THE BRIDES TEST
Writing Style/Quality: 4
Characters & their development: 5
Personal enjoyment: 4
Final rating: 4
WHAT I LIKED
–the representation for Autism
-the rep for Vietnamese people & culture
-the cute relationship
WHAT I WAS MEH ABOUT
WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK FROM
Allen & Unwin
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.
The Bride Test was one of the first Adult Romance books that I REALLY enjoyed. This novel follows the story of Esme as she tries to make a better life for her child, Jade, but in the end, falls in love with someone who she thinks does not love her back. I really enjoyed my time reading this and ended up devouring it in two days. It was the perfect fluffy contemporary read that I needed, but it had an edge of something more which I really appreciated.
This was full of funny, cute and romantic moments, all at the right spots. First, let’s talk about the characters. Esme was an amazing MC. She came from Vietnam (yay representation!) and she says yes to spending a summer with Khai because she wants to give her daughter a better chance at life. I found that aspect alone was really touching. Esme was willing to go through with almost anything if it would mean Jade had a better life. BUT what I liked on top of that, was the fact that she was not willing to lie or hurt Khai in exchange for that, instead, she just tried to make him love her.
Speaking of Khai, he was autistic and Vietnamese-American, living in America. He was a very interesting character who debunked SO many autistic tropes. He proved that Autistic people were intelligent and could ALSO feel love. I found that I was constantly learning more about Autism while reading this, and from actually autistic reviewers, it seems Helen did a wonderful job.
This novel also showed the hardships of moving to a new country and I found that unique. It showed both the good and the bad. People teasing Esme because her English was not great, but also, Esme going to school on her own. It was beautiful to see Khai’s family surround her and try to help her adjust to American life, but it was also great to see many tributes back to Vietnam. Esme never forgot where she came from, and never saw it in a negative light.
Something I’ve never really touched on was the authors note in this, It was beautiful. It spoke of the reason she wrote this novel, and who it was for. I found that it was the sweetest thing I had read and It just really ended the novel on the perfect note. If you’ve read this and didn’t read the Authors note, I’d 100% recommend going back to read it.
Overall this was full of a beautiful romance that was so cute it left you feeling warm. And it was full of different kinds of representation to boot! I think this was an important and entertaining book and I can’t wait to see what else the author comes out with!
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