Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Unique characters, diverse themes, and a strong connection between Stella and Michael make The Kiss Quotient a standout new adult fiction novel. Keep reading the review.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Jorge Garcia

Summary

The Kiss Quotient is a classic of the new adult fiction genre, with its unique characters, diverse themes, and the powerful connection between Stella and Michael.

The author’s choice to use a third-person narrative with alternating points of view enhances the reading experience, allowing for a richer and more complex understanding of the characters and their relationship dynamics.

While the sexual content may be excessive for some readers, the novel remains an engaging and relatable story of love, self-discovery, and overcoming personal challenges.

The narrative technique employed by Helen Hoang is undoubtedly the book’s standout feature, providing readers with a fresh and captivating perspective on romance.

3

I don’t usually read romance novels. I tend to limit myself in this regard because the stories usually have one of two possible endings: either the lovers end up together and happy, or they end up apart and sad. This feature of romance fiction makes the stories quite predictable.

Nonetheless, I decided to read this book while working on a piece about New Adult Fiction. I discovered that the novel was quite popular. Upon further research, I saw that many people genuinely adored the novel and its characters, which piqued my curiosity.

The book ended up being an easy-to-read novel with a straightforward and predictable plot, with the characters complex enough to keep me engaged.

The Kiss Quotient is a new adult fiction novel that explores love, self-discovery, and overcoming personal challenges in the context of a unique romance. The story follows Stella Lane, a successful econometrician with Asperger’s syndrome, who struggles with social situations and romantic connections.


The Kiss Quotient Helen Hoang

Desiring to improve her dating experiences, she hires a charming, handsome escort named Michael Phan to teach her about intimacy and relationships.

As a model for new adult fiction, The Kiss Quotient presents a fresh take on the romance genre by incorporating diversity and inclusivity in its characters and themes. Stella’s Asperger’s syndrome adds complexity to her character, and the author, Helen Hoang, tackles the challenges faced by individuals with autism with authenticity. Stella’s journey of self-discovery and personal growth is an empowering and relatable aspect of the story for readers.

The chemistry between Stella and Michael is evident throughout the novel, with Michael’s struggles and insecurities adding depth to his character. Their relationship defies the conventional romance trope, offering a somehow realistic portrayal of love that transcends barriers and fosters growth in both individuals. The development of their relationship is central to the plot, providing a strong emotional core for the story.

The Kiss Quotient Helen Hoang

In addition to the main characters, the novel introduces a diverse cast that touches upon issues such as race, class, and disability, reflecting the real-world diversity of the new adult audience. This inclusivity sets The Kiss Quotient apart from other romance novels. Furthermore, it demonstrates the potential for romance to be a force for positive change.

However, I find the sexual content excessive for my taste. Given the context of the story, I don’t need to know the specific dimensions, shapes, or the level of sturdiness of the characters’ body parts.

I can easily grasp the dynamics and emotions between Stella and Michael without the need for an overwhelming amount of explicit detail, as their interactions and dialogue are enough to paint a vivid picture of their relationship. Yep, TMI sometimes.

What I found remarkable is the narrative voice used by the author. Instead of choosing a first-person narrator, Helen Hoang creates a third-person narrative voice but constantly changes the point of view.

The Kiss Quotient Helen Hoang

We know that one of the benefits of the first person is that it lets readers get close to the narrator. By sharing the story through the main character’s eyes, readers can see their thoughts and feelings up close, making the story more engaging and easy to connect. In addition, this characteristic helps create a strong bond between the reader and the character, making them more invested in what happens in the story.

However, Hoang gains the advantage of flexibility by choosing to tell the story with a third-person narrator. This point of view allows her to describe events and thoughts from different characters’ viewpoints, giving the reader a wider perspective of the story.

This can make the narrative richer and more complex since the writer can dive deeper into Stella’as and Michael’s worlds. The third-person perspective lets the author keep a bit of distance, so the reader can form opinions about what’s happening and who’s who in the story.

How does Hoang do it? By alternating Stella’s and Michael’s points of view from chapter to chapter. Sometimes, the POV changes within each chapter and the narration keeps moving the story forward from each character’s perspective.

The Kiss Quotient Helen Hoang

Let me give an example of this switch on the point of view. Chapter 22 is divided into two scenes. The narration for the first one comes from Stella’s point of view. Then, following a setting change, Michael’s point of view narrates the second part.

This structure allows us, as readers, to view the same situation from both characters’ perspectives. This strategy, employed consistently throughout the book, maintains the story’s freshness and effectively conveys information

As I say, the narrative strategy is the book’s greatest success. To exemplify this strategy and for your reference, I made a list of chapters and sections and the point of view from which the action is narrated in each one. I hope you find it useful!

ChapterCharacter’s POV
Chapter 1Stella
Chapter 2Michael
Chapter 3Stella
Chapter 4Michael
Stella
Chapter 5Stella
Chapter 6Michael
Chapter 7Stella
Michael
Chapter 8Michael
Stella
Chapter 9Stella
Michael
Chapter 10Stella
Chapter 11Michael
Stella
Chapter 12Michael
Stella
Chapter 13Michael
Stella
Michael
Chapter 14Stella
Michael
Stella
Michael
Chapter 15Stella
Stella
Chapter 16Michael
Stella
Chapter 17Stella
Chapter 18Michael
Chapter 19Stella
Chapter 20Michael
Stella
Chapter 21Stella
Chapter 22Stella
Michael
Stella
Stella
Chapter 23Michael
Michael
Chapter 24Stella
Michael
Chapter 25Stella
Michael
Chapter 26Michael
Stella
Chapter 27Michael
Stella
Stella
Chapter 28Stella
Stella
EpilogueStella

There are several interesting issues in this list. First, we can see that from the beginning of the novel, the point of view alternates between Stella and Michael. Second, we see that 17 of the 28 chapters are narrated from the point of view of both of them. Finally, at the end of the novel, Stella’s point of view predominates, which may indicate that the novel’s main character is her. What do you think?

In conclusion, The Kiss Quotient is a noteworthy addition to the new adult fiction genre, with its unique characters, diverse themes, and the powerful connection between Stella and Michael.

The author’s choice to use a third-person narrative with alternating points of view enhances the reading experience, allowing for a richer and more complex understanding of the characters and their relationship dynamics.

While the sexual content may be excessive for some readers, the novel remains an engaging and relatable story of love, self-discovery, and overcoming personal challenges.

The narrative technique employed by Helen Hoang is undoubtedly the book’s standout feature, providing readers with a fresh and captivating perspective on romance.