A Beautiful, Diverse Coming of Age Story // ARC Review: Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Title: Love, Hate and Other Filters
Author: Samira Ahmed
Publication Date: January 16th 2018
Publisher: Soho Teen
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Diverse Book Bridge (THANK YOU!)
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Blurb Description: 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.
 
“Some taboos cross oceans, packed tightly into the corners of immigrant baggage, tucked away with packets of masala and memories of home.”

I LOVE READING DIVERSE BOOKS that are ALSO #OwnVoices books because not only do these books usually have GREAT rep but I absolutely love learning about different cultures or different people’s experiments with my culture.

Even before the lovely people at Diverse Book Bridge got me an ARC of Love, Hate and Other Filters, Samira Ahmed’s debut novel was on my radar as one of the books I KNEW I would be reading. An Indian American Muslim teen and her struggles with love, her parents and Islamophobia? SIGN ME UP.

While Love Hate and Other Filters was a good book, touching at times with the #ownvoices-ness of the book really coming out I also had a few issues with it. Let’s break it down:

1.       If you ask me to describe what most of this book was about, I would simply HAVE to say FLUFF. SO, SO, SO MUCH FLUFF. Love, Hate and other Filters has that insta love triangle where everyone is VANILLA and perfect and so CHEESILY ROMANTIC and claim they ‘know’ each other even though THEY JUST MET and BOTH of the romances honestly did nothing for me. Both boys were SO FLAWLESS that I sat there in disbelief. It was unrealistic and this book should have had LESS ROMANCE.

2.       I understood Maya. I understood her NEED to find a place in the world and to do something she loved. I GOT her need for independence and freedom. And yet, by the time I was seventeen, I had LEARNT that it was just better to openly talk to my parents about most things instead of lying to them and shutting up and RUNNING AWAY. I got her, but I also wish she had been more mature.

3.       One of my favourite things about this book was Maya’s aunt, Hina. She was a SPECTACULAR character, an independent feminist that didn’t conform to societal (especially desi) pressures and her unwavering support for Maya and her own life was AN INSPIRATION.

4.       I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that we didn’t see enough about Islam as a religion or about Muslim Culture. Sure, we got pieces of Indian rep but there were NO religious thoughts or beliefs that we saw from Maya (except the No Pork thing) and that disappointed me.

5.       I’m not saying it was BAD that we didn’t see any Muslim rep, I’m only saying that there could have been a LITTLE LESS ROMANCE AND FLUFF AND A LITTLE MORE OF DESI/ MUSLIM CULTURE.

6.       These are all LITTLE problems I had with this book. I really really liked it, but with all the hype it’s been getting as a diverse book, I just NEEDED a little more diversity from it than what I got.


A beautiful, diverse coming of age story about a girl trying to carve out her own way in the world that I simply wish had less of a romance and more EVERYTHING ELSE. 3.5 Stars.
Samira AhmedSAMIRA AHMED was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in Batavia, Illinois, in a house that smelled like fried onions, spices, and potpourri. She currently resides in the Midwest. She’s lived in Vermont, New York City, and Kauai, where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango.

A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught high school English for seven years, worked to create over 70 small high schools in New York City, and fought to secure billions of additional dollars to fairly fund public schools throughout New York State. She’s appeared in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Fox News, NBC, NY1, NPR, and on BBC Radio. Her creative non-fiction and poetry has appeared in Jaggery Lit, Entropy, the Fem, and Claudius Speaks.

Her writing is represented by Eric Smith of P.S. Literary.
What are some of your most anticipated diverse reads of this year?
Who are some of your favourite desi characters in literature?
Have you had the chance to read Love, Hate and other Filters? What did you think of it?