So I’ve had Samira Ahmed’s Love, Hate & Other Filters on my radar for what feels like FOREVER! I finally got to snag a copy from South Charleston Public Library last week when I took my daughter and her friend for some library fun.
Description (from Goodreads):
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.
There is so much I enjoyed in this book! First, I immediately took a liking to Maya and completely understood her relationship with her parents. She feels suffocated by the expectations put on her by friends and family for her future. In order to deal with the outside world, she uses her camera as a shield to kind of hide in plain sight. She views life through a documentary lens.
While Maya wants to live the life she truly wants, she doesn’t know how to do that and still be a good daughter. One such example of this is in her love life. She’s had a crush on an American boy named Phil at school for forever! But along comes a boy named Kareem who could have easily come straight out of her mother’s dreams! Maya has to choose between the two. While it shouldn’t be such a hard decision, it’s made even harder by the fact that Phil has a girlfriend.
Honestly, I loved Kareem and wasn’t all that thrilled with Phil. Even after finishing the book, I’m a little upset with Maya for even needing so much time to choose between them. Kareem seems to be the better fit in my opinion, but maybe I’m looking at it through a mother’s eyes?
Just when you think everything is starting to go Maya’s way, a terrorist attack happens in a town not too far from where Maya and her family lives, she has to deal with out of control Islamophobia. She and her parents are put in danger and her world is turned upside down.
While I connected a lot with Maya, I wasn’t a big fan of the way her parents were ultimately portrayed in the end. I saw some similarities in other real-life Indian parents I know, but at times I felt like there was too much stereotyping, especially for a book dealing with the very negative aspects of stereotyping!
Overall, I thought this was a great read and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to read it! I think it’d be a great required reading book for high school (HINT, HINT to the English teachers who read my blog).
What do you think? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!
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