advertiser content

A Pho Love Story

By Loan Le

Reviewed by Connie Bennett, Vinton Public Library Clerk

Young Adult Fiction

Imagine coming to a new country as a war refugee, and being perceived here as the enemy, even though you only want safety for your family, and a new start. This book is not a political message, but there are elements that evoke the terrors of the Vietnam War, and the turmoil of the families caught up in the chaos.

The premise is simple: a number of families, relocated from their homeland, settled in a sizable section of a big city, to carve out their own micro-country. Two of the families have opened restaurants on opposite sides of the street, and there is a long-standing and very bitter feud between them. Enter Bao, a high school senior and the son of the Nguyen family. He and his best friend, Viet, work in Bao's parents' restaurant. Just across the street, the Mais family have also opened a restaurant, and the animosity between the two businesses is fierce and long-standing. Linh is the daughter of the Mais family, also a high school senior, who has been repeatedly warned about the rival restaurant. This is no "friendly rivalry"!

Now comes the fun part! The two young people, egged on by their best friends, meet for the first time since childhood and quickly become romantically interested. What follows is a modern re-telling of "Romeo and Juliet". I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky, fun book, including the rather dark elements. My only misgiving is the (I thought) overuse of the Vietnamese language. Too often, it seemed, there are expressions, sentences, and even short conversations written entirely in Vietnamese, with no real explanation of what was said. I felt left out, wondering what I'd missed! This was appropriate for Valentines' Day though, and A Pho Love Story was a quick and pleasant read!

Published 2021

Simon & Schuster

New York, New York


Submit a Comment

Please refresh the page to leave Comment.

Still seeing this message? Press Ctrl + F5 to do a "Hard Refresh".

advertiser content