we learn through their interactions and inner thoughts the doubts they have about relationships, their lives and each other (as well as their growing feelings). If you're a hopeless romantic, you'll love this book. You can guess how this story will end given the rom-com genre, but the adventure to get there is a good read.
Date published: 2018-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it ! Such an interesting romance. Absolutely loved it !
Date published: 2018-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sweet, Sexy, Smart! I got this out of the library and read it twice! Now I want to buy a copy to read again, and to lend to friends! I think I expected a little of the Hating Game and Rosie Project (the power of the teal covers?) I loved that Stella was a smart, strong woman, yes, she second guesses herself and her relationship (or else there would't be a story) but she doesn't compromise herself. I also really liked Micheal (am loving this trend of being in the guys head for part of the story) a decent guy, trying to do the right thing. This somehow managed to be a sweet little romance, while also being pretty hot... not sure how Helen did it - but it works!
Date published: 2018-09-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Super Relatable and So Sexy ;) People have been raving about The Kiss Quotient and after reading it myself I think the praises are well-deserved. The story is relatable, the characters diverse and the romance super sweet and sexy. It's such a wonderful book. Before I start swooning all over The Kiss Quotient I want to bring up the one small problem I had. The major conflict came and went too quickly. It was so talked up in both characters' minds I expected more resistance and concerns when they came face to face... Don't get me wrong, it was sweet as heck but a little bit more push and pull would've been nice. Stella is an incredibly real reflection of every person. I think it's fair to say we all have our share of insecurities. I definitely identified with her need for routine. Similar to Stella, any disruptions made me feel uneasy. She was self-conscious and blunt but always true to her words. I love how she understood she was different. Stella was willing to try new things but she never forced herself into doing anything she wasn't comfortable with. You can't read The Kiss Quotient and not love Michael Phan. Tortured by his father's actions and coupled with the reality he's in (with no career and escorting for money) his self-esteem was extremely low. "Love, he found, was a jail. It trapped, and it clipped wings." (p. 249). He was so good to everyone except himself. Meeting Stella helped him realize his worth. The tenderness and respect he showed her more than separated him from other self-serving a**holes. The romance in The Kiss Quotient was so fantastic my eyes turned heart-shaped whenever Stella and Michael were together. Their relationship was slow and careful. When things did progress to the next level he was patient and protective of her. The sex scenes were explicit but not in an erotic way. The gentle sweetness of their contact was what made every sexy time hot and heavy and enjoyable. I highly recommend The Kiss Quotient to all readers. Even if romance is not your usual thing you may find yourself falling in love with this story. It's lovely from start to finish.
Date published: 2018-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from what i needed to get out of a reading slump this book is amazing. the characters are so diverse and complex and well developed, the storyline is unbelievably adorable. the story was heartwarming, hot, funny...basically everything you could ask for!
Date published: 2018-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from adorable couldn't put this book down it was great. adorable storyline and fun characters
Date published: 2018-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Refreshing and Eye-Opening Bought this book a few days ago, opened it yesterday, and finished it this evening. I haven't read in a while, and figured I'd get back into it again. This was the perfect novel to get me into the reading mood once again. The storyline is unique and refreshing, unlike anything I've read before. The characters throughout the entire novel are incredibly easy to love.
Date published: 2018-08-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! Couldn't put it down it was funny , heartwarming and hot
Date published: 2018-08-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Just a hyped up book. Nothing more. This book did not live up to my expectations. I was expecting more logic in the assessment of the feeling, similar to the end where love is equated to something. This book was an okay read and not only did it not live up to my expectations, I also don't think it lives up to the hype it got. Slightly disappointed as I was really looking forward to it.
Date published: 2018-08-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hot, Hot, Hot! 4.5 stars This is definitely one of my new current favourites when it comes to the romance genre. I loved it! It was so close to five stars for me but for some reason, there was just a little something that kept it from the full five star rating. Everything about this novel was incredible. It was cute, it was emotional, it was relatable, and oh boy was it steamy! Seriously, I think from the cover it looks like it will be a way more innocent read than what it is in reality. Still, I was all about it and loved it! For those (like me) that really liked "The Hating Game" by Sally Thorne, I definitely would recommend this as an additional read because I had about the same level of enjoyment for both. It's kind of odd because both covers look somewhat similar in colour scheme. Anyway, I cannot wait to read what comes next from the mind of Helen Hoang because the combination of the story and her writing was truly delectable!
Date published: 2018-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LAUGH OUT LOUD Funny This book I wasn't sure about. But after the 2nd chapter I was hooked. It was 50 Shades of Grey meets (name a funny book). I had this read in less than 48 hours!
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I feel very single Loved this book so much. One of the best romance novels I have read in avery Long time
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sexy Heartwarming Read! I finished this book in 2 days! It was such a heartwarming read. It had a lot of sensual and sexy love scenes. If you enjoy romance this is a definite book for you
Date published: 2018-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A lovely romance.... filled with joy and laughter....yet tears and uncertainty! Cute read!!
Date published: 2018-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Get this book! I've been reading a lot of romance lately and found myself disappointed with novels I thought I would love. Luckily, this wasn't one of them! It lived up to every expectation I had. The main relationship was really sweet, and the focus on consent was incredible. I can't wait to read The Bride Test! #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So perfect This is a book of my heart. It is at times heartbreaking but mostly sweet and funny and hopeful. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sweet and fun I just adored this in every way - contemporary romantic comedies were never on my radar The main characters, Stella and Michael, were amazing and their love and respect for each other was so wonderful to read about. Also their chemistry was off the charts and I appreciated the slow build to full intimacy and the importance placed on consent. Overall, a really solid debut and a great contemporary romance. I'm looking forward to Hoang's other works.
Date published: 2018-07-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Contemporary Romance Ever! This book right here is exactly why I love and adore contemporary romance novels and am officially declaring it my favorite sub-genre to read! The Kiss Quotient is witty, charming and oh so sexy – trust me when I say it will leave you breathless and your heart fluttering. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book written about an autistic woman seeking romance but Hoang’s brilliant depiction of Stella had me gushing in adoration for her. This is an amazing debut (and series!) that transforms the recurring fake relationship theme and injects it with autism disorder and biracial ethnicity into a fresh and modern retake. Stella is a smart, successful and generously compensated econometrician (Google it!). She is shy, reserved, thrives on order and routine, and has Asperger’s which makes social interactions awkward, especially relationships. Michael is a drop-dead gorgeous Vietnamese-Swedish escort brimming with talent, confidence and charm. He has put his fashion design career on hold to care for his sick mother and escorting, though not his choice of profession, is temporarily paying the bills. Stella hires Michael to teach her how to be in a relationship and have good sex complete with a comprehensive checklist from French kissing to more than missionary-style sex. The chemistry between them is unmistakable and Michael is careful to take it at Stella’s pace. Michael delivers more than great sex. His ability to see past Stella’s autism and genuinely understand her and ease her anxiety elevates him to top-notch boyfriend status. The growing love between them is inevitable but their insecurities get in the way. With a cast of unique characters, Hoang brilliantly stifles any stereotypes and judgments which is refreshing. This is a delightful, sexy, heartfelt, complex, emotional, educational (dare I say more?!) story that had me rooting for Stella and Michael from the get-go! If you loved The Wedding Date then you will love The Kiss Quotient also.
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing Debut This book was sweet, sexy, and romantic. I loved reading about an autistic main lead exploring her sexuality on her own terms after some negative sexual experiences. And the love interest was a mixed Asian male who was a part-time sex worker. There were just so many different perspectives to look at and I appreciated the representation. Stella and Michael's chemistry worked so well. Outside and inside the bedroom. I appreciated him so much for caring whether or not Stella was enjoying sex and how he focused so much on consent. And that's pretty sad when you think about how a person caring about their sexual partner's comfort level is something that is appreciated and not expected. I've read some romance/erotica where there were such unhealthy and rape-y things going on and, even though I had fun with the books overall, I want romance books to raise their standards concerning healthy (sexual) relationships. I am eagerly awaiting for Helen Hoang's next book in January!
Date published: 2018-06-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really cute! I'm so happy I bought this book! I definitely took my time reading this one to really understand what it is like to be in Stella's shoes. Micheal is pretty adorable, as well. Still can't get over the fact that he was compared to my favourite actor Daniel Henny. Overall, this book was really worth reading!
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartwarming New Romance! *I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review* This book is basically a gender swapped Pretty Woman but it’s written with a half Asian love interest and it’s #ownvoices with an autistic protagonist. It’s honestly been one of the best contemporary romances that I have ever read! This story will make you laugh, cry, and fall so deeply for the characters that you don’t want it to end. It’s such an authentic take on modern-day romance and it completely defies logic at every turn. Stella Lane has always preferred numbers over people. She never dates, has zero social life, and follows the same routine every day. Stella has always been bothered by the fact that her autism seems to separate her from everyone else and she never tells anyone because she doesn’t want looks of pity. It’s after her mom tells her that she needs to start dating that makes her wonder if there is a way to get over her own awkwardness with men. The only problem is that Stella hates sex. She loathes the feeling of kissing and hates when people touch her. The few times she has had sex were unpleasant, to say the least, and she wants to find someone who can teach her to be better at it. Michael only escorts because he desperately needs the money. His mountain of debt isn’t going anywhere soon and he believes that selling his body is the perfect solution. He knows how to rock a woman’s world, but for one night only. Michael has learned the hard way not to see a client twice. He is expecting Stella to be some older woman who saw his picture and wanted his body. Michael never expected to see a beautiful young woman who claims to be terrible at sex. Her proposal breaks his number one rule, but he can’t resist wanting to help Stella. Besides, she’s offering enough money to pay off his bills. As the lessons in sex progress, Stella realizes that she needs more than just a physical connection with a man and asks Michael to pretend to date her. They try to keep their relationship professional, but they fall for each other anyway. The only thing keeping them apart is the fact that they both have secrets that could scare the other away. I was honestly so moved by this book because Stella was so quirky and charming and she says whatever is on her mind. Her strength was astounding and I love that she was able to overcome her insecurities throughout the course of the book and just be proud of who she is. I can’t say personally whether or not the depiction of autism was good or not, but I love the awareness that this book promotes. I will definitely say that Michael’s family is my favourite! His grandma totally reminded me of Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid for some reason and I love it! It was also amazing that Michael already knew how to cope with Stella’s autism (even when he didn’t know she had it) because his cousin is also autistic. This book seriously melted my heart and made me swoon! I can’t wait for more Helen Hoang! She is definitely a romance author to watch out for. My heart honestly feels so full and i can’t remember the last time I became so emotionally invested in a book. P.S. For all you K-drama fans, Michael supposedly resembles Daniel Henney!
Date published: 2018-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Debut Novel: The Kiss Quotient I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book I loved this book! The characters were all really interesting and I enjoyed the plot as well as the fact that the author changed the point of view throughout the story so that sometimes we saw things from Stella's perspective and sometimes we saw what Michael was thinking. By changing the perspective the readers were able to get to know the main characters better as well as meeting other characters that interacted more with one character than the other. It was really interesting to see how Stella and Michael's relationship with one another developed as well as how they each worked through their own personal issues through out the story. I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more by this author in the future.
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cute, sweet and sensitive This untraditional romance is super cute, sweet, and sensitive toward a variety of issues. The story framework of having a main character on the spectrum trying to navigate traditional expectations puts it in a similar vein to The Rose Project, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr. However, it's important to note that this is a full romance book, i.e. it contains erotic, explicit descriptions of sex, while the others keep the romance elements more subtle. That being said, the romance stays very true to the characters, especially with how gentle and slowly Michael has to move with Stella initially, as he begins to understand her personality and emotional barriers. Toss in elements of economic disparity, family pressures, traditional Vietnamese culture, a single parent family and terminal illness and you've got a delightful romance that brilliantly mixes humor and heart.
Date published: 2018-04-24

Read from the Book

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof*** Copyright © 2018 Helen HoangChapter 1“I know you hate surprises, Stella. In the interests of communicating our expectations and providing you a reasonable timeline, you should know we’re ready for grandchildren.”Stella Lane’s gaze jumped from her breakfast up to her mother’s gracefully aging face. A subtle application of makeup drew attention to battle-ready, coffee-colored eyes. That boded ill for Stella. When her mother got something into her mind, she was like a honey badger with a vendetta—pugnacious and tenacious, but without the snarling and fur.“I’ll keep that in mind,” Stella said.Shock gave way to rapid-fire, panic-scrambled thoughts. Grandchildren meant babies. And diapers. Mountains of diapers. Exploding diapers. And babies cried, soul-grating banshee wails that even the best sound-canceling headphones couldn’t buffer. How did they cry so long and hard when they were so little? Plus, babies meant husbands. Husbands meant boyfriends. Boyfriends meant dating. Dating meant sex. She shuddered.“You’re thirty, Stella dear. We’re concerned that you’re still single. Have you tried Tinder?”She grabbed her water and gulped down a mouthful, accidentally swallowing an ice cube. After clearing her throat, she said, “No. I haven’t tried it.”The very thought of Tinder—and the corresponding dating it aimed to deliver—caused her to break out in a sweat. She hated everything about dating: the departure from her comfortable routine, the conversation that was by turns inane and baffling, and again, the sex . . .“I’ve been offered a promotion,” she said, hoping it would distract her mother.“Another one?” her father asked, lowering his copy of the Wall Street Journal so his wire-framed glasses were visible. “You were just promoted two quarters ago. That’s phenomenal.”Stella perked up and scooted to the edge of her seat. “Our newest client—a large online vendor who shall remain nameless—provided the most amazing datasets, and I get to play with them all day. I designed an algorithm to help with some of their purchase suggestions. Apparently, it’s working better than expected.”“When is the new promotion effective?” her father asked.“Well . . .” The hollandaise and egg yolk from her crabcakes Benedict had run together, and she attempted to separate the yellow liquids with the tip of her fork. “I didn’t accept the promotion. It was a principal econometrician position that would have had five direct reports beneath me and require much more client interaction. I just want to work on the data.”Her mother batted that statement away with a negligent wave of her hand. “You’re getting complacent, Stella. If you stop challenging yourself, you’re not going to make any more improvement with your social skills. That reminds me, are there any coworkers at your company who you’d like to date?”Her father set his newspaper down and folded his hands over his rounded belly. “Yes, what about that one fellow, Philip James? When we met him at your last company get-together, he seemed nice enough.”Her mother’s hands fluttered to her mouth like pigeons homing in on bread crumbs. “Oh, why didn’t I think of him? He was so polite. And easy on the eyes, too.”“He’s okay, I guess.” Stella ran her fingertips over the condensation on her water glass. To be honest, she’d considered Philip. He was conceited and abrasive, but he was a direct speaker. She really liked that in people. “I think he has several personality disorders.”Her mother patted Stella’s hand. Instead of putting it back in her lap when she was done, she rested it over Stella’s knuckles. “Maybe he’ll be a good match for you, then, dear. With issues of his own to overcome, he might be more understanding of your Asperger’s.”Though the words were spoken in a matter-of-fact tone, they sounded unnatural and loud to Stella’s ears. A quick glance at the neighboring tables in the restaurant’s canopied outdoor dining area reassured her that no one had heard, and she stared down at the hand on top of hers, consciously refraining from yanking it away. Uninvited touches irritated her, and her mother knew it. She did it to “acclimate” her. Mostly, it drove Stella crazy. Was it possible Philip could understand that?“I’ll think about him,” Stella said, and meant it. She hated lying and prevaricating even more than she hated sex. And, at the end of the day, she wanted to make her mother proud and happy. No matter what Stella did, she was always a few steps short of being successful in her mother’s eyes and therefore her own, too. A boyfriend would do that, she knew. The problem was she couldn’t keep a man for the life of her.Her mother beamed. “Excellent. The next benefit dinner I’m arranging is in a couple months, and I want you to bring a date this time. I’d love to see Mr. James attending with you, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll find someone.”Stella thinned her lips. Her latest sexual experience had been with one of her mother’s blind dates. He’d been good-looking—she had to give him that—but his sense of humor had confused her. With him being a venture capitalist and her being an economist, they should have had a lot in common, but he hadn’t wanted to talk about his actual work. Instead, he’d preferred to discuss office politics and manipulation tactics, leaving her so lost she’d been certain the date was a failure.When he’d straight-out asked her if she wanted to have sex with him, she’d been caught completely off guard. Because she hated to say no, she’d said yes. There’d been kissing, which she didn’t enjoy. He’d tasted like the lamb he’d had for dinner. She didn’t like lamb. His cologne had nauseated her, and he’d touched her all over. As it always did in intimate situations, her body had locked down. Before she knew it, he’d finished. He’d discarded his used condom in the trash can next to the hotel room’s desk—that had bothered her; surely he should know things like that went in the bathroom?—told her she needed to loosen up, and left. She could only imagine how disappointed her mother would be if she knew what a disaster her daughter was with men.And now her mother wanted babies, too.Stella got to her feet and gathered her purse. “I need to go to work now.” While she was ahead on all her deadlines, need was still the right word for it. Work fascinated her, channeled the furious craving in her brain. It was also therapeutic.“That’s my girl,” her father said, standing up and brushing off his silk Hawaiian shirt before hugging her. “You’re going to own that place before long.”As she gave him a quick hug—she didn’t mind touching when she initiated it or had time to mentally prepare for it—she breathed in the familiar scent of his aftershave. Why couldn’t all men be just like her father? He thought she was beautiful and brilliant, and his smell didn’t make her sick.“You know her work is an unhealthy obsession, Edward. Don’t encourage her,” her mother said before she switched her attention to Stella and heaved a maternal sigh. “You should be out with people on the weekend. If you met more men, I know you’d find the right one.”Her father pressed a cool kiss to her temple and whispered, “I wish I were working, too.”Stella shook her head at him as her mother embraced her. The ropes of her mother’s ever-present pearls pressed into Stella’s sternum, and Chanel No. 5 swirled around her. She tolerated the cloying scent for three long seconds before stepping back.“I’ll see you both next weekend. I love you. Bye.”She waved at her parents before exiting the ritzy downtown Palo Alto restaurant and walked down sidewalks lined with trees and upscale shops. After three sunny blocks, she reached a low-rise office building that housed her favorite place in the world: her office. The left corner window on the third floor belonged to her.The lock on the front door clicked open when she held her purse up to the sensor, and she strode into the empty building, enjoying the solitary echo of her high heels on the marble as she passed the vacant reception desk and stepped into the elevator.Inside her office, she initiated her most beloved routine. First, she powered on her computer and entered her password into the prompt screen. As all the software booted up, she plopped her purse in her desk drawer and went to fill her cup with water from the kitchen. Her shoes came off, and she placed them in their regular spot under her desk. She sat.Power, password, purse, water, shoes, sit. Always this order.Statistics Analysis System, otherwise known as SAS, automatically loaded, and the three monitors on her desk filled with streams of data. Purchases, clicks, log-in times, payment types—simple things, really. But they told her more about people than people themselves ever did. She stretched out her fingers and set them on the black ergonomic keyboard, eager to lose herself in her work.“Oh hi, Stella, I thought it might be you.”She looked over her shoulder and was jarred by the unwelcome view of Philip James peering around the door frame. The severe cut of his tawny hair emphasized his square jaw, and his polo shirt was tight across his chest. He looked fresh, sophisticated, and smart—precisely the kind of man her parents wanted for her. And he’d caught her working for pleasure on the weekend.Her face heated, and she pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “What are you doing here?”“I had to pick up something that I forgot yesterday.” He extracted a box from a shopping bag and waved it at her. Stella caught sight of the word TROJAN in giant capital letters. “Have a nice weekend. I know I will.”Breakfast with her parents raced through her mind. Grandchildren, Philip, the prospect of more blind dates, being successful. She licked her lips and hurried to say something, anything. “Did you really need an economy-sized box of those?”As soon as the words left her mouth, she winced.He smirked his assholest smirk, but its annoyingness was softened by a show of strong white teeth. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to need half of these tonight since the boss’s new intern asked me out.”Stella was impressed despite herself. The new girl looked so shy. Who would have thought she was so gutsy? “For dinner?”“And more, I think,” he said with a twinkle in his hazel eyes.“Why did you wait for her to ask you out? Why didn’t you ask her first?” She’d gotten the impression men liked to be initiators in matters like these. Was she wrong?With impatient motions, Philip stuffed an entire militia of Trojans back in his shopping bag. “She’s fresh out of undergrad. I didn’t want to get accused of cradle robbing. Besides, I like girls who know what they want and go for it . . . especially in bed.” He swept an appraising gaze from her feet to her face, smiling like he could see through her clothes, and she stiffened with self-consciousness. “Tell me, are you still a virgin, Stella?”She turned back to her computer screens, but the data refused to make sense. The cursor on the programming screen blinked. “It’s none of your business, but no, I’m not a virgin.”He walked into her office, leaned a hip against her desk, and considered her in a skeptical manner. She adjusted her glasses even though they didn’t need it. “So our star econometrician has ‘done it’ before. How many times? Three?”No way was she going to tell him he’d guessed correctly. “None of your business, Philip.”“I bet you just lie there and run linear recursions in your head while a man does his business. Am I right, Ms. Lane?”Stella would totally do that if she could figure out how to input gigabytes of data into her brain, but she’d rather die than admit it.“A word of advice from a man who’s been around the block a few times: Get some practice. When you’re good at it, you like it better, and when you like it better, men like you better.” He pushed away from the desk and headed for the door, his bag of condoms swinging jauntily at his side. “Enjoy your endless week.”As soon as he left, Stella stood up and shoved her door shut, using more force than was necessary. The door slammed with a hard, vibrating bang, and her heart stuttered. She smoothed damp hands over her pencil skirt as she brought her breathing back under control. When she sat down at her desk, she was too jittery to do more than stare at the blinking cursor.Was Philip right? Did she dislike sex because she was bad at it? Would practice really make perfect? What a beguiling concept. Maybe sex was just another interpersonal thing she needed to exert extra efforts on—like casual conversation, eye contact, and etiquette.But how exactly did you practice sex? It wasn’t like men were throwing themselves at her like women apparently did to Philip. When she did manage to sleep with a man, he was so put off by the lackluster experience that once was more than enough for both of them.Also, this was Silicon Valley, the kingdom of tech geniuses and scientists. The single men available were probably as hopeless in bed as she was. With her luck, she’d sleep with a statistically significant population of them and have nothing to show for it but crotch burn and STDs.No, what Stella needed was a professional.Not only were they certified disease-free, but they had proven track records. At least, she assumed so. That was how she’d run things if she were in that business. Regular men were incentivized by things like personality, humor, and hot sex—things she didn’t have. Professionals were incentivized by money. Stella happened to have a lot of money.Instead of working on her shiny new dataset, Stella opened up her browser and Googled “California Bay Area male escort service.”

Bookclub Guide

   1. Prior to reading this book, how would you have imagined an autistic woman? How does Stella compare to this vision?    2. Stella was surprised when she heard her coworker Philip James had been asked out by their new intern. When it comes to heterosexual relationships, do you think men should be the initiators? What does it say about a woman if she asks out a man?    3. Does it surprise you to see an autistic person exploring a sexual relationship? If so, why?    4. With regards to autism, people are divided between using person-first language (i.e. “person with autism”) and identity-first language (i.e. “autistic person”). One of the main arguments for person-first language is that it separates a person from their mental disorders. Many autistic people, on the other hand, prefer identity-first language because they believe autism is an intrinsic part of who they are and have no wish for a “cure.” Which do you think is right? Do you think it can depend on each person’s individual circumstances and preferences? How did you feel when Stella tried to make herself fresh and fantastic? Why did you feel that way?    5. What do you think of a man with Michael’s Friday night profession? How does that compare to your impression of a woman with that profession? If gender makes a difference, why is that?    6. How does Michael’s daytime profession affect his attractiveness?    7. Throughout the book, Michael worries he’s inherited his father’s “badness,” that it was passed down in his blood. Do you think this is illogical? Are you able to empathize with him? If so, how?    8. Is love alone enough? Can people with different cultures, education levels, and wealth be together in the long run? How can they make it work?

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Kiss Quotient“Hoang’s witty debut proves that feelings are greater than numbers, no matter how you add things up.”—People Magazine“With a deft hand, Hoang crafts an honest and thoughtful look at the challenges Stella’s neuroatypicality poses while never losing sight of who Stella is as an individual, especially as her relationship with Michael evolves into something far beyond the scientific.”—Harper’s Bazaar“Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient is an absolute delight—charming, sexy, and centered on a protagonist you love rooting for.”—Buzzfeed“Hoang writes Stella with insight and empathy.”—The New York Times Book Review"Hoang does an amazing job of crafting a vividly romantic tale filled with depth, humor and a universal sense of humanity."—Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author“In just under 24 hours I devoured The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and it was AWESOME. Adorable, sexy, smart. Exactly the book I wanted to read!”—Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author “Clever, sexy and a breath of fresh air! The Kiss Quotient is intoxicatingly witty and romantic!”—Lauren Blakely, New York Times bestselling author“I devoured The Kiss Quotient.  It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. It has everything—it’s funny, sad, poignant and impossible to put down.”—Christine Feehan, New York Times bestselling author   “The Kiss Quotient is unexpected, unconventional and unputdownable. I loved it. Hoang’s writing has a sharp, quirky, emotional edge that will resonate with anyone who has ever tried to navigate the complicated world of modern relationships.  Opening this book is like setting a match to a handful of fireworks—lots of sparkle, heat and energy.”—Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author  “The Kiss Quotient had me under a spell the moment I met the hero. I was excited, in love, and couldn’t wait to get back to this book every time life forced me to put it down. A rare and riveting love story.”—Penelope Douglas, New York Times bestselling author“An unexpectedly sweet romance that left me with a huge smile on my face. I dare you not to fall in love with these two characters and their story. Helen Hoang’s debut is quite simply delightful!”—Nalini Singh, New York Times bestselling author“The balance of humor, kindness, and honesty in The Kiss Quotient combined with the gentleness in Hoang’s style of storytelling charmed and connected with me in a way no other book has done in a long time.”—Book Riot“Hoang knocks it out of the park with this stellar debut about an autistic woman who takes a methodical approach to learning about sex and accidentally gets a lesson in love...Hoang gives [Stella] tremendous depth as a character, never reducing her to a walking diagnosis. The diverse cast and exceptional writing take this romance to the next level, and readers who see themselves in Stella will be ecstatic.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)