Love, Hate & Other Filters
by Samira Ahmed
Released on January 16th, 2018
Published by Soho Teen
Young Adult Fiction—Contemporary
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.
Trigger/Content Warning(s): Islamaphobia, Bullying, Assault, Racism, Hate Crimes, Violence
Love, Hate & Other Filters is a quick, heart-capturing read about a girl learning to speak up for and take control of what she wants.
From the very first paragraph, Samira Ahmed has readers entranced and attentive from the hook of the writing style. It jumps off the page and is easy-going, making it simple to follow along and understand the happenings of the story.
Maya’s character is one a lot of readers can find bits and pieces of themselves within. She is eager, aspiring, and very sure of what she wants. But she lacks the confidence to communicate it properly. It can be found in several portions of the book where Maya requires the people around her to support her as she speaks up to her parents, asking—and later on, telling—what she wants to be and what she needs to live her life as she dreams of. The character development that Maya underwent was noticeable, as a girl who started out unsure and later became one who knew what she needed for herself and took charge in taking it. It was also easy to find that the side characters, such as Brian (*insert angry face*); Violet; and Phil all shaped into somewhat different people by the end of the book.
The plot was one that was not entirely anticipated. The synopsis did its job in giving readers the “what is to come” of the book, but the plot was formatted in a different organization than normal, and it turned out pleasantly well. Ahmed gave readers a build-up of the people outside of Maya’s story and how they were impacted by a suicide bomber, but Ahmed also built up the events through Maya’s life too. Readers were able to watch and see as Maya pulled a grasp on what she aspired for, only for the terrorist bombing to take it all away in an instant. It gave a horrifying reality that some can find fear in, while also knowing that it has already become a reality for many in the United States of America.
Overall, Love, Hate & Other Filters was a great coming-of-age story that immediately won me over, and for that, I rate it 4.75 stars. I look forward to picking up Samira Ahmed’s backlist, as well as any future books to come.
SAMIRA AHMED was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in Batavia, Illinois, in a house that smelled like fried onions, spices, and potpourri. She currently resides in the Midwest. She’s lived in Vermont, New York City, and Kauai, where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango.
A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught high school English for seven years, worked to create over 70 small high schools in New York City, and fought to secure billions of additional dollars to fairly fund public schools throughout New York State. She’s appeared in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Fox News, NBC, NY1, NPR, and on BBC Radio. Her creative non-fiction and poetry has appeared in Jaggery Lit, Entropy, the Fem, and Claudius Speaks.
Her writing is represented by Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary, Inc.