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.
Love Hate & Other Filters is a book that I was really looking forward to read, it got great hype and the fact that Ahmed is a debut author was just the icing on the cake for me. I loved the premise of the story and learning more about Indian culture through the characters in this book. Ahmed definitely delivered in that area. Her writing was descriptive and her exploration of feelings was on point. It was a quick moving story that left me turning the pages well into the night. I fell in love with Maya and Phil. I especially loved Violet, she has some real MC potential but Ahmed did a great job of not letting her take over the story. I’d love to see a companion book with Violet as the MC, I digress.
The story of Maya and Phil was a cute love story centered in the midst of something so much greater. Their story is derailed by a terrorist attack that hits close to home for Maya and as a result everything she wanted for herself, for her life is flipped upside down. See, the supposed terrorist shares her last name, and as a result Maya and her family have to deal with the insecurities and the intolerance of the people in their community. Islamophobia is a growing problem in our world, and this book is just the tip of the iceberg. The story was haunting and emotional. I personally can’t believe that people treat other people the way they do in this book. It makes me weep for humanity.
I had two problems with this book, which is why I only gave it a 4 star rating… I know Maya is 17 and she would have been just a baby when September 11th happened; however, I would have thought that Islamophobia would have been part of her life from the word go. I’m not saying that it should be that way or that I wish that on anyone because I would never do that. But, I think it’s something that has been so prevalent in our society since September 11th that I find it hard to swallow that she doesn’t mention encountering Islamophobia prior to the terrorist attack when she’s 17. Not only that but her parents don’t mention it either, which I find hard to believe.
The other problem I have with this book is the ending… To be honest it felt rushed to me. I would have loved to see the way it played out in more detail. I would also have preferred the epilogue to flash a little farther into the future. But, that’s just my opinion.
Overall, Ahmed has a great ability to manipulate the written word and weave together a story that will embed itself in your heart. I highly recommend this book, it’s a quick read that is both eye opening and a reminder of what people in this country and world are dealing with. I will gladly pick up any book that Ahmed writes in the future, and I encourage you to pick up this one.
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