A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance
Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Forbidden Love
[TW: Cultural appropriation, death, drowning, grief, racism, Vietnam war (referenced), xenophobia]
Synopsis (from publisher):
If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal.
If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant.
For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.
But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember.
Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?
When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious in this funny, smart romantic comedy, in which two Vietnamese-American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighbouring restaurants.
I absolutely loved this book. Linh and Bao were amazing and THE PLOT WAS *chefs kiss*. This book also made me very hungry because come on PHO. EGG ROLLS. VIETNAMESE CUISINE. 😭✋
The reason I loved this book a lot was probably the fact that I’m very similar to Linh. Her character was comforting to read about. Bao was just so awesome, charming, and caring HONESTLY 10/10. The romance between the two was quite fast but it wasn’t instant love per say and we love that 😌✋
I loved how this book talked about the expectations immigrant parents have and how stressful it becomes at times. This was a Romeo and Juliet retelling and I guess I’m a sucker for those because of These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends
In conclusion I’m giving this book 4 out of 5 stars because the plot got a bit boring at times BUT THATS OK. I would have also loved if the parents’ behaviour in the first 70-80% of the book would have been talked about instead of just forgetting about it maybe?
Thank you for reading this review and I hoped you liked it!!
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Sending incoherent screams about how Linh is basically me and now I want to go eat Pho,