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The bride test
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Library Journal Review
A genius with numbers, relationship--challenged, and diagnosed with autism, Khai Diep is horrified when his mother decides he's been single long enough and brings him a potential bride from Vietnam to consider over the summer. For Khai, it's just wasted effort because he knows he doesn't feel deep emotions such as grief and love and, therefore, would never be so unfair as to get married. But for Tran Ngoc My (Esmeralda)-biracial, beautiful, intuitive, and nothing like Khai imagines-it is a chance to make a better life for her family (including her young daughter) and possibly locate her birth father. As the summer progresses, this tender, laughter-laced pairing blooms, but is the August wedding that Khai's mother has planned really in the cards? A lively supporting cast, excellent detail, and exceptionally well-developed protagonists keep the pages turning. While a few plot points are tied up a bit too neatly, the conclusion is truly satisfying. VERDICT With care, humor, and sensitivity, Hoang dives into the very core of her characters, bringing them to life in a romance that is original, engaging, and emotionally hard-hitting. Gorgeously done. Hoang (The Kiss Quotient) lives in San Diego. [See "Spring Awakenings: Editors' Picks," LJ 2/19, p. 20; Prepub Alert, 11/26/18.] © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Hoang's touching second contemporary romance (after The Kiss Quotient) explores what the American dream might mean to a young, mixed-race Vietnamese woman and the autistic Vietnamese-American man she's matched up with. California-born Khai processes emotions differently than most people do; at age 16, when he doesn't grieve in a conventional way over the death of a cousin, he thinks he's incapable of feeling love. Ten years later, he's a wealthy accountant, and his matchmaking mother informs him that Esme, an uneducated janitor she met in Vietnam, will be staying with him for the summer and is meant to be his eventual wife. Khai resolves to make the best of things until he can send Esme home, but their instant mutual attraction complicates matters. As they fumble toward understanding each other, Esme searches for her American father and pursues higher education. Class and cultural differences and mistaken beliefs prove to be greater barriers to their romance than differences of mental wiring. The evolution of Khai's feelings toward Esme, and the way she comes to understand and care for him, are beautifully developed, and the relationship they form feels delicate yet bursting with hope. 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. Agent: Kim Lionetti, Bookends. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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