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Love, Hate and Other Filters Hardcover – January 16, 2018
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From the Publisher
Praise for Samira Ahmed’s Love Hate & Other Filters
'A heartbreakingly beautiful debut' - Heidi Heilig, author of The Ship Beyond Time.
'I was completely swept away.' - Sandhya Menon, bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi.
' A deeply moving YA debut.' - Elite Daily.
A New York Times Bestseller
An ABA "Indies Introduce" Selection for Winter/Spring 2018
An ABA IndieNext "Top Pick"
A Spring 2018 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection
A Kobo Winter eBook Indie Pick
Praise for Love, Hate and Other Filters
“Heartfelt . . . Ahmed deftly and incisively explores the complicated spaces between 'American and Indian and Muslim' in modern America.”
"Ahmed authentically and expertly tells a story relevant to today's climate. More than that, it's a meaningful #OwnVoices book about identity and inner strength that everyone should absolutely read."
"This intriguing coming-of-age debut will rival Thomas’s The Hate U Give with its sensitive and must-read tale of an Indian-American Muslim teen and her battle with Islamophobia."
“A deeply moving YA debut.”
"A fantastic book."
—WAMC, "The Roundtable"
"An entertaining coming-of-age story that tackles Islamophobia."
"Books can teach you a lot about people, places and cultures; Love, Hate and Other Filters is one of those books. This book is relatable to anyone that has ever felt as if they don’t fit in or anyone who wants to learn to stop the hate. . . Love, Hate and Other Filters is 2018's most important YA novel."
—Christian Science Monitor
"A breathtaking debut by an #OwnVoices author."
“This sweet, honest, charming debut skillfully balances joy and pain, loyalty and independence, humor and heartbreak, and establishes Ahmed as a definite author to watch.”
—Barnes & Noble Teen Blog
“Love, Hate and Other Filters offers a bit of solace to teenagers growing up in a tense political climate.”
“In an astute debut, Ahmed intertwines a multicultural teen’s story with a spare, dark depiction of a young terrorist’s act. The characters are fully dimensional and credible, lending depth to even lighter moments and interactions. Alternately entertaining and thoughtful, the novel is eminently readable, intelligent, and timely.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Ahmed crafts a winning narrator—Maya is insightful, modern, and complex, her shoulders weighted by the expectations of her parents and the big dreams she holds for herself. Brief interstitials spread evenly throughout the text key readers into the attack looming ahead, slowly revealing the true figure behind its planning with exceptional compassion. Utterly readable, important, and timely.”
—Booklist, Starred Review
“Maya's voice is pitch-perfect; funny, warm, and perfectly teenaged. Sweet and smart with a realistic but hopeful ending, this novel is a great examination of how hatred and fear affects both communities, and individual lives.”
—School Library Journal, Starred Review
“Extremely timely. Reminiscent of Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, Love, Hate and Other Filters brings an authentic new voice to Muslim-American literature for young adults.”
—BookPage, Top Teen Pick for January
“The core relationships are authentic and memorable, and the conclusion is satisfying. A well-crafted plot with interesting revelations about living as a second-generation Muslim-American teen in today’s climate."
“The book is wonderfully constructed. Maya’s voice is authentic, providing readers with insight into her life as an American Muslim teenager . . . readers will find much to digest here and will be totally engrossed from page one.”
“[Love, Hate and Other Filters] starts out as a pitch-perfect romantic contemporary, then turns everything upside down when Maya must confront Islamophobia, try to find a balance between her cultures and stand up for her dreams. A must read for fans of Adam Silvera, Angie Thomas and Jenny Han.”
“Ahmed brings glorious life to Maya’s story, providing cultural details that are relatable to many whether from Maya’s specific background or not. Readers will appreciate Maya’s passionate pursuit of her dream and her journey to embrace and respect her cultures while remaining true to herself.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Samira Ahmed’s debut thoughtfully explores life in America through the eyes of a child of immigrants, the far-reaching effects of racism and religious intolerance, and the challenges of balancing personal dreams and parental expectations."
“An unforgettable debut novel . . . beautifully written.”
“This smart, heartbreaking, honest debut novel is as timely as it is hopeful. Ahmed tackles weighty issues with thoughtfulness and flair. I was completely swept away.”
—Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi
“Love, Hate & Other Filters heralds a dazzling new talent. Samira Ahmed creates a masterful alchemy of heart, humor, profundity, poetry, romance, and humanity. Through the eyes of the richly drawn Maya Aziz, we get a powerful, timely-yet-timeless, and poignant story about the delicate dance of coming of age in two cultures.”
—Jeff Zentner, William C. Morris award winner of The Serpent King
“A heartbreakingly beautiful debut that weaves together the rush of new love, the shock of old hatred, the pressure of protective parents and the culture clash between generations—in other words, a cinematic glimpse into one experience of growing up Muslim in modern America.”
—Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere and The Ship Beyond Time
“Love, Hate & Other Filters made me laugh and made me cry. Maya Aziz is a teen everyone needs to know. Her story—an exploration of the unique challenges Muslim Americans face as she pursues her dreams, falls in love, and finds her place within her family and her faith—is one that will stay with me forever. A much needed addition to the young adult canon.”
—Aisha Saeed, author of Written in the Stars
“Love, Hate & Other Filters hit so close to home, it sometimes hurt to read. I laughed at Maya's wry observations and wept at her profound ones; this book is a searing, honest portrait of what it really means to be a Muslim American teen loyal to two cultures and figuring out how to carve out a space of her own in between.”
—Sarvenaz Tash, author of The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love
“Love, Hate & Other Filters shines with heart and hope in the face of prejudice. Samira Ahmed is a bright new star in the YA firmament.”
—Marieke Nijkamp, New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends
“Ahmed has written a book that will sucker punch you with emotions—much like teen life it is cute one minute and raw the next. It is a masterpiece.”
—Rachel Strolle, Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville, IL
“A compelling balance of relationship woes, family drama, and racial violence. I really appreciate how this book doesn’t pull punches about the reality of being a Muslim teen in the US today, but also gives the protagonist a creative passion, cute boys, and a positive ending. An excellent read.”
—Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop
“Love, Hate and Other Filters has everything you want in a realistic YA novel: characters that come fully to life; a mix of humor, horror, and romance that add up to the normal high school experience; a protagonist who grows and changes through it all. But in this case she’s a Muslim-American and there are terrifying events unfolding in the background that will affect her and her family in a number of ways. This is irresistible, page-turning fiction wrapped around a core that’s smart, serious, and thought-provoking.”
—Christie Olson Day, Gallery Bookshop
About the Author
Samira Ahmed was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in a small town in Illinois in a house that smelled like fried onions, cardamom, and potpourri. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught high school English, helped create dozens of small high schools, and fought to secure billions of additional dollars to fairly fund public schools. She's lived in Vermont, Chicago, New York City, and Kauai, where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @sam_aye_ahm.
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*Content warning for emotional cheating and Islamophobia*
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First, let me just say that this book made me feel a lot of things—they were not all good, but feelings are feelings, and lately not a lot of stories have managed to give me that.
During the first half, I mostly went from really liking the voice to getting my hopes up with the romance to getting annoyed by the romance and the protagonist (Maya). Anyone who knows me is aware I will hardly ever complain about a book being romance-focused, but in this case, the romance didn’t work for me at all.
There’s a love triangle for a few chapters, but it doesn’t last. My problem, though, is that this triangle only served to introduce a character I liked as a LI a lot more than Maya’s pick. For me, the author gave Kareem, the Indian guy who gets all Maya’s jokes and references, a lot more personality than she gave Phil, the white guy Maya has had a crush on since forever. The first scenes between Maya and Kareen had chemistry and built a connection that the rest of the book didn’t achieve for Maya and Phil. Honestly, I’m still wondering why Maya liked Phil in the first place. What was so appealing about him other than the fact that Maya seemed to make it her life’s mission to like everything her parents disapproved of?
Phil wasn’t a remarkable enough character and the two of them seemed to have no common interests beside him teaching her to swim.
And, the most important thing of all (for me, at least), Phil was taken. Yes, Phil had a girlfriend, not that Phil or Maya seemed to care too much about it. I honestly don’t understand why the author chose this specific “obstacle” for the romance. They had other things going for them, mainly the fact that Maya’s parents would never approve of Phil. Still, the girlfriend trope was thrown in there and both Maya and Phil didn’t react in a nice way about it.
I’ve talked about this over and over. When I read about a protagonist who’s hoping to be kissed by a boy who has a girlfriend, I tend to immediately dislike said protagonist because of her lack of respect for other people’s relationships. I understand having a crush on someone who is in a relationship. I understand struggling with those feelings and daydreaming about what could’ve been. What I don’t understand is openly flirting and leaning into a possible kiss when the guy is still dating someone else. Same goes for the Love Interest who’s flirting with someone else behind his partner's back. Get your act together, people!
So, yeah, the romance did not work for me. And the problem is, the romance was a HUGE part of this book. Like, much bigger than I expected it to be. From the blurb, I’d hoped to see a deeper approach on the islamophobia aspect, since it’s such an important topic. It was there, but it wasn’t as deep as I’d hoped.
That is also kind of sad because the little we got from this was so well-done. Everything about the attack, the mistaken identity, the consequences to both Maya and her family broke my heart. There was suffering and hatred and doubts. I understood Maya’s point of view and her parents’ worry, and it was so sad that those good people had to go through that.
Speaking of Maya’s parents, this was another aspect of the book that made me dislike Maya. I’m not Indian, but when it comes to overbearing parents, it seems our cultures are similar. In Brazil, parents also act as if their children are small kids no matter how old they are. They want to have an opinion on everything and sometimes it feels like teens/young adults/even adults can’t breathe. So I got Maya’s struggle with wanting to follow her cinematography dream and going to NYU while her parents wanted her to stay close to home and become a doctor/lawyer/etc. Having said that, Maya dealt with this whole thing in a very immature way.
I wasn’t a fan of how she disrespected and disregarded her parents’ feelings at every turn. Does that mean I wanted her to give in to what they wanted? Of course not, but I also didn’t see how being rude to them constantly would help her case. Maya needed a lesson on how to pick her battles. It seems like she wanted to fight her parents in every aspect of her life, and it didn't seem productive. She hardly ever used reason to talk to them (leaving that job to her aunt, who was a saint). She pretty much refused any show of affection from her mother, which broke my heart. She pushed away their worries over her well-being even when it was obvious any parent would worry. And her little disappearing act? *rolls eyes* Maya could’ve handled the whole situation a lot better, in my opinion.
So, despite my lack of connection with the romance and some of Maya’s choices, I enjoyed the cinematography approach, the immersion in the Indian culture and the approach on important subjects, like islamophobia. Love, Hate & Other Filters was worth the read.
I wasn't expecting this to be as fluffy as it was. I mean, half of it was a a YA romance, I really wasn't seeing where it was going in the long run. It didn't fall into the category I would put The Hate U Give or Dear Martin where I felt for the characters on a deeper level than I did Maya. She came off rude and a little childish at times. I mean, her parents were oppressive in a way, but she was lying to them and didn't give any chance for them to understand until she rolled it all out of them. I know she was scared about telling them about going to NY and liking a white boy and all, but if she wanted to be understood so badly, she had to give others the same courtesy.
The terrorist attack came almost as in afterthought, to push the story into a different category. By that time I was already in romantic fluff mode. It escalated quickly. This is not to downplay what happened. Maya deals with what I am certain tons of people in her situation do especially after such things happen. People want someone to blame Unfortunately they love to blame an entire group of people and that just sucks. It gives a peek into how racism can affect people in more ways than you can imagine.
I hated the ending and how her parents reacted to everything, but part of me felt like it wasn't entirely their fault which means I wasn't 100% on board with Maya.
This book wasn't bad. Was it what I expected? No. Basically it was a love/hate for me.