My Boyfriend Read THE KISS QUOTIENT And He Loved It

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[Note from Frolic: Our very own Jillian had her boyfriend read Helen Hoang’s THE KISS QUOTIENT. Spoiler alert: he loved it! Check out their chat about the book, romance novels in general and more below!]

You are answering these questions because you are not a romance reader, and I’ve made you read a romance novel. Could you start by telling the class the genres of books you usually read?

Hi Jillian!  Thanks for inviting me to do this. I normally read contemporary fiction – you know, the kind of stuff that’s up for the National Book Award and so on – and have historically been very into science fiction.  I grew up reading the Dune series by Frank Herbert and 2001 by Arthur C. Clarke and have most recently enjoyed Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu.  I also have a soft spot for overly long books, and am most proud of actually reading Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost TIme from cover to cover (I’m pretty sure most people who say they’ve read this have read about one chapter).

Now, before reading The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, what did you think of romance novels?

I guess I didn’t think of them much at all.  I always saw them as those books with shiny-chested blonde guys on the cover that would be donated to the White Elephant booth at my elementary school’s annual carnival.  I never thought I’d seriously read one for pleasure.

Would you consider yourself a romance fan?

I suppose the fair answer is before reading The Kiss Quotient: no; after: yes.  My initial answer can be traced to the previous question; I really only knew of romance novels in their most stereotypical form.  And now that I’ve read one that I truly enjoyed in a sincere way (I was hooked and invested in the story) I can say, yes, I enjoy it — and besides that, every good story has a romance in it.

What did you like/dislike about Stella and Michael’s relationship?

I quite liked that they were both sincere and caring.  Both were conscientious and kind to each other throughout — despite the beginning of their romance, which was meant to be purely transactional and not romantic at all.  I think the secret to making Michael so likeable as a character is that you’re introduced to him as a sex worker and yet he’s a guy that’s not into Stella just for sex.  He finds himself emotionally invested despite himself; and she experiences the same dynamic on her end.  Stella is likeable for her sincerity and vulnerability as well; as she finds herself and finds her place in her relationship with Michael, you can’t help but root for her.  Helen Hoang creates truly believable, natural relationships in her writing effortlessly, and both characters are heroes in this book which makes for a very fun read.  To answer the second half of the question — what did I dislike? — I disliked the little conflicts and misunderstandings that threaten to derail Michael and Stella’s relationship.  Spoiler alert: It works out. 

Did The Kiss Quotient make you want to read more romance?

Yes – I’m already looking forward to the next one.  I’m a bookworm so I don’t see myself ever being exclusively into one type of novel, but I’ll throw romance into the mix as well from here on out.

Would you recommend more men read romance novels? Why?

Yes – I would say if you go in with an open mind and find a book that is well written you’ll enjoy it.  Don’t turn it down just because it’s a romance novel.  A good story is a good story.  One of the great joys of reading something new is not knowing what to expect or what you’ll find in it.  I found a lot to love in the Kiss Quotient (some of which I’ll be close-lipped about — but yes I liked those scenes too), and I’ll find myself engrossed in the genre again.

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