Love, Hate and Other Filters
by Samira Ahmed
YA Contemporary, Romance
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 unrecognisable; neighbours and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for approving me for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review!
This book, I’ll admit, was captivating from the very first page to the end. I thought it was a timely, important story and it was even better that it included a diverse cast of characters and points of view, especially seen as the protagonist was Indian-American and Muslim. I really enjoyed how the author also tackled the challenging topic of Islamophobia head on and doesn’t dance around it, like many other well renowned authors tend to do. (Yes, this tea is scalding)
Love, Hate & Other Filters follows the life of Maya, an aspiring film director, who is stuck between chasing her dreams or pleasing her overbearing parents. In this midst of this, she’s tackling a romance set up with Kareem by her parents, while also developing feelings for the popular jock in her school, Phil. The plot goes totally one way and you think you can predict the ending, when all of a sudden, there’s a terrorist attack near her town by a man with the same surname as her. Suddenly the spotlight is turned on her and her family and those around her wonder whether they can be trusted or if they had a connection to the crime.
I really liked how tense and engaging this book was. However, I did at certain points feel like the pace was too slow and the integration of scenes wasn’t written that well. I loved the characters of Maya and Violet and their friendship, but I found Phil to be a particularly bland, boring and predictable love interest.