I love Helen Hoang’s books. Not only are they quirky and clever, but they also have incredibly well-rounded autistic characters.
As a woman with autism spectrum disorder, I didn’t know this was something I needed to read. But it turns out I absolutely do.
When she was writing her first book, The Kiss Quotient, Helen Hoang had recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
As she tried to make sure of her own diagnosis, she folded her experiences into the story of Stella, a young and ambitious woman on the autism spectrum grappling not just with her love life, but who she really is.
Hoang’s second and third books in the series, The Bride Test and The Heart Principle, continue with more fascinating autistic characters – and a whole lot of steaminess.
If you’ve read Hoang’s three books and want to read something similar, what book should you read next?
In this list, I’ve compiled my best book recommendations if you’re looking for authors like Helen Hoang and books like The Kiss Quotient.
These books are mostly romances. Some of them are steamy. And they’re also pretty clever.
8 of the best books by authors like Helen Hoang
1. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
If you’re looking for another STEMinist romance like The Kiss Quotient, read The Love Hypothesis. Christina Lauren (featured #4 on this list) describes this novel as “contemporary romance’s unicorn: the elusive marriage of deeply brainy and delightfully escapist.”
As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships. But her best friend does, and that’s got her into a tricky situation. Now she has a fake boyfriend and an experiment that feels dangerously close to combustion.
The author, Ali Hazelwood, has a fascinating bio: she lived in Germany and Japan before moving to the US to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience (and is now a professor). Alongside her novels, she’s also the author of peer-reviewed articles about brain science, in which no one makes out and the ever after is not always happy.
Read more: 10 more romance books like The Love Hypothesis.
2. The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
The Soulmate Equation is the newest bestseller from author duo Christina Lauren, the combined pen name of longtime writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings.
Single mum Jess Davis is a numbers genius, but she’s yet to find a formula for love, especially while juggling a career with raising her daughter.
After another terrible date she’s prepared to give up on love for good, but then she hears about a new matchmaking service that claims to find you the One based on a DNA equation.
This seems like an answer to her prayers, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with the company’s founder, Dr River Pena.
Jess already knows Dr Pena, and he is absolutely not her soulmate. But as the pair are dragged from one event to the next, Jess begins to realise there might be more to the scientist than she perhaps thought.
3. Book Lovers by Emily Henry
As one of the most anticipated reads of 2022 – described as “a rom-com lover’s dream of a book” by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Book Lovers is the delightful new bestseller from the author of People We Meet on Vacation.
Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all, and she lands huge deals as a cutthroat literary agent for work. But Nora has long given up on the idea of being one of the heroines she reads about, other than for her clients and her little sister Libby.
When Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, Nora expects a laid-back trip and small-town pleasures – not constant run-ins with Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city, who is absolutely not Nora’s hero… at least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.
4. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
In Love and Other Words, Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious yet predictable routine as a new pediatrics resident: work hard, marry a successful and financially secure man, keep her head down, and not think too much about what her heart really wants.
But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos, the first and only love of her life, the bubble she’s carefully constructed is popped.
Ever since he first became her gangly and bookish friend – and up until he coaxed her heart open after the loss of her mother, before breaking it again – Elliot was once Macy’s entire world.
In this bestselling book, love, loss, and the betrayals of the past collide.
5. Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Jacob is always in control and expects nothing less than perfection from his staff… which now, unfortunately for him, includes the purple-haired tornado of Eve Brown who’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen, and his spare bedroom.
One of my favourite things about Act Your Age, Eve Brown is how both Eve and Jacob have autism, presented in two very different ways. Autism is so often presented as one-dimensional, so I love that Talia Hibbert has done this.
6. Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese
Only When It’s Us is a frenemies-to-lovers romance about a women’s soccer star and her lumberjack-lookalike classmate.
This standalone is the first in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.
7. Marlowe Banks, Redesigned by Jacqueline Firkin
Marlowe Banks, Redesigned by Jacqueline Firkin is a fantastic new book for 2022. Costume designer Marlowe’s life has come apart at the seams.
Desperate to hide from her failures, she flees New York City to embrace invisibility in Los Angeles as a Production Assistant on a popular TV show.
But when a costume mix-up requires Marlowe to step into a scene, Marlowe is thrust into the spotlight.
Author Ali Hazelwood writes in her 5* Goodreads review: “You know when you read something in a specific setting, and it just jumps out from every page how much the author knows about that setting/topic? It’s obvious that this author knows clothes, and costumes, and trends, and I just loooooove how that translated to Marlowe being incredibly competent and knowledgeable when it comes to her job.”
8. Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
Okay, just one more book by Ali Hazelwood. In her 2022 novel Love on the Brain, scientist Bee Königswasser is forced to work on a project with her nemesis—with explosive results.
Bee lives by a simple code: what would Marie Curie do? But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: what will Bee Königswasser do?
For more books to read after Helen Hoang’s, head over to my collection of the best beach reads for 2023 for some of the most easy-going, laid-back book recommendations for this year. You can also browse my selection of the best new romance books for 2023.
If you adore books, need a bit of a boost, and would love some gentle comfort and guidance, check out The Sanctuary, a seven-day course from Tolstoy Therapy.