Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Page Count: 320
Series: The Kiss Quotient, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: May 7, 2019 by Berkley
Review: The Kiss Quotient set an impossibly high bar as one of my all-time favorite romance novels. I was ecstatic when I found out that Helen Hoang would be publishing another love story following a periphery character from her stunning debut.
The story, which follows Michael’s cousin Khai and the delightfully independent Esme, is undeniably sweet, but somehow lacked the same swoon-worthy quality that made the The Kiss Quotient so unforgettable. It’s hard to say exactly what it lacks, but it just doesn’t have “it”. The characters were likeable, and the plot was cutesy, but it felt to me like it was just running in a very predictable circle.
I appreciate that this romance is focused on somebody with autism, and if you read the first book, it was nice to see that Khai’s autism isn’t portrayed exactly the same as Stella’s. There is so much diversity on the spectrum, and it is refreshing to see this represented.
I hope this book is going to be part of a trilogy, and I suspect that if it is, the third book will focus on Khai’s brother, Quan. He is also a very likable character, and it would be great to follow his story next.
Title: On the Come Up
Author: Angie Thomas
Page Count: 464
Publishing Date/Publisher: February 5, 2019 by Balzer + Bray
Review: This is an exceptionally well-written coming-of-age story about staying true to yourself and following your dreams. What I really loved about it is that Thomas was able to touch upon a lot of hot topics without this book feeling like it was issue fiction. A Blade So Black touched upon a lot of the same issues, but as I noted in my review, I did not like that the controversial topics were laid out in a very one dimensional fashion. Angie Thomas managed to avoid this pitfall by exploring the issues from many different angles. I think this is a very socially responsible approach, and gives the story more power with a wider audience. I, for example, grew up with very different challenges than the main character, Bri, and though I do not agree with all of her choices and opinions, I can completely understand how her life experiences have shaped her perspective on and reaction to the events that take place in the story. I think this speaks volumes about Thomas’ skill as a writer, and it makes me very excited about whatever projects she may have coming up in the (hopefully) near future.
Title: We’ll Always Have Summer
Author: Jenny Han
Performer: Jessica Almasy
Length: 6 hr, 45 min
Series: Summer, Book 3
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2011 by Recorded Books
Review: I wasn’t particularly surprised by the ending of this book, but the author really does make you wait until the epilogue to know which brother Belly ends up with. I felt Belly’s anguish was very relatable throughout the final book, and it is a relief to know that she ends up happy despite it all.
My feelings regarding Conrad and Jeremiah are mixed. Both characters are deeply flawed, and it was difficult for me to determine Conrad’s motivators in particular. His love for Belly did not feel very authentic to me, even after I was given insight into his feelings.
To be perfectly honest, I was not as invested in this book as I was in the two that precede it. I had a very strong suspicion about how it would all play out, and I was pretty much on the mark. I’m glad that I finished the trilogy though and I would very much consider reading other books written by this author.