arc review — The Bride Test, by Helen Hoang

this is a book I was highly anticipated, so when I received the arc I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. and I’m so damn grateful I got the possibility to read this book early.

it’s really different from The Kiss Quotient I had expected both books to have more similarities since The Bride Test follows Khai who is the cousin of Michael, the main character of TKQ. and yet it was really different. both stories have distinct. in the end it’s something I enjoyed quite a lot, it gave me a new perspective on this family.

this book follows both Khai and Mỹ (or Esme, her Western name). Khai was born of Vietnamese immigrants and raised in the US, while Mỹ was born of a South Vietnamese mom and an American dad she never met because he went back to the US before knowing Mỹ’s mom was pregnant. Khai’s mom decides that, since her son doesn’t seem to want to date someone, then she will have to find him a future wife. and she happens to stumble upon Mỹ while she’s cleaning the bathroom of the hotel she works at. and somehow Mỹ ends up agreeing to come the US to seduce Khai and marry him. but the thing is, Mỹ has a daughter and she’s agreeing to do all these so her daughter can grow up with a dad. that’s the basic premise of the book.

so, my thoughts,,,,,,,,I liked this book. I read it during a 24h readathon so I pretty much read it in its entirety in one sitting. and I had such a good time. it’s not as good as TKC in my opinion, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. I couldn’t put it down. I loved all the Vietnamese culture, it warmed my heart and made me feel at home. it was so nice to read about a biracial Vietnamese woman who is trying her damn best to have the future she wants. but also about a woman who feels so out of place in both countries, because she doesn’t feel like she belongs in any of them and omg ain’t that relatable™ I loved Mỹ, she’s a very strong woman, not in her physical strength but in how brave she is: even though she scared to go to America, to meet Khai, to start studying accounting, she does all of these things anyway. she’s brave and strong. I admire that a lot.

I really liked Khai as well. he’s autistic and he believes that somehow he cannot feel anything: pain, love, loss, grief,,,,,anything. and here comes Mỹ who takes him a lot by surprise and doesn’t seem to understand what being autistic mean, and she doesn’t judge him for not liking being touched or for him always saying what’s on his mind. it’s really interesting to see them both interact and grow something real out of something so fake. he doesn’t fall for Mỹ because his mom told him to, but because even though he’s really annoyed at first, he takes the time to know about her.

one thing that bothered me though, is that Mỹ never told Khai that she had a 5yo daughter waiting for her in Vietnam. even when they started forming a relationship. she just didn’t. and it’s something that bothered me, this power imbalance. because Khai said more than once that he didn’t want any kid — it doesn’t matter if he said because he thought he couldn’t love, he said it, and Mỹ knew it. Khai went into something without having all the cards handed to him. that’s really the only thing that truly bothered me during my read.

it’s a book I truly recommend. I loved seeing Khai’s interactions with his family — his mom, his brother Quan and his cousin Michael — it was really cute to see him come to term with his feelings, not just for Mỹ but for his entire family. the Vietnamese culture is an important part of this book and I loved this aspect so much.

(4.25)

That’s it for today, I’ll see you soon, have a nice day guys 🌻

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