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All booksRomanceThe Heart Principle
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

The Heart Principle

3peat author
Helen Hoang is officially a 3-time author at BOTM, which is a pretty big deal!

by Helen Hoang

Quick take

After a failed one-night stand (or two), Anna Sun realizes she might've found something rare with Quan Diep: true love.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional


  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Millenial


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Music


Why I love it

Katie Yee
Associate Editor, Literary Hub

There’s nothing more exciting than the possibility of love. You scrutinize their dating profile. You decipher their text messages. You discover a mutual passion. You meet. Maybe you kiss for the first time. You open them up like a present. If you crave the electricity of these early moments (or if you’re a hardcore rom-com fan like me), then might I recommend The Heart Principle


Helen Hoang introduces us to Anna, a violinist who accidentally goes viral but is paralyzed with anxiety over her newfound fame. She’s practicing the same piece over and over, unable to play it straight through. She’s stuck in a loop—in art and life. Then her longtime boyfriend decides to open up their relationship, which is how she meets Quan. Quan rides a motorcycle and has tattoos. He’s not who she thought she would end up with. But he gets her. Plus, they discover a shared love of ocean documentaries. Maybe there really are other fish in the sea…

This book is much more than a fun, lighthearted romance. Anna’s father falls ill, and The Heart Principle tackles hard questions about familial expectations and taking care of a sick parent. Anna sees a therapist and receives a diagnosis that helps her put her relationships into perspective. I appreciated this novel’s frankness about the characters’ struggles with mental health, the awkwardness of new sex, and the nuances of Asian American identity. The Heart Principle is a winning balancing act. It throws relatable life problems at characters you can’t help but root for.

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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.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Heart Principle.

Member thoughts

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All (5847)
Love (4107)
Like (1590)
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5878 ratings
  • 70% Love
  • 27% Like
  • 3% Dislike
  • Vestavia Hills, AL

    4.5⭐️ I love HH books! They’re light, but not too much so, romantic and salacious! I could do without an autistic main character in every book. Hope we don’t have to wait 3 years for the next book!


    Read in two sittings. Usually don’t go for romance but I’m glad I did! I loved the characters, all of their flaws, and their love. Hoang tackled some really tough topics in a fun and graceful way. ❤️

  • Plano, TX

    THP took me by surprise — the summary’s deceiving. We’ve all struggled this year & someone with anxiety I felt seen. Anna & Quans thoughts are my own & Helen spoke to me like no one else has in awhile

  • Bellingham, WA

    Another great book by Helen. I enjoy having the main character struggle with real life issues. It’s refreshing to see a story line with real challenges and depth. Could not put the book down. ♥️♥️

  • Kennewick, WA

    This book… Hoang is an absolute master at creating broken, flawed, and real characters. Despite everything that happens, you can’t help but root for them. Have tissues ready, this’ll break your heart

  • New Braunfels, TX

    HH does it again, and I love her for it! I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up and was done in less than a day. By far her most personal novel. Thank you for your wonderful work, Helen Hoang!!❤️

  • Portsmouth, NH

    I went in expecting a light hearted steamy romance like the other books in this series but this is SO. MUCH. MORE. The character development, the heavier themes…THE AUTHORS NOTE ???? Bravo, Helen Hoang!

  • tivoli, NY

    i love this author! and i love how all 3 of her books tie in together with characters and being able to “catch up” with them. this story is real, not just fluffy romance. deep, sad, fun and complex.

  • Columbus Junction , IA

    As painful as Anna’s journey was at times, I’m so happy to have been part of her evolution. The characters in this are flawed but likable. The problems are relatable. I love the honesty of this story

  • Dearborn, MI

    Loved the last book in this trilogy. This one was definitely darker but still quirky and romantic. Anna is just discovering she’s autistic and navigating a new relationship with Quan. It’s a good one.

  • Elmwood Park, NJ

    I didn’t think I’d love this one more than I did The Kiss Quotient but I was very wrong! I loved how developed both of the main characters were and that Hoang didn’t shy away from difficult topics.

  • Washington , DC

    Perfect romantic novel with meaningful tough topics throughout gave this so much substance. The characters were beautifully imperfect and impossible not to love. And the authors note, wow!❤️ AMAZING!

  • Pontotoc , MS

    Omg hooked to every page!! Go get it now!! I didn’t even realize it’s a book apart of a series but I feel like you can 100% read this book as a stand alone. But seriously I loved every second!!!!!!!!!


    Great story. I loved the themes presented. I wish it would have gone more in depth in the MC’s recovery process with her depression. Also would have loved to learn more about Quan’s family. Recommend

  • Huntsville, AL

    This book resonated so much, I couldn’t put it down; unsurprising this is the third time this has happened reading Helen Hoang’s series. This might be my new go-to for all future reading slumps. ????

  • Bellefonte, PA

    Hoang writes her characters with such authenticity, vulnerability, & compassion that I can’t help but be pulled into her stories & fall in love with them. A more serious tone, but a beautiful romance.

  • Morristown, NJ

    This book broke me out of my reading drought with its ease and beauty. I read this in one sitting and felt its words. It’s message was to prioritize yourself and everything you need. I definitely rec!

  • New Providence, NJ

    Helen Hoang’s best book yet. This was full of heart and emotion, and two characters you really felt for and could get behind. Anna’s family was infuriating. But this was a wonderful, heartfelt book.

  • Oakton, VA

    This book is beautiful. Helen Hoang shared herself with readers in an intimate and special way by writing in first person rather than third person. This is a truly incredible book that I won’t forget.

  • Austin, TX

    Yes, it’s still a steamy romance, but damn this book has so much heart. Helen Hoang talks about shifting from 3rd to 1st person & I’m so glad she did. I really connected to this story & characters.

  • The Heart Principle
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  • The Bride Test
  • People We Meet on Vacation
  • This Time Next Year
  • The Dating Plan
  • The Love Hypothesis
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  • A Rogue of One's Own
  • Red, White & Royal Blue
  • The Proposal
  • In a Holidaze
  • Beach Read
  • The Boyfriend Project
  • What You Wish For
  • The Heiress Gets a Duke
  • One Day in December
  • Well Met
  • Bringing Down the Duke
  • The Kiss Quotient
  • When Katie Met Cassidy
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  • Things You Save in a Fire