Anna Sun is burned out. A violinist, she achieves fame when a YouTube video of her playing goes viral and the instant fame has created expectations that she’s not sure she can live up to. A people pleaser, Anna puts aside her own needs making others more happy than she makes herself. When her boyfriends decides he wants an open relationship before settling down she gets mad and decides to have her own one night stand with someone totally inappropriate. The problem is that she doesn’t know how to go about having a one night stand and her nerves keep he from seeing it through. Luckily Quan Diep, the man she’s chosen, has his own insecurities, and their innocent hook-up turns into a lasting friendship and something more.
Helen Hoang’s debut novel, The Kiss Quotient, gave her instant fame in the contemporary romance genre. I had mixed feelings about that novel but liked that one of the main characters was autistic and it was her love story. The Heart Principle draws on some similarities but like it’s title, I felt that this story had more heart and it’s characters touched me emotionally.
Anna is going through a crisis and is seeing a psychologist who is trying to help her but she has subjugated her own needs to make others happy her whole life and doesn’t know how to put herself first. Quan is the first person where she can be herself and not “put on a face” to make others feel better. Quan is also going through his own crisis having just recovered from an emergency surgery. Anna is the first person he’s dated since his health has improved and he really likes her, but can also see that she’s a different person with her than she is with everyone else. They each seem to be the perfect fit for the other and it’s so easy to care and root for this couple.
I don’t want to get into too many details about the plot because most of the emotional climaxes are tied specifically to a reveal about each character and I don’t want to take that moment away from your enjoyment of this novel. I will say that these moments are intrinsically why I like this book the most out of the three that Helen Hoang has written so far. There are nuances to these characters that created a depth in their characters that cracked my emotions wide open.
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