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Publisher's Summary

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?

©2021 Loan Le. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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  • 2021-02-26

YA foodie romance with Vietnamese-American rep!

This book was amazing. Before I had posted this review I had planned to give it a four. By the end of the book I was so heartbroken, I couldn't not give it a five. It explores the budding romance of two teens who work at rivaling Vietnamese restaurants and were raised to hate each other.

The biggest highlight of the book is the rich Vietnamese American experience as well as touching the surface of a few southEast Asian refugee experiences. The two main characters are both Viet American and have very different views of what their desired futures compared to what their parents want for them.  

Linh is artistic and wants to pursue such but her parents want her to be something practical. Bao is unambitious and learns he loves to write. Both their parents came to the US as refugees due to the wars happening in Southeast Asia at the time. This story was supposed to be about their feuding families and forbidden romance but I found myself super invested in both of their parents stories.

Since both of their parents knew each others families in Vietnam, coming to the US caused a rift based on a family member dying(family secret that I chose not to reveal). They work in opposing Vietnamese restaurants right across the street from each other and have never bridged the gap between their families.

Both Bao's mother and Linh's father had strong accents. I cried a little bit every time they had to bridge through their amazing yet strong accented English. Both their parents had trauma and their livelihoods depended on their restaurants.

As a Black-Latine person, I was surprised at how much similarities I had to their upbringings. As much as I planned to give it a four for the lack of romance I would've liked, the back story of their parents made it hard to.
Sometimes the story feels slow but I understand why the relationship is so slowburn. Great debut with great Vietnamese-American rep!