A Pho Love Story – Book Review

Title:- A Pho Love Story

Author:- Loan Le

Date published:- June 24th 2021

No. of pages:- 415 pages

Genre:- YA/Romance


Plot:- 4/5

Writing:- 4/5

Overall:- 4/5

All’s fair in love, war and noodles . . .

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.
If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and spark and fire. She loves art, and she dreams of making a career of it one day. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including expecting her to work practically full-time at their family’s pho restaurant.
For decades, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh have resolved never to befriend each other, for fear of pushing too far and bringing on undue heartbreak. But when a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao closer, sparks fly . . .

Can Linh and Bao’s love survive in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?

This is the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet…in the Vietnamese version. Except (SPOILER ALERT) there’s a happy ending.

Bao Ngyuen is an average student while Linh Mai is a talented artist. Both their families own the Vietnamese restaurant. But there’s a problem–Ngyuen and Mai families had been hating each other over a family issue. So when Bao and Linh get together at school on a project, the two, despite coming from enemy families soon become friends and eventually, a romantic relationship develops between the two.

I actually enjoyed reading this book. The story is told mainly from Bao and Linh’s perspectives so you will get to know each of these characters as well as their family members. It’s also interesting to learn more about the Vietnamese culture, particularly the cuisine. I do like how Bao and Linh they both have friends who actually support their relationship. I also like how the author manage to mix both the American culture as well as the Vietnamese culture together. There are some realistic elements in the story, such as how the family (both the families) often become targets of racism, how the restaurants seem to be competing with each other. Reading about Vietnamese cuisine actually made me hungry. I actually liked the ending and I actually enjoyed reading this book. Worth four stars!

Loan Le is the youngest child of two Vietnamese immigrants hailing from Nha Trang. She holds an MFA degree in fiction from Fairfield University, also her undergraduate alma mater. A Pushcart Prize–nominated writer, her short stories have appeared in CRAFT Literary, Mud Season Review, and Angel City Review. Loan is an editor at Simon and Schuster’s Atria Books imprint and lives in Manhattan. A Pho Love Story is her first novel. Visit her website at writerloanle.com and find her on Twitter @loanloan.

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