4 star, YA

Review: A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

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.



A true ode to Vietnamese culture and cuisine, A Pho Love Story delivers an insightful look into foods shared and eaten and the dynamics of family who have survived the horrors of a civil war. While you may instantly think this is a Romeo and Juliet kind of retelling, I am here to tell you that it is so much more.

Linh and Bao work at their respective family restaurants which are unfortunately situated across the street from each other. Told from childhood that they should never, ever interact with the enemy, they were like two passing ships in the night only seeing one another from afar but never interacting even at school. Looking at this synopsis, of course you would think this is just a simple own-voices kind of romance story. It is, I agree, but there is just so much more about Linh and Bao than a sit-in Juliet and Romeo with feuding restaurant families.

Continue reading “Review: A Pho Love Story by Loan Le”
4 star, YA

Review: Love in English by Maria E. Andreu

Sixteen-year-old Ana has just moved to New Jersey from Argentina for her Junior year of high school. She’s a poet and a lover of language—except that now, she can barely understand what’s going on around her, let alone find the words to express how she feels in the language she’s expected to speak.

All Ana wants to do is go home—until she meets Harrison, the very cute, very American boy in her math class. And then there’s her new friend Neo, the Greek boy she’s partnered up with in ESL class, who she bonds with over the 80s teen movies they are assigned to watch for class (but later keep watching together for fun), and Altagracia, her artistic and Instagram-fabulous friend, who thankfully is fluent in Spanish and able to help her settle into American high school. 

But is it possible that she’s becoming too American—as her father accuses—and what does it mean when her feelings for Harrison and Neo start to change? Ana will spend her year learning that the rules of English may be confounding, but there are no rules when it comes to love.

With playful and poetic breakouts exploring the idiosyncrasies of the English language, Love in English tells a story that is simultaneously charming and romantic, while articulating a deeper story about what it means to become “American.”



While I am not Latinx or have the direct experience of immigrating to a new country, Love in English tells a wonderful tale about connecting with one another in ways that transcends the language that we speak and the beauty behind the words that we do use.

Ana has just recently moved to America with her mother, joining her father who had gone and settled there a few years before them. Leaving behind everything and everyone that she knew in Argentina, nothing could prepare her for the jolt that is living in a different culture, even all her English lessons back home.

Continue reading “Review: Love in English by Maria E. Andreu”