A Pho Love Story
By Amanda Nojadera,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Vietnamese American teens find love in heartwarming romcom.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about Vietnamese culture, food, and history. Vietnamese words and phrases are used throughout the story. Teens will also learn about racism and how to fight against it.
Communication, courage, family, love, identity, and activism are important themes. Follow your dreams and use your voice to stand up for what's right.
Positive Role Models
Bao and Linh help their parents, even when they'd prefer not to. They encourage each others' creativity and find a way to look past their families' feud so they can be together. Ali and Viet are kind, supportive friends. Bao's and Linh's parents are hardworking, resilient, and strong. They have sacrificed so much for their kids to have happy lives in America. Diverse representations include Korean and Korean American characters.
Violence & Scariness
The Mais and Nguyens have a long-standing feud and sometimes spread hurtful rumors about each other. There's one racist encounter in a restaurant and a trolling review on Yelp.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters have crushes, kiss, and hold hands.
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Characters use strong language such as "s--t," "f--k," "ass," "hell," "Jesus," "loser," "idiot," "douche," and "frickin." There's also one use of "FOBs," which stands for "fresh off the boat."
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Products & Purchases
Brands and pop culture mentions include Spider-Man, TikTok, Romeo and Juliet, Law & Order: SVU, The Bachelor, Black Mirror, Yelp, and Twitter.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink Heineken, Corona, and wine at parties.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Loan Le's A Pho Love Story is a heartwarming romantic comedy about Bao Nguyen and Linh Mai, two Vietnamese American teens who find love despite their families' long-standing feud. Readers will learn about Vietnamese culture, food, history, and the importance of communication and courage. Sometimes the Nguyens and the Mais spread hurtful rumors about each other. There's one racist encounter in a restaurant and a trolling review on Yelp. Characters have crushes, kiss, and hold hands. Strong language includes "s--t," "f--k," "ass," "hell," "Jesus," "frickin." There's also one use of "FOBs," which stands for "fresh off the boat." Adults drink Heineken, Corona, and wine at parties.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
A PHO LOVE STORY follows Bao Nguyen and Linh Mai, two Vietnamese American teens whose families own competing Vietnamese restaurants across the street from each other. Ever since they were little kids, their parents have told them not to interact with each other. But things change when Bao sees a very stressed out Linh outside of her family's restaurant one night and offers to help. After that night, Bao and Linh start working together for the school newspaper, and their friendship inevitably turns into a budding romance. What happens when their parents find out about their relationship? And more important, will their families' feud stop them from being together?
Is It Any Good?
This heartwarming romantic comedy explores food, family, and identity, making it a must-read for teens. Readers will love the charming characters and the many mouthwatering descriptions of Vietnamese dishes throughout the book. While most of A Pho Love Story revolves around Bao's and Linh's sweet, supportive, and swoon-worthy "star-crossed lovers" relationship, it also explores how they try to meet their parents' expectations while pursuing their passions. One of the most moving moments occurs when Bao uses his love of words to bring the community together, including the Mais and the Nguyens, by writing a powerful article condemning racism. As the tale progresses and the reason for the Mais' and the Nguyens' long-standing feud is revealed, teens will see the importance of courage and communication.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the various kinds of diversity in A Pho Love Story. Why are diverse representations important in children's and young adult literature?
Does the romance portrayed seem realistic and relatable? Do young adult romance novels help readers sort out their feelings and learn how to communicate, or do they create false expectations about teen relationships?
How do the characters demonstrate communication and courage? Why are these important character strengths?
- Author: Loan Le
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: Activism, Arts and Dance, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: February 9, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 416
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 1, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Books with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Characters
Teen Romance Novels
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