Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to participate in the blog tour for A Pho Love Story, written by Loan Le, hosted by Colored Pages Bookish Tours. A Pho Love Story releases today in the US and will be available to purchase from your local bookstores & online retailers.
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?
Representation: Ownvoices Vietnamese-American
– My Thoughts –
A Pho Love Story was a delightful and delicious debut from Loan Le.
The Mai and Nguyen family have been rivals since what it seems like, forever. Naturally, the parents forbade Bao and Linh to speak or lest even glance at each other. However, the heart doesn’t follow any rules. When Bao glimpses a distraught Linh in an alley, he can’t resist and offers to lend a helping hand. As they talk, they realize they have more in common than they think and the only reason they are ‘rivals’ are because of their parents.
A couple of Romeo & Juliet references pop up and yes, we have feuding families and the kids who are attracted but forced to see each other behind their families’ backs…But, fear not, for this is not a story of starstruck lovers.
Besides feuding family restaurants, there are some delicious mentions of food such as bánh xèo, canh chuarise, cha giò, etc. that will make you regret reading the book on an empty stomach(yes, I am talking about myself). And that’s not all this book’s about.
Both Bao and Linh are in their last year of high school and being children of Asian immigrants, they have the added pressure of measuring up to their parents’ view of what ‘successful’ looks like. As immigrants, we have all heard this mantra of having to be twice as good as everything. On top of that, our parents imagine homelessness in our future if we mention careers in the Arts. These pressures on top of working at the restaurant, keeping their friendship a secret becomes too unbearable for both Linh and Bao.
The author also allows us a glimpse at the trauma of the Vietnamese war(Fall of Saigon) refugees and on top of that how ‘welcoming’
white & land of the free America treats them. The discussions of immigration, racism, culture appropriation, residual war trauma set A Pho Love Story apart from its most of fellow YA contemporaries.
Overall, I would recommend A Pho Love Story if you love young adult contemporaries that have cute moments, mouth-watering food, and also deals with familial trauma among other heavy topics.
Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
– Giveaway –
Enter a giveaway to win One out of Three finished copies of A Pho Love Story by Loan Le. Giveaway will end on 19th February and prizes will sent by the publicist. This giveaway is for US addresses only!
– About the Author –
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.
Thank you for reading! Do you think you’ll read A Pho Love Story? Or, have you read it already? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!