Pho in Love

Book: A Pho Love Story

Genre: Contemporary/YA Romance

Rating: 5/5 Stars

This was the Bookstaclubbers pick for the month of April and boy was it a GREAT selection for the book of the month. This book felt poignant, relevant and had the absolute sweetest romance and story to it!

Before I jump into my review and some spoilers here is the Goodreads summary:

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’ fifthfavorite 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. 

Okay, I want to break this into the 3 things I love most about this lovely book. First up, the commentary on racism, specifically again Asian Americans. This book gives a brief commentary and look into what many immigrants, like Asian Americans, have to go through on a daily basis, sadly. The man that enters Bao’s parent’s shop and disrespects them not only in person but online is just the tip of the iceberg and by including him in the story we get a look at what we need to stand up and speak against! Having talked through this with other Book Club members, we were really able to go through and dig into our feelings about this and how we hope to speak up and stand up for others dealing with this persecution.

Secondly, I adore the food aspect of this book. ALL. THE. FOOD. This book made me hungry in so many ways!! I am a huge fan of Pho to begin with, having tried it for the first time years ago at my friend’s home, so I definitely had Pho while reading the book! On top of that, they mention so many other amazing Vietnamese foods throughout the book and all I wanted to do was go out to our local Vietnamese restaurant and buy food every day. I did restrain myself but I would definitely not have declined if someone brought me Pho every day!

Finally, the relationships in this book. Not just the romance between Bao and Linh, which was ADORABLE, but the family dynamics of this book. To get a glimpse into their families, especially as first generation/2nd generation immigrants, it was very enlightening. Seeing the pressures and stresses that they encountered as families and how much they rely on each other was truly a beautiful thing. In addition to that, I LOVED how Bao and Linh had different experiences with their families and expectations too. It was interesting to see how Bao’s parents were supportive no matter what, just because they wanted him to find a passion in life. In contrast to that, Linh’s parents were also supportive but in a very different way, wanting her to be successful in her life. It was all so beautiful and well thought out and I adored every page of it.

If you haven’t read this yet, pick it up and HAPPY READING!!

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