the rock and the firecracker | a phở love story by loan le | @coloredpagesbt

by - 8:00 AM

Sadness is part of our inspiration. Others might bottle up their sadness and pour it out on certain occasions, but we let it pour from us and into our medium. It's the same for most emotions, and we do it so that we can make room for more.

    isbn: 978-1534441934 | pages: 416
    publication date: 02/19/2021 | source: simon & schuster arc / coloredpagestours
    genre: ya contemporary | 10 scale rating: 7.2

    A M A Z O N    |    G O O D R E A D S    |    B O O K S H O P
    I N D I G O    |    B A M !    
a story of family and relationships
A Phở Love Story is a debut young adult novel from Loan Le that follows two Vietnamese-American teenagers as they navigate friendship, family, and finding their passions. Coming from families of two competing pho restaurants, Linh and Bao have only seen each other in passing, but after an instance of kindness and an assignment for the school newspaper, they start spending more time and seeing new aspects of each other. The relationships in this book are what make it such an endearing and memorable story. 

Reading about their families made me take a step back and just appreciate all that my parents have done for me and the support I've received in my career choices even if there have been some arguments along the way. I really appreciated how Bao and Linh's relationship gradually developed - there was an initial spark of interest but we got to see their feeling grow for each other which brought on all the cutesy feels.

proudly asian american
 This story represents a sense of familiarity and representation that makes me crave more stories that are unapologetically embracing the Asian American voice. As someone who is not Vietnamese, but grew up in a big cultural city on the East Coast, so many elements of this novel reflect life moments I've experienced from parental communication struggles to the comfort of sharing food with a loud (and gossipy) extended family. I was rolling my eyes at the auntie circles and relating so much to Linh's sister Evie's experience as the older sibling. 

Despite Linh and her family having different visions and definitions of success, they never lost their line of communication with each other and that really touched me. A lot of times as a child of immigrants, it's hard to reconcile our parents' ideals of the American Dream with our own passions, and reading Linh's perspective just really resonated with my own thoughts and experiences. I honestly loved both sets of parents and learning about their stories made me more eager to take the time to listen to the stories of my own parents.

A Phở Love Story read like a snapshot from my own life and just further exemplifies the importance of writing and sharing these stories from all different backgrounds and cultures. I know for a fact that this story is an example of something I sought for as a teenager and I'm so glad that it's officially out for current and future generations of Asian Americans to read and feel seen.

about the author

Loan Le is the youngest child of two Vietnamese immigrants hailing from Nha Trang. She 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 Season Review, and Angel City Review. Loan is an editor at Simon and Schuster's Atria Books imprint and lives in Manhattan. A Pho Love Story is her first novel. 

Images taken from Unsplash

!! giveaway !!

Be sure to check out the other stops of the #APhoLoveStoryTour and a huge thank you to Colored Pages, Loan Le, and Simon Teen for allowing me to read and share my thoughts!

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