The Bride Test was one of those books that fell into my lap (aka reading mood) at the right time. This is one of those books that would not have worked as well if Helen Hoang (the author) didn’t have Asperger’s Syndrome herself; her characters would have lacked the authenticity that goes hand in hand with fundamentally understanding a different way of experiencing the world.
And we are talking a different way of experiencing the world. Khai’s feelings toward getting a haircut and being touched correctly were a friendly reminder of some of the little things that I take for granted. Without this insight into Khai’s world, it would have been hard to truly understand his hesitancy around intimacy and how one wrong touch could ruin everything.
Speaking of intimacy, it was a little comical to be inside Khai’s mind when he thought he was doing a great job and then to witness the discussion between himself, his brother and cousin. When Khai’s family said that they should have prepared them better, I couldn’t help but think about my own first time and how unprepared I was for it.
I loved that this conversation (and the books that Khai were given) translated into better communication between Khai and Esme. It was a moment that made both parties realize that without telling the other what feels good, they had no way of knowing. No one is a mind reader and, no matter what your views are, intimacy should be an act between two people where they both participate. It should never be something that is just done to you (which should really be a part of the conversation when everyone gets the “birds and the bees” chat).
Was anyone else surprised when no one batted an eye about her existing? After all, Esme spent the summer living with Khai and working with his family. It’s hard to believe that everyone was that accepting, though it was nice to see.
I also have mixed feelings about Khai’s brother constantly saying that he was interested in Esme as a way to trick Khai into evaluating his feelings. On the one hand, he obviously knows Khai very well and was confident that the correct “result” would be recognized. On the other hand, I think he would have gone through with everything if Khai didn’t act…
Our next book for book club will be Reverie, by Ryan La Sala. Reverie came onto my radar back in November because it was my library’s “Next big read” or the ebook that you could borrow without putting a hold on it no matter how many people had it checked out. I have a habit of having three or four books checked out at a time, so I added it to my to read list. Where it has patiently waited for less books to be on my plate.
All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.
As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.
This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.