Diverse Contemporary Romance
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…
I first received this book via Netgalley as an ARC, then I bought a signed copy because I *had* to have it. I’ve read it twice in about a month.
What can I say about this book? I want to climb the highest building and shout from the top of it that everyone needs to read it. I want to buy a million copies and shove it into readers hands. It’s so good and real.
It’s so important to me. Why? Because I *finally* got to see the part of myself I’ve spent 41 years learning to hide on the pages of a mainstream novel. In one of my two favorite genres (romance, in this case).
This story is own voices for autism and oh, my, gods… seeing that on the page made me laugh. It made me tear up, it made me gasp and then shout with glee when I recognized portions of myself on the page. It healed me in ways I can’t even come close to expressing.
THIS is why own voices (a book written by someone who shares the marginalization) is SO very important. It lets some of us see ourselves on the page with all the glorious nuances that are our beautiful experiences of life.
It helps that this is a rollicking good read, that the author grabbed me by the throat, shook me up and dragged me (willingly!) into her world and into her characters’ experiences.
The book is exceedingly well written, it’s funny, it’s sexy as smoking hot hell, it made my heart hurt for Michael, the guy main character because he was so convinced he was broken… and for Stella, who, like many autistics, likes her brain and doesn’t feel it’s disordered, just different.
It had a mixed-race main character too, so I got to see that part of myself too. I honestly hugged this book after finishing it. It’s as good, if not better than the buzz says about it, and I have become the pickiest reader on the planet since becoming a halfway decent writer. So if I say something is good, it’s in all fairness absolutely phenomenal.
Everything in this book is so well crafted and thought out. From the Vietnamese family, to the sewing, to the fabrics and especially the autistic main character, it’s all so perfect. I want to read it again already!
I desperately hope we start seeing more and more of these types of books hit shelves. I need to see more own voices work, and I need to read them. So, so, so much.
READABILITY: 5/5 Kept me up way past my bedtime and I couldn’t get the characters out of my head after reading. The first time I read it, I read it in one sitting absolutely forgetting to tweet about it or get up for a drink or anything. I have ADHD, so for something to so deeply enthrall me is so very rare. Second time I read it, I managed to tweet a couple of times before getting sucked back into the world so deeply that I forgot to tweet. It’s really such a good book.
ARCS: 5/5 Everything is exactly where it should be as far as romantic/relationship arc should be. Character arcs are perfection and the plot arc was well formulated and realized.
CRAFT: 5/5 Outstanding level of craft. I’m a freelance editor with an eye for the job, and I caught one error, that’s it. (A misplaced doubled word.) In a book that’s 314 pages long, that’s also incredibly rare. As far as the rest of the craft? Lolz, lets just say my partner is quite happy I read it and leave it at that. Go read this one, especially if you’re autistic and love romance. You won’t be sorry.