Review: The Heart Principle (Helen Hoang)

The Heart Principle
Series: The Kiss Quotient, #3
Author: Helen Hoang
Publication Date: August 31, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★


A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this heartfelt new romance by USA Today bestselling author Helen Hoang.

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 has just started to understand herself. 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. 

I, along with all other Helen Hoang fans, have been not so patiently waiting for The Heart Principle. After getting to know Quan over the past two books, I couldn’t wait for him to find love. The Heart Principle wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I loved it none the less.

The Heart Principle was the first book Hoang has written in first person. I loved the “I” instead of “she”. I felt it brought me closer to both Quan and especially to his new lady love, Anna. Their relationship started out as a casual thing, but I could feel their budding emotional connection from the minute they met. I loved them together and how their relationship built. This book wasn’t quite as romantic or sexy as the past books, but it worked for the characters.

Anna was a complex character going through A. LOT. A lot. Seriously. So much. Anna was overwhelmed and I was overwhelmed for her. Her family stuff was suffocating. Her mental health suffered due to all the pressure and I felt for her. I really did. I loved how Quan was able to be a support and comfort to her in that time. I loved the growth of Anna’s character throughout their relationship and this book.

There was only one way I felt let down by The Heart Principle. I was expecting Quan and Anna’s story and I got mostly Anna’s. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Anna’s story. I did. It just made this book feel more women’s fiction than romance. I just wanted more Quan. His chapters were special and included a lot of Michael (The Kiss Quotient), but it felt like the most important chapters were from Anna’s POV. I get that, especially after reading the author’s note, but I wanted more Quan.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading The Heart Principle. I loved how new and fresh it felt, while also maintaining the brand Helen Hoang has created. The move from from third to first person made me happy. Her writing is a addictive and a joy to read. I can’t wait to read what’s next from this talented author.

30 thoughts on “Review: The Heart Principle (Helen Hoang)”

  1. I feel bad for this book. I think it’s a victim of mis-marketing. I like a good women’s fiction, but I like to know that’s what I am getting before I read the book. That said, I am a bit sad to hear that Quan didn’t get a full-on romance book, but I am still curious about this story.

    1. I feel bad for this book and for Hoang, too. I think it’s a victim of many things and marketing is just one of them. An editor or someone really should have directed this book to either be separate from this series and not Quan’s book or have had the author ramp of the Quan aspect. That being said, I think if you go in knowing that this is going to be more women’s fiction than romance, you’re probably going to have a better relationship with the book. I liked it a lot.

  2. I still have to read the second book, if you can believe it! I am glad to hear that you mostly enjoyed this one. I can totally understand wanting more of Quan’s point of view. His character is so interesting. I am looking forward to giving this a try some day soon! 🙂

  3. Your review, along with others I’ve seen, have me feeling a bit nervous about this one. What I have been waiting for for So Long is Quan’s story. And it seems like this is very much Anna’s story. And I’m sure Anna’s story is good… it’s just not what I’ve been wanting. I know I’ll read this one, but it’s not one I’m rushing out to grab.

    1. I would still recommend reading it because you will still love Quan. Just go in with low expectations and don’t expect a big love story.

  4. Oh no! I’m so sad to hear that Quan doesn’t get the star seat in this book? Like, surprisingly really sad cos just like you said, we’ve all been so impatiently waiting for his story and he really deserves a great one! 🥺 It doesn’t sound like a bad book but perhaps now I’ll go into this with limited expectations—I’m glad I know to expect something different. I’m actually kinda surprised I haven’t seen a ton of reviews for this yet (maybe I’m just good at avoiding them lol). Great review though!

  5. I’m happy that when I finally pick this one up, I’ll be prepared thanks to your review (and a few others). It’s no fun to pick up a book expecting one thing and get another. But I’m glad you mostly enjoyed it!

  6. Thanks for the review! I’ve been really looking forward to this story, and I’m sorry it didn’t have as much Quan as you (and me probably) wanted and was more women’s fiction than romance, but hopefully going in with the right expectations I’ll still love it. Glad you mostly enjoyed it overall!

  7. Sad this book wasn’t marketed correctly, it can really mess up reviews and ratings because people expect it to be a romance. I was interested in this one but I think it’s probably better if I skip it. Great review, Deanna! I’m glad you still enjoyed it. 🙂

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