17 May 2023

Review: LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS by Samira Ahmed


Author: Samira Ahmed
Series: N/A
Source: Audible Plus
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication Date: January 16, 2018

Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

Representation: Indian-American main character, Muslim main character, Hindu side characters

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.
Amazon | Chapters
Content Warning: Islamophobia, racism, threats, white supremacy, hate crimes.

This was such a cute, diverse contemporary that also didn't shy away from the harder topics like Islamophobia, racism and the pressure of parental expectations. I loved the Indian representation and the overbearing/caring parents, discussions of arranged marriages and cultural practices.

During the first half, I mostly went from really liking the voice to getting my hopes up with the romance to getting annoyed by the romance and the protagonist (Maya). Anyone who knows me is aware I will hardly ever complain about a book being romance-focused, but in this case, the romance didn’t work for me at all.

The fact that Phil had a girlfriend really irked me as the "reason" for the romance not to work. This ends up with having "someone" be the bad guy - and it's usually the other woman in the picture. So, yeah, the romance did not work for me. And the problem is, the romance was a HUGE part of this book. Like, much bigger than I expected it to be. From the blurb, I’d hoped to see a deeper approach on the islamophobia aspect, since it’s such an important topic. It was there, but it wasn’t as deep as I’d hoped.

But besides that, I really enjoyed this insightful story. It was crazy how things switched so easily after the terrorist attack. I really liked what Maya's mom said about them always, no matter what, being a scapegoat (the only good thing her mom said this entire book). Even though a lot of terrorist and otherwise terrible acts are committed by entitled, white supremacist white men, we really are still blaming Muslims for it, treating them as a scapegoat because nobody wants to admit to the fault of their whiteness, we are everyone's own worst enemy, the numbers there are overpowering and far above the number of people of colour we love to demonize.

Basically, this book broaches super important topics and you should definitely read it no matter what. Seriously, there's no excuse on this entire planet for leaving this book un-read, at all. You don't look at reviews and go "hmm this doesn't really spark my fancy," you should have just looked at the synopsis and seen what this book addresses and immediately set yourself up to read this. Educate yourselves.

Have you read this book? Are you going to pick this up?

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