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Saturday, May 29, 2021

Review: A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

A Pho Love Story
by Loan Le
Narrated by: Ryan Do & VyVy Nguyen

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publish Date: February 9, 2021
9 hrs 53 mins
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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, neighboring restaurants.

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? 

My Review:

If you're having trouble finding your appetite, then pick this book up because it will have you craving all the PHO-nomenal foods.  Goodness.  Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my face.  Y'all this was a super cute read.  Two families who are in competition with each other and don't like each other and guess what?  Their kids kinda like each other so now what are they going to do?  Yes, yes, readers - we've seen this trope a zillion times in YA romance but now we get to see it with Vietnamese representation and I AM HERE FOR IT.

I love seeing *foreign* language represented in a book - even if I can't read it or understand it.  And quite frankly, I put ** because it's only foreign to those who don't know it and I'm sure that my Vietnamese friends and readers love seeing it.  Plus, you can get the gist of what they're saying by paying attention to the rest of the book.  I also listened to this on audio and loved hearing it bounce back and forth - it's like listening to my own Korean side of the family that intersperse Korean with English as they speak.  #IYKYK  There's a scene where a parent gets nervous ordering due to his accent... and I felt that.  My mom has been in the U.S. for over 40 years and still has a thick accent and most of the time when we're out at a restaurant, my father or I will order for her.  So yes, there's a multitude of things that I completely related with during this read.

Linh and Bo are such cute characters and I like that there's no instalove but a solid build up into their relationship - even if it was almost a little *too* slow at times... (I just can't be pleased, can I? 🤣)  While their parents are fighting, they seem to find common ground almost immediately so we lose the tension of them bumping heads at first.  But I digress - at the end of the day we all know where this story is going.  I did find it start strong and then kind of fizzle towards the end and all I can do now is go satiate my Pho craving. #brb


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