After a failed one-night stand (or two), Anna Sun realizes she might've found something rare with Quan Diep: true love.
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Why I love it
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.
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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The title/cover aren’t right for the book. Like ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’—if you know that going in to it, you’re more likely to enjoy. Truest thing Helen Hoang has ever written.❤️????
I typically read rom-coms as “palate cleansers” in between my darker reads. I was expecting a typical romance with THP & was surprised at the depth of the storyline. Loved seeing A & Q’s growth. 4⭐️s
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. ❤️
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
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. ♥️♥️
Salt Lake City , UT
Couldn’t put this one down. Anna & Quan’s journey throughout the book is beautifully written. Hated to see this story end when I finished. Powerful book about love, being human and journey’s we take.
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!!❤️
Helen Hoang is perfection! Fell for Anna and her “quirks” and sweet but tough Quan was the perfect complement. Wish Hoang would’ve lightened up on the family detail but loved this story regardless!
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!
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
I’ve read other Helen Hoang books before but this one hit me in the feels. I loved reading from both Anna’s and Quan’s perspectives, and how this book is about being true to yourself with no shame.
Helen Hoang just keeps getting better, and this is her best yet. Her understanding of human behavior and those who are considered “different” is profound and beautifully written. Incredibly refreshing
Loved how Anna + Quan learned to love themselves through loving each other. As a classical musician who also struggled with “practicing in circles” I related to Anna + rejoiced in her eventual success
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.
New Orleans, LA
Loved the main characters journey of self-discovery! For content-conscious readers, many scenes and incredibly detailed. I love personal touch and autistic representation in each of HH’s books ????????
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!
Mount joy, PA
I truly loved both previous books from Helen Hoang so when I saw this coming out, I counted the days until it was released. I read it in one sitting and was NOT disappointed!! Go and grab this book ❤️