Book Riot finally revealed the cover for my debut young adult rom-com novel, A Phở Love Story, out February 9, 2021 (around Tết/Lunar New Year!!!). It’s about two Vietnamese-American high school seniors concealing their budding romance while their families feud over their phở restaurants. [a little about my journey below!]

I wrote this rom-com with my fellow Viet-American community in mind; there's a lot about the parents' boat refugee experience (my family’s own experience) and food (yes, phở, but also bánh xèo, bún bò Huế, canh chua, and more!), and how love is often expressed through the latter. At the same, I hope this community will relate to the characters' struggle to follow their creative dreams and navigate their family's expectations.

This is also for anyone:

who’s seen their parents work long hours (at their small businesses), just to keep everyone fed
who’s been on the receiving end of their parents’ one-hour-twenty-five minutes-and-three-seconds immigrant story
who agrees that bánh xèo is best eaten when it’s rainy outside
who’s been called “mày.”
who’s had to pluck gray strands out of their mother’s hair
who calls their aunts and uncles by a number. Seriously, why are there so many Dì Chíns out there?!

It would mean a lot if you can pre-order A Phở Love Story, or spread word about my novel. The larger the pre-order number, the more books get printed and stocked in stores!

Here are the links:
Preorder links:
Book Riot Reveal:
My website:
Cover credit: Laura Eckes (design) and Alex Cabal (illustrator): and

Thank you!
Loan Le

Sidenote: Diacritical marks were left out of the retailer page summaries since they with how things feed, but the book has all the right marks (I hope!).

About my publishing experience (as both an author and an editor): I always loved reading and writing, even though my family is decidedly not a family of readers or writers, ha! But it wasn't until sophomore year of college that I seriously considered a publishing career. The diversity office at my school circulated a call for internships at Simon & Schuster, so I applied. Luckily enough, an alumni (and POC, which is NOT common at my school, lol) saw my resume and brought me in for an interview. The internship was amazing. Using this experience, I interned at literary agency in my senior year. I was able to stay connected to former mentors and landed a job at S&S a week after graduating in 2014.

Since publishing isn’t exactly lucrative--and I don’t have a lot of financial security--I’ve had to work my ass off! No regrets, though.
In 2017, I graduated from a low-residency MFA program (more affordable than other programs/my company covered some of the costs!), which made me fall in love with craft and definitely helped strengthen my writing.

Then, in 2018, my book deal was struck! My first draft went from 53K words to 90K words. I'm grateful that my editor is also a POC--Cambodian-American and also a child of immigrants--because I felt entirely safe in her hands.

Anyway, while my purpose in posting is to share news about my YA rom-com, if anyone has questions about traditional publishing and wants to hear an author perspective and editor perspective (I'm an associate editor now), comment below or email me at