book review, young adult

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (Review)

Title: Love, Hate & Other Filters
Author: Samira Ahmed
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Soho Teen (Penguin Random House)
Date published: January 16, 2018

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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.


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I had a very interesting experinece with Love, Hate & Other Filters. When I started reading, it seemed like it would be a cute, and eye-opening contemporary romance told through the perspective of a girl whose parents were born in India and then moved to the States, and who are Muslim. The synopsis made me believe that this would be a commentary on the life of Muslims in America, and that Islmophobia would be addressed in some manner. For about 40% of the book, I kept thinking that I’d either read the synosis wrong.

I hope that sayign this doesn’t count as a spoiler, but I just want other readers to not feel concerned if this happens to them too. Like if someone’s really in the mood to read a book that addresses the issues in our society when it comes to the treatment of people who are not-white, and not-Catholic, and then think that they picked up the wrong book. Love, Hate & Other Filters really does get there! When I got to about 40% of the book, something happened, and I ended up reading until 3 a.m. because I could not put the book down until I had read the very last word! Things become intense, and really stricking, and eye-opening.

It is truly my hope that my having said that will change someone else’s reading experience of the book. And I apologize if it does! I am never sure if some readers would consider something a spoiler even if I do not. Alright, now that I’ve talked about that, I want to talk about the plot (as much as I can without giving anything away). I really like Maya, and I loved how the story was told through her perspective as not only an Indian Muslim girl, but also as someone who loves film-making! Maya and the manner in which she told the story felt very real.

I also found it educational to read about Maya’s family, friends, and fellow students. Because my parents are not from India, there are obviously some things which Maya experienced that I will never feel on my own skin. But because my parents and myself are from Romania, and have immigrated once to Austria, and then again to Canada, I do understand the sense of one’s family being different from schoolmate’s families, and not understanding that difference, and feeling ashamed about it sometimes. Due to my skin being white, and my not being Muslim, I never experienced discrimination in regard to those things, and can therefore not say that I fully understand what Maya went through. Love, Hate & Other Filters has, however, made me aware of some of the things that Muslims living in the Western world have to go through due to the colour of the skin, and due to the actions of a handful of terrorists. I cannot begin to understand what that would feel like, but I am certainly more aware and sensitive to what others may have gone through / are going through.

Overall this book was very well-written, it was sweet, romantic, as well as heartbreaking, and eye-opening. I highly recommend that people from all walks of life read this book, especially considering current state of things in our world. (I apologize that this is not one of my better-written reviews, but I feel like I simply lacked the proper words to express how I felt about this book. Parts made me happy, and others made me feel sick because of the amount of cruelty and hatred that some people can feel for others. I’m also sick right now, haha.)



Samira 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.

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11 thoughts on “Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (Review)

  1. I love your review Flavia! & can relate to those same feelings of being unbable to put into words how this book made me feel. I definitely felt the cruelty of the world we live in while reading Maya’s experience with hate crime. A range of emotions, this book is such a relevant read. I’m glad you picked this one up & that you got a lot out of it too. I hope you feel better soon

    1. Aweee thank you, Lilly! I might still go back and edit this when I’m feeling more like myself. I agree that this is a relevant read, and I’m glad that I read it too. Thanks so much! And thank you for reading! 🙂

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