Book Flame: Review: Love Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.
American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.
There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.
Review: I knew the moment I saw Love Hate & Other Filters I had to have it. Even though I am not Muslim I was an Indian-American teenager growing up during the time when 9/11 happened and I had quite a few Muslim Indian-American friends as well whom I saw having to deal with the backlash that came after the terrorist act along with people who weren’t Muslim but looked a certain way. All I have to say is that Samira Ahmed did this book justice with the powerful and bold story she told about Maya Aziz and Love Hate & Other Filters is a very important read especially with all that is going on in our society.
I adored Maya she is stuck between wanting to live her life and the life her parents want for her. It was surreal how well I could relate to her. Maya was a very strong character that you can’t help but love and respect, she knows what she wants out of life and wasn’t about to compromise on her dreams. In the midst of trying to figure her future out Maya, being the only Indian-American Muslim girl in her school also had to deal with a lot of racism and stereotypes and damn it if my heart did not feel for her. It was so gut-wrenching to see everything that she went through while also bringing up personal memories for me as well.
One thing I wasn’t a fan of was the romance and in this case the unnecessary love triangle, I really wasn’t feeling it at all. I liked the guy she ended up with but felt the book focused too much time on the romance.
Samira Ahmed has written a riveting coming of age tale about a girl growing up in a world where she has to fight for her right to live her dreams and it is a must-read. I also feel Love Hate & Other Filters will be a great conversation starter as well.