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The Bride Test Summary & Study Guide

Helen Hoang
This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Bride Test.
This section contains 1,276 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Bride Test Summary & Study Guide Description

The Bride Test Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on The Bride Test by Helen Hoang.

The following version of the novel was used to create this study guide: Hoang, Helen. The Bride Test. Berkley, May 7, 2019. Kindle.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang is a comedy of errors when self-conscious Trần Ngọc Mỹ is chosen by Cô Nga to seduce her autistic son, Khai Diep. The proposition carried with it an invitation for Mỹ, who lived in a poor village in Vietnam, to spend the summer in California working in Cô Nga’s restaurant and going to weddings with the family. Mỹ’s mother told her that it was an opportunity that she could not allow to her pass her by, a chance for a better life for Mỹ and her daughter. Even though Mỹ and Khai fell madly in love with one another, their perceived faults kept getting in the way of their relationship. It was only when Khai was able to work through his emotions and understand he pushed people away emotionally not just because of his autism, but also because of guilt over his best friend’s death, that he was able to fully love Mỹ.

The novel opens ten years in the past as Khai was attending the funeral of Andy, his best friend. Even though people around him were openly crying, Khai could not cry. He believed as a result of this experience that he could neither grieve nor love. For that reason, he felt it was best for him to avoid relationships, especially relationships with women.

Four months before the present day of the novel, Mỹ was cleaning toilets in a hotel in Vietnam when an obviously wealthy woman entered the restroom. Mỹ was surprised when the woman showed an interest in her and asked her if she would be interested in her son, Khai. She proposed to Mỹ that she could come to America and try to seduce Khai. If she were to get pregnant, Khai would think he had to marry her. Mỹ refused because she did not want to be part of tricking someone into getting married. Cô Nga called Mỹ later that day and told her that question had been a test. Mỹ had passed her test and Cô Nga wanted her to come to America to meet Khai. Even though Mỹ was not sure about the proposition, her mother told her it was too good of an offer to pass up. She told Mỹ that Mỹ and her daughter could have a better life with more opportunity in America.

In the present, Khai agreed to give Mỹ a chance even though he was not happy with his mother for trying to be a matchmaker. When Khai picked Mỹ up at the airport, he had to admit that he was sexually attracted to her. Mỹ, who had changed her name to Esmeralda “Esme” Tran, was also attracted to Khai. She got the impression right away that he was kind even though he was the strangest person she had ever met.

Esme began frustrating Khai right away by cleaning the yard, rearranging things in the house, and interfering with his routines. One night, Esme had a nightmare and came crying into Khai’s bedroom. She climbed into his lap and clung to him. Khai surprised himself by being able to make her feel better by returning her hug. He agreed to let her sleep in his bed from that point forward. She explained she was used to sleeping with her mother and grandmother because their house had only one bedroom. She had nightmares when she slept alone.

The relationship hit a low point when Esme discovered that Khai had a motorcycle in the garage. She rode it one day to the Asian grocery store to buy groceries but Khai tracked her down, clearly angry. He believed that she would die on the bike. Back at the house, Khai did not tell Esme why he was angry, he only told her that she had to stop rearranging his house and touching him. The following day, Esme offered to cut Khai’s hair in an attempt to make up to him for upsetting him so badly. He accepted the offer and finally told Esme that because he was autistic, light touches, especially those he did not expect, bothered him. He showed her how to touch him so that he would not jerk away and told her to give him a warning before she touched him.

The relationship seemed to be progressing after Esme hurt her ankle and Khai came to the doctor’s office to take care of her. He even carried her so that she would not risk hurting her ankle. The next day while Esme and Khai were at the Berkley campus trying to get information about Esme’s father, they happened to meet Angelika, a girl who was taking night classes with Esme. Angelika mentioned that she and Esme were taking the GED. Esme was embarrassed because she had led Khai to believe she was an accountant in Vietnam. When Khai went to the office instead of spending the rest of the day with her, Esme believed it was because he no longer liked her because she was not the accomplished person she had portrayed herself to be.

Esme continued to believe that Khai was no longer interested in her until they attended a wedding at which Khai seemed to be pushing Esme at his brother Quan. Khai believed that Quan would be better for Esme that he was and was about to leave the wedding when Esme came looking for him. When he told her that she could stay with Quan if she wanted, she cried. His hug of comfort turned into a passionate kiss. The two made love for the first time that night. Esme did not know that Khai was a virgin and was upset when he left her unsatisfied. She believed he was only interested in his own pleasure and decided that she was worth more than that. It took Quan to help the two realize the cause of this misunderstanding.

At this point, the relationship seemed to be solid. Khai decided to ask Esme to marry him following his cousin’s beach wedding. Instead of accepting his proposal, Esme left, determined never to return to Khai when he told her that he did not love her. Quan again came to the rescue by telling Khai that he did love Esme, but was so tied up in his guilt about Andy’s death that he was afraid to love. With a new perspective as a result of the time that had passed, Khai visited the place where Andy had been killed. Khai was finally able to cry for the loss of his friend.

After the revelation that because he could grieve, he could love as well, Khai hurried to stop the wedding of Esme and Quan. Quan had decided to offer to marry Esme so she could stay in the country. He believed that the offer would make Khai jealous enough that he would declare his love for Esme to keep his brother from marrying her.

At the moment that Esme is about to walk down the aisle, not only does Khai show up to tell Esme that he loves her and wants her to marry him, Esme’s father arrives as well. Believing that Esme was marrying Quan only for a green card, Khai had tracked down her father so she would have another option for citizenship. Khai is shocked when he meets Esme’s daughter, Esme had not told him about the child, but still asks Esme to marry him.

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