A Phở Love Story by Loan Le

Loan Le’s debut novel, A Phở Love Story, reads a bit like a happy ending Romeo & Juliet (in fact that story is mentioned many times by the characters throughout this book).

Bảo Nguyen and Linh Mai are high school seniors who work at their families’ Vietnamese restaurants. Sounds perfect, right? Oh so wrong. It turns out that their familes are in a years’ long feud even though their restaurants are across the street from each other.

Bảo is average and not that interesting – his words. He goes to school and isn’t particularly amazing at anything in general. He is reliable, his grades average, and he isn’t quite sure what he wants to do with his future.

Linh loves art. She desperately wants to have a career in it. For as long as she can remember, Linh has been an artist. The only issue is that her parents do not believe that art is a stable enough career choice. Her parents rely on her to help them with their restaurant almost every day, so on top of her school work and her art projects, Linh spends hours at the restaurant.

Even though the Mai and Nguyen’s restaurants are across the street from each other, the two families do not interact. In fact they are incredibly competitive. When one does a contest, so does the other. Rumors swirl about each respective restaurant. The feud between the two families seems very complicated to Bảo and Linh, but their parents won’t discuss why it exists.

One day, a chance encounter between Linh and Bảo results in sparks. They find themselves working close together and despite their family history and their initial desire to steer clear of each other, there is an undenable attraction. The more they get to know each other, the more they wonder why it took so long for them to meet and become friends. The tensions between their parents has the power to destroy their budding relationship. Bảo and Linh will have to decide what they want and how far they are willing to go for love and answers.

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