Women on the Intersection of Two Spectrums : Autism and Asexuality in Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient and The Heart Principle


VARGOVÁ Veronika

Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description While several novels with autism and asexuality representation were published over the past decade, they mostly belong to the middle-grade and young adult genres. In 2018, The Kiss Quotient written by Helen Hoang was published. It is one of the first - if not the first - contemporary romance novel with an on-page adult character on the autism spectrum. This paper focuses on Stella and Anna, Hoang’s two female protagonists from her first and third novels, The Kiss Quotient and The Heart Principle. As these are romance novels published by Berkley, a major contemporary romance publishing house, romantic relationship is at the forefront of the story. And while the main relationship is a standard Berkley romance, Stella and Anna repeatedly express their dislike of intimacy and the sexual aspect of their relationship with their previous partners, with whom they lacked strong emotional connection. However, a major change in their attitude takes place once they meet their respective male protagonists and enter relationships in which they feel safe and understood, instead of pressured and coerced to change. Therefore, Stella and Anna’s characters can be read as being also on the asexual spectrum, in addition to being autistic. This paper will discuss how the protagonist’s intersecting autistic and demisexual identities impact their daily lives, romantic relationships, and relationships with family and friends.
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