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The Bride Test

(10 customer reviews)


by  Helen Hoang


From the USA Today, bestselling author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart…

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.


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About this book

316 Pages
6 - 7 Hours to read
86k Total words


  • Penguin Publishing Group; May 2019
  • ISBN: 9780451490834
  • Title: The Bride Test
  • Author: Helen Hoang
  • Imprint: Berkley
  • Language: English

In The Press

Praise for The Bride Test

“With The Bride Test, Hoang has once again shown readers the importance of representation in literature, while also creating a sexy, compassionate story about the power of love and the enduring American Dream.”—The Washington Post

“With serious moments offset by spot-on humor, this romance has broad appeal, and it will find a special place in the hearts of autistic people and those who love them.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Everything you want a romance novel to be.”—NPR

“Hoang sheds light on a rarely represented segment of society, literally rewriting who is deserving of the leading role in a romantic novel.”—Vogue Hong Kong

The Bride Test is positively delightful…It’s smart, honest, and achingly romantic, just as sexy as it is sweet.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Daisy Jones and the Six

“Helen Hoang is a master of building characters that feel relatable.”—New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren

“Prepare to fall in love all over again…The Bride Test is a charming love story that is equal parts sexy and sweet.”—PopSugar

“Refreshingly real.”—Marie Claire

“A heartwarming contemporary romance.”—

“A stunning, superior romance.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A winning love story that gives a voice to underrepresented characters.”—Booklist

“We couldn’t get enough of Helen Hoang’s debut novel, The Kiss Quotient, so it’s no surprise her second book is at the top of our list.”—Good Housekeeping

“From the author that rocked the lit world with her 2018 novel The Kiss Quotient, comes an equally addicting read that is perfect for summer.”—Women’s Health

“Hoang writes with the kind of humanity that we all should embody, the kind that makes you believe that there is still an abundance of good left in the world at any given moment.”—Shondaland

“Funny, heartwrenching, and the sort of book you’ll literally clasp to your chest with a happy sigh after you finish it.”—Amazon Book Review

“This new quirky, heartwarming romance will make you believe in love again.”—Woman’s Day

“Hoang’s books are tenderly personal.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Hoang writes sensitively about underrepresented characters while balancing heavier themes with light, sweet humor.”—PureWow

“You’re not just reading a fun novel, you’re also reading a novel that’s giving visibility to groups that aren’t often written about.”—Betches

“A charming novel about the different forms that love can take.”—New York Post

“Helen Hoang’s books…are both delicious love stories and also deeply personal.”—Glamour

“Refreshing, different, and uplifting.”—The Everygirl

“This is one of the romance books of the year — deeply felt and beautifully written.”BookBub

About The Author

Helen Hoang is a 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 Kiss Quotient.

Additional information



10 reviews for The Bride Test

  1. Amazon Customer

    I really likes liked Kai and the premise of the story sounded interesting and exciting but I REALLY didn’t like Esme. I found her way too naive(?) and selfish. I excused her not knowing about Kai’s autism since his mom hadn’t told her and Kai didn’t tell her in the beginning either so all of the misunderstandings that happened in the beginning were understandable but when he told her and she didn’t even bother to look up what it was….I mean she loves this man right? So he tells her “I have autism” and she doesn’t even bother to look it up? To see what other things might trigger him or how else she can help him? It also bugged me how at the end she’s so insistent that hs tells her the words “I love you” I understand why that’s important and it’s good to hear those words but what happened to actions speak louder than words? Her insecurities also got annoying at the end All in all I wasn’t very sympathetic with Esme’s character but I really liked Kai and I liked the little snippet we saw of his relationship with Jade.

  2. K

    After reading “The Kiss Quotient” “The Bride Test” turned out to be a huge disappointment. Neither Esme nor Kai were anywhere close to as endearing and romantic as Michael and Stella were. The two leads lacked chemistry and as solo characters fell rather flat. Esme while I felt for her plight, was also very selfish and manipulative, always putting her feelings and wants over even the health and life of her own child. She keeps secrets out of fear of rejection, but revealing those secrets and the subject of those secrets was always inevitable so that plot device was done poorly. However, Kai was… Confusing. I understand that he had autism, but unlike in TKQ, this was more say than show. Stella’s autism was handled delicately by both the writer and the characters she wrote. Kai’s came off as more of an excuse for some of his more socially unacceptable awkwardness. Having a very close relative on the spectrum, I did recognize some of Kai’s behaviors and they seemed legit, but trying to use it (or his inability to verbally express certain feels) as the plot-device seemed too convenient and ridiculous.In the end this book was a disappointment but maybe TKQ got my expectations way too high. However I did love the Stella/Michael cameo.

  3. Anya

    I am an obnoxiously picky reader of romance. I try and try but don’t often find one that really captivates me. But Helen Hoang just NAILS this genre for me. I adored The Kiss Quotient so much I think it might be my favorite romance ever, and The Bride Test is right up there with it. I love every beat, every storyline, every character. Her dialogue sings and the relationships feel deep and real. Hoang writes with humor, empathy, and truth. Just perfectly lovely. And as someone whose brain doesn’t work like most people’s, I especially love her neurodivergent leads, who are sexy and smart and wonderful. Make sure you read the Author’s Note at the end!!

  4. Kayla Brunson

    I expected to fall over heels into this story and that’s exactly what happened. I just need ya’ll to know the Helen Hoang is my new romance queen. She mixes romance, easy to love characters, and real life altogether.Khai stole my heart just like I knew he would. His autism wasn’t the same as Stella’s just as like no two are alike. He didn’t understand his feelings and considered himself to be broken. Reading about Khai coming to terms about finding love and registering that he is capable of love was the best part of 2019 so far me. He’s one of those characters that you want to root for and jump through the pages and comfort.Esme was relatable from the get go. How many of us thought life would take us one way and ended up somewhere completely different? She ended up being a single mother young in life and was doing what she could for her daughter. She thought that going to America would give them the life she wanted for them. She just didn’t expect to fall in love.These two weren’t perfect people, but they were perfect for each other. I loved how she wanted Khai’s consent before she did things that would trigger him. How she asked him to show her how he liked things and how he wanted to be touched.I couldn’t give this one 5 stars because I did have some minor issues with it, but it doesn’t take from my love of this book. Also, I really need a book on Quan next. He really stood out in this novel and I would love to read about him finding love!All in all, this book was great and I encourage everyone to read it when it comes out! I preordered as soon as I book the book down!

  5. Luccia Gray

    I had bien waiting for The Bride Test since I read the Kiss Quotient, and it didn’t disappoint. I started reading this afternoon, publication day, and I’ve just finished. I literally couldn’t stop once I started. I’ve been reading on my kindle and listening on Audible (it’s available in the Romance Package) alternately. It’s a humorous and touching story of Esme, who was brought to California from Vietnam to marry Khai, by his mother. Both characters have issues and both help each other grow emotionally into better, stronger versions of themselves. Especially for lovers of slow burn, sweet romance with quirky characters and happy endings.

  6. K. B.

    The author of THE KISS QUOTIENT hits it out of the park again with THE BRIDE TEST.Khai is a successful grown man in California whose family knows he is capable of love, but he believes his autism makes friendship or romance impossible. So his mom flies to Vietnam to find him someone to prove him wrong.Esme lives in poverty with her mom, grandma, and young daughter in Vietnam. When she accidentally meets a woman who offers her the opportunity to fly to America to potentially marry her son, Esme leaps at the chance to do something that could give her family a better life.This novel switches between Khai and Esme’s point of view, allowing us to know why they make the choices they do, and see all of their actions no matter what they decide–or believe. These two strong, complex personalities are wonderful to watch being thrown together.Love is a complicated thing. So is the belief of what we deserve, which is often determined by our past experiences, as well as messages we’ve received about ourselves and the way our brains process them.This realistic, relatable novel explores all of this with a delightful frankness, bit of steam, and a whole lot of empathy.(Make sure to read the Author’s Note at the end!)

  7. Peace Finder

    The characters are too unrealistic and far too sex obsessed in an odd way that is not authentic. What a disappointment this book has been and certainly not an accurate characterization for the main male character as autistic. Read 2 chapters, struggled through the third and then sent it back. Really a shame.

  8. Greyland Reviews

    I think most of us have realized by now that Hoang can do no wrong in her writing. It’s just so amazing, wonderful, and unicorns flying over rainbows…THIS WOMAN KNOWS HOW TO PULL AT YOUR FREAKIN’ HEART STRINGS!!! Never felt my poor little black heart clench so hard in my life. Khai, Esme(Mỳ), Co Ngá, Quan, and so many more of these characters were just amazing. But Khai though… Man this boy can make you feel so much for him.Also can we just give an endless contract to Hoang to keep creating such amazing(how many times can I use that word in this review?) and diverse romances forever.

  9. Vicki

    The Kiss Quotient was so sweet and charming and presented a woman on the spectrum in subtle ways. This book is the opposite. It fe!t as if it was quickly written and seemed poorly edited. Hate to be so harsh. The author has talent. Hope she moves beyond Harlequin sex-mance next time.

  10. MrsLeif

    Looking back to 2018, I can say that The Kiss Quotient was my favorite romance novel. The characters, their limitations and the way they fell in love brought happiness to my heart. So with that being said, you can guess how desperate I was to get my hands on The Bride Test. With all my heart, I was hoping to love it as much as its predecessor. Yet, it was not meant to be. I liked it but I didn’t love it.Why you ask?My answer has to be that I felt there was a lack of connection between both main characters. I love Khai and Esme as separate entities but I didn’t FEEL their love for each other which was disheartening.The novel begins in Vietnam where a desperate mother is trying to find the perfect wife for his autistic son. Khai Diep’s mother thinks she has found the perfect one in Esme Tran.Esme is a young woman. Her mother is Vietnamese and her father is an American whom she has never met. Her family is poor and she lives with them in a small bedroom. She works cleaning bathrooms and here is where she meets Khai’s mother. When she’s offered to come to America and have the chance at a better life, she knows she has to take it. Not only for herself but to help her family.Khai Diep believes he can’t love. He’s autistic and when his best friend died, he couldn’t cry. He knew that day that he was different. He felt that something was wrong with him. Since then, he doesn’t believe he can love. He won’t have any romantic relationships. When his mother brings Esme to his home, he’s shocked. He doesn’t want Esme there but he also doesn’t want to upset his mother. He hopes he can avoid Esme for the next three months and then she will be out of the picture.Funny how things don’t happen the way we want them too. Esme founds herself liking Khai even though she doesn’t understand him half the time.I like Esme. She was trying to do what was best for her and her family. She had ambition and purpose without being heartless. She was patient with Khai and she appreciated his uniqueness.Khai was an extremely interesting character. His autism and the way he handled it was well portrayed by Mrs. Hoang. His love for numbers, running in his suit, not wanting to have light touches and so many other details made him endearing to me.Like I said earlier, I love both characters, I just didn’t feel their love for each other. No one is more disappointed than me. I think I have no one to blame but myself. I had such high expectations for The Bride Test.I do hope the next book makes me fall in love again. I’m hoping it’s Quan’s story. He was fantastic as a character in The Bride Test. He stole so many good scenes and he was prepared to do the right thing while helping Khai realize what love was.Cliffhanger: No3.5/5 Fangs

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