ARC REVIEW – Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Summary: 

  • my rating: 4 stars
  • published by: Hot Key Books
  • genres: contemporary
  • diversity: Indian/American mc, Indian/American side characters, Muslim representation
  • content warnings: islamophobia and racism, physical assault, threads, white supremacy, hate crimes
  • links: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Synopsis:
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, Jacquelyn Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?

Love, Hate & Other Filters is an incredible example of the strengths and potential of the YA Contemporary genre. It really shows what this genre can be when it is working at it’s best. Love, Hate & Other Filters hits a fine balance between reading and feeling like a romantic comedy but also acting as a serious exploration of the life of Indian/American Muslim teens – and that balance was probably my favourite thing about it. It was fun, but also aware, and had such a unique family aspect as well as cute romance I absolutely could not put it down.

Love, Hate & Other Filters introduces us to Maya Aziz, a wannabe filmmaker who’s tackling her parents expectations she marry an Indian/American soon, her crush on school jock Phil, and her anxiety about telling her parents she wants to go to NYU to study film. Maya is an excellent main character: she’s well rounded, has hobbies and interests which fleshed her character out, a strong voice throughout the book and her voice and thoughts feel genuinely teen. On top of that, the author builds into her character an authenticity in how she engages with her culture that can only come from an #OwnVoices author.

For me, the page turning aspect of this book came from the romantic elements and the general tone of this book. I loved that the first half of this book read almost as a romantic comedy, and how adorable Maya and her love interest were. The banter forced me to deeply invest in the romance and I definitely think it was well built up and slow burn. I also think the writing was so soothing and easy to read, which helped to keep me engaged with the story.

The second half of the book takes a darker tone, and explores more serious issues but I think they were explored with such rawness and depth that it would be impossible not to find it engaging. The build up of Maya’s character in part one made my sympathy for her in part two so much greater, the author managed to depict both the normalcies of life as a Muslim, Indian/American, but also the realitys and hardships that can come with that.

REVIEWS TO READ

So I’ve found some incredibly insightful and well written reviews from OwnVoices reviewers I think you should check out. They talk about the representation much better then I ever could !

For Muslim rep: Fadwa’s review, and Ilsa’s review

For Indian rep: Kav’s review

IN CONCLUSION

Love, Hate & Other Filters is simultaneously raw, and soft. The depiction of Maya’s life felt tangible, and it is hard not to sympathise with her and root for her so hard. The fast paced writing and brilliant tone kept me turning pages, and I especially adored all these soft boy love interests. A shoutout to Phil and Kareem, two boys I can get behind.

My one issue with this book was the epilogue, but that it just a preference thing. I highly recommend this book and want everyone to check it out when it releases on January 16!

Have you read Love, Hate & Other Filters, or are you planning to? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time!

xo jamieson

 


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