When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to be perfect in other people's eyes. If Anna ever wants to move forward, she has to learn to listen to her own heart, but that's not easy when her greatest fear has always been disappointing others.
I would've loved to see Quan and Anna step outside their bubble and interact in more social settings together, but it feels just as good to see them learn about each other without external influences (although her family certainly tries) ... It's a little on the nose to say that Hoang's new romance is sex-positive, but it's important to show how she neutralizes the social pressures around physical intimacy ... Perhaps one of the hardest parts of reading this book is the visceral reaction to seeing other people mistreat Anna and Quan because of their differences. We want to protect them while we collectively bemoan their loss of agency. So much of the story manifests the act of grieving ... It's an emotional journey, but a fulfilling one to watch Anna and Quan not only reconcile with the limits of their bodies and health but wield enough power to stand up for themselves. In fact, it's evident that while Anna's autism is a turning point for her, it's not meant to define her or the story; if anything, it's just the missing puzzle piece that lets her fully love herself without a nagging sense of uncertainty ... Having read all three of Helen Hoang's books, I can confidently say she's a consummate wordsmith of soulful romances, with soft, honest-to-goodness love stories paired with euphoric steaminess. The Heart Principle wears its heart on its sleeve. While it's thematically heavier than her previous books, Hoang's writing breathes with the kind of kinetic power and acceptance that feel freeing because she lets her characters fully realize themselves — even when those around them can't.
... a gripping love story ... riveting the whole way through, exploring a complex range of subjects in unique and interesting ways. Anna and Quan are an exciting, dynamic pair, their chemistry palpable as they fall deeper and deeper in love.
Quan will instantly win over readers with his wonderful combination of bad boy vibes on the outside and an adorably gooey center on the inside ... Reading a Hoang romance often involves tears, given her knack for homing in on uncomfortable emotions and human vulnerability. The Heart Principle is no different, and it will offer much-needed catharsis to readers who can identify with Anna’s burnout and restlessness ... Those who have been fans of Hoang’s contemporary romances since the beginning will be overjoyed to finally get Quan’s story. It does not disappoint. And new readers will most likely sprint to the nearest library or bookstore to get their hands on Hoang’s other two books. That’s how much The Heart Principle lives up to the hype: Hoang has once again displayed her mastery of both complicated emotions and naturalistic, earthy eroticism.