The Heart Principle

Berkley. (The Kiss Quotient, Bk. 3). Sept. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780593197837. $26. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Ever since concert violinist Anna Sun went viral on social media and became an overnight star, she’s been musically stuck and is unable to play past a particularly difficult section in a piece of music written specially for her. Anna’s relationship is also stuck, until her boyfriend tells her he wants an open relationship. Anna is shocked but decides to try out a hookup app, looking for one-night stands only, no feelings. When Quan Diep, the recently cancer-free and newly minted CEO of an up-and-coming fashion company, responds to Anna’s profile, they fail to keep to their agreed-upon one night. Instead, their steady stream of text messages, late-night documentary screenings, and motorcycle rides slowly build a real partnership. When Anna’s father suffers a sudden, devastating stroke, she’s compelled to take on his care; this, combined with her professional stasis and recent autism diagnosis, makes Anna unsure whether she has the bandwidth to find happiness in a monogamous relationship with Quan.
VERDICT Readers of Hoang’s other “Kiss Quotient” books may be surprised by this third installment’s heavy plot points, which weigh down the narrative. Hoang writes a sparkling romance between Quan and Anna, but this novel is very much about Anna’s finding her voice and setting boundaries.
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