Thursday, January 11, 2018

Book Review: Love, Hate, and Other Filters

Title: Love, Hate, and Other Filters
Author: Samira Ahmed
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary 
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Source: ALA
Format: ARC

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 (goodreads).

Samira Ahmed's Love, Hate, and Other Filters is a refreshing voice in Young Adult contemporary. 
Plot: Love, Hate, and Other Filters tackled a range of issues: young love, bigotry, and finding independence. When I first started reading this, Love, Hate, and Other Filters gave me major To All The Boys I've Loved Before vibes as it centered around a young girl trying to navigate high school and family life. 

I loved the perspective of being an Indian Muslim in suburban America and was holding my breath until the aforementioned terrorist attack happened, but honestly, after that incident, I couldn't figure out what the book was about anymore. Love, Hate, and Other Filters had the difficult job of tackling Islamophobia, first loves, taking a stand, and family dynamics. I expected that Islamophobia would be explored a lot more than it actually was, instead the focal point of Love, Hate, and Other Filters was Maya working to win the attention of her childhood crush. 

Characters: Maya Aziz was a wonderful main character, she struggled with trying to find her voice while still making her parents proud. She was very much a Lara Jean and I enjoyed her navigation through life. Maya also had an interest in filmography which added a special lens to how she viewed the world.

I wish I enjoyed the love story a bit more but I lost interest in the "will-they-won't-they" tone. I'm sure other readers will love it, but as someone who typically doesn't read contemporary romances, it wasn't for me. 

Worldbuilding: I'm super biased, but Samira Ahmed is from the Chicagoland area and I absolutely adored reading a story about cities that I knew and had visited. As a native Chicagoan, Ahmed accurately portrayed both the white-centric suburbs and hustle and bustle of Chicago, even going as far as including local news outlets in the surrounding areas. 

I know these towns, and I completely understood Maya's trouble with being the only brown girl in town and the fear she unease she felt by being around only white people. I'm sure most people of color who have experienced small towns will resonate with Maya.  

Short N Sweet: Love, Hate, and Other Filters is a coming-of-age story that I'm sure everyone will enjoy, I just wanted less focus on the romance. 


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