Skip to main content

Smart People in Love

February 24, 2022

It’s still February, so I’m still celebrating happily ever afters. Ostensibly, everybody wants to be smart. But they don’t always realize that highly intelligent folks are often awkward with people and having trouble making friends, much less finding romantic partners. I think that’s why I love this genre so much. These characters are able to succeed against all odds. 

I loved this book. This is probably my favorite fiction book I read in 2021. Did I connect because Anna, the MC, is a musician? Yes. But there was something deeper that drew me in. Then I read the Author’s Note where Hoang says that this book was the most personal she’s ever written, and it took her three years to get what is basically her life story out. That was why it was so powerful – because it was more than just fiction. Anna, a violinist, is spinning. For some reason, she can’t play a piece of music, needing to stop and start over with each small mistake. On top of that, her family-approved boyfriend decides that they need to have an open relationship. Anna wants none of this, but she’s been conditioned to always accept what’s best for everyone else. Enter Quan, a good therapist, and some gumption. This is actually the third book in The Kiss Quotient series. While I recommend all of them, you don’t need to read the others to get this one.

I know I said I loved the last book, but then I read this one and I loved it too! (See why I’m obsessed with this topic. These are my people.) Grad student Olive suddenly kissed Dr. Carlsen, aka the campus tyrant, to make her best friend think she is seeing someone so her best friend will date her sort of ex. It's a fun, if complicated, premise, but this one pulled me in right away. I loved the awkward Olive, who struggles being with people and the highly intelligent but standoffish Dr. Adam Carlsen, who is hot but terrifying to all who know him. I wanted to savor this book, because I was enjoying it so much, but in the end I read it in less than 24 hours. Sigh. So enjoyable. Also, it looks like there will be a sequel called Love on the Brain in 2022. I can’t wait!!! 

So by now you know that I love reading about smart people in love. However, this one put a slightly different twist on it. In the other two books, the main character was the smarty pants. In this one, the main character falls in love with the smart guy. To be fair, as a statistical analyst, Jessica could hold her own on Jeopardy!, but she’s got nothing on Dr. River Pena, who started his own dating company that matches based on DNA. I enjoyed reading this one, even though I’m not a fan of sharing my DNA with any company for any reason. Once I got past that, this book captivated me, and I couldn’t put it down. Even if you don’t like math (and who does, am I right?*), this is a good read.

This is only the second book I’ve read by Jojo Moyes. (The first one was The Giver of Stars and was very different.) Here, brainiac Tanzie has a shot to win a math competition, which will pay for her to attend a super elite private school. Unfortunately, Jess, her hardworking, cleaning lady mom, can’t afford the necessary train tickets to Scotland. Through a weird series of events, one of Jess’s clients, former software wunderkind Ed, offers to drive them all – Tanzie, her brother Nicky, Jess, and their stinky dog Norman. I loved this story. The characters are great, and the story is captivating. But be warned: you might need a Kleenex or two in the middle. Moyes is two for two with me, and I might have to make an effort to read her other books too.

If you’re super smart, a little awkward with people, but looking for love (or know someone who is), these are definitely for you.

Happy braniac-ing…
:) Amanda

*It’s ok, my mom’s a math teacher. She thinks it’s funny when I say that. :)

Panda cub avatar


Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.

Genre / Topics

Age Groups