Review: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

The Heart Principle
(The Kiss Quotient #3)
by Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: Aug. 31, 2021
Genre: Women’s Fiction

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.



So, let me start out by saying that I have mixed feelings about this story. I really enjoyed the previous two books in the series. I loved that the characters had depth and were not cookie-cutter perfect. While this story follows that same construct, I had a hard time with it. You see, Anna is autistic. However, when she tries to tell her family about her diagnosis, they brush her off and tell her that she’s just trying to seek attention. Her family knows best, and while that might be all fine and dandy if that’s their take on things, it’s not okay when the main character believes it too. Inside she’s screaming that she’s not okay with being touched or being talked to a certain way. Instead of saying anything, she smiles and goes along with it. I thought maybe as she opened up to Quan and realized that she’s perfect the way she is, but sadly that was not the case. She continuously fell back to being the spineless woman that lets others dictate her life, even if that’s a marriage to someone she doesn’t love and can’t stand.

I think it’s safe to say that I had quite the issue with Anna’s character. It’s one thing to be shy or not want to speak up for yourself and it’s a complete other thing to be emotionally and mentally beaten down to until you conform to something/someone else. And the sad part was, that she knew she wasn’t okay with it, it’s not like she was brainwashed. UGH! But I digress. What I DID like about this story was Quan. The guy battled testicular cancer and has some insecurities because of the surgeries he had to overcome. However, when he meet Anna, he starts to find confidence in himself. He’s not only extremely supportive towards Anna, but he is willing to step aside on his career if that means letting his cousin and best friend make it big in the fashion industry. The guy was just top notch and was really why the story was bearable.

If it wasn’t for the way that Anna was treated and how she allowed herself to be treated, I probably would have enjoyed this story much more. However, I just felt sad and depleted by the time I finished it. So much so that I cried over a message I received that wasn’t even supposed to be sad. It’s one thing when a book makes you feel emotion because that’s what the character is feeling, but it’s a whole other thing when the book makes you feel defeated and sad. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad book. It’s well written, however, I would never call it a romance. While there is a romantic interest, the book is so heavy with the mental distress that Anna is constantly battling as well as family tragedy that I would not put it anywhere near the romance category. If I had known what this book truly held inside, I would have passed because it just isn’t my cup of tea. So, I suppose, take this review with a grain of salt because I was expecting a romance and instead got a deeply emotional read about a woman struggling with a toxic family, autism, death, suicidal thoughts, and severe depression. It’s just now what I signed up for.

2 Thoughts on “Review: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

  1. That’s sad the way her family treats her. Sounds like a good story premise though.

  2. I also had many mixed feelings about this one as well. To be honest I felt like Quan got cheated. I understand why the author wrote it this way but I felt like he deserved more because I was looking forward to his story so much.

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