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.
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?
Loan Le holds an MFA degree in fiction from Fairfield University, also her undergraduate alma mater. A Pushcart Prize–nominated writer, her short stories have appeared in CRAFT Literary, Mud SeasonReview, and Angel City Review. Loan works in book publishing and lives in Manhattan. A Pho Love Story is her first novel. Visit her website at WriterLoanLe.me and find her on Twitter @LoanLoan.
"Narrators Ryan Do and Vyvy Nguyen charm listeners with a story featuring star-crossed lovers and mouthwatering foods, told in fast-paced alternating first-person chapters. Bao Nguyen waits on tables in his family's Vietnamese restaurant. Do conveys his anxieties about his lack of drive. His family has a long-running rivalry with the restaurant owners across the street, but when he and their daughter, Linh Mai, have a chance encounter, sparks fly. Linh's artistic ambitions and family expectations already cause conflict, and Nguyen's compelling narration ensures that listeners hear the joys and fears of her secret relationship with Bao. Vietnamese phrases and tones are narrated smoothly throughout the novel, adding to the richness of the listening experience. Both narrators convey the thrills of first love, and the teens' loyalty to their families and community."