A Pho Love Story | Arc Review

I’m a day late with my blog review (WHOOPS), but YOU GUYS! I jumped on this book as soon as I saw the author’s name. I love a good #ownvoice book, but there’s something about actually being able to relate to a book that I haven’t figured out how to describe it yet. Being part Viet and growing up in a primarily Asian household means eating a lot of Vietnamese food. So, naturally, we grew up eating lots of pho and banh xeo (think savory crepes- DELISH!) amongst other dishes. Being a vegetarian now, I don’t get to enjoy pho as much as I’d like because most restaurants use beef broth, but it still does not mean I crave it any less!

That being said, this book made me so hungry and with this cold weather in Georgia, I definitely wanted to warm myself up with a nice hot bowl of pho (Hmmmm..) I even planned to take my kindle to a pho restaurant for picture purposes, but realized there was a slight technical difficulty, so alas- it’s the thought that counts, lol.



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, neighboring restaurants. 

I really enjoyed this book. It is cute and food-centric (so prepare to be craving a lot of food)! I can’t say I have read too many Vietnamese-American reps before, so this really was exciting for me. I can’t relate to being a restaurant-kid, but culturally speaking- this book was very relatable to me. I could hear my mom in a lot of the scenes, which was oddly weird yet comforting knowing I wasn’t the only one who had to go through some of these things. I mean, let’s be honest- I’m almost thirty, and my mom still expects me to sit at the kids’ table when we have gatherings! HAHA

Told from a dual POV, it was a heartwarming Romeo and Juliet-esque romance. A lot of the dilemma and rivalry stems from their parents way back, then that has just carried into current day. I really enjoyed watching Bao and Linh maneuver their way through school and really try to find what they are passionate about and pursing it.

I thought their potential career paths was such a breath of fresh air because it was something they were enthusiastic about and not because Mom and Dad pressured them into it. I also loved how much they cared about the community, their families, and each other. You can’t help but cheer them on. I also loved the supporting characters and their friendships and support for one another.

My one critique is that this book was a tad bit long. It was quite wordy, but I think the same message would have gotten across in less pages. As much as I enjoyed the book, I didn’t feel like I was breezing through a YA romance until the last quarter of the book.

That aside, it is a really adorable book. I would definitely suggest having your favorite Vietnamese food around to munch on while you read, because you are going to be hungry!

Book Details:
Title: A Pho Love Story
Author: Loan Le
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read this book or plan to?

I’d also love to hear any other #ownvoice book recommendations you have!

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