Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
|Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed|
|Reviewer: Em Richardson|
|Summary: As heart-breaking as it is uplifting, Love, Hate and Other Filters examines both what it is like to be on the receiving end of extreme Islamophobia, and how the support of open-minded loved ones can help relieve the pain. This is a coming-of-age novel with a twist, as Maya must deal with the specific problem of the abuse she faces, as well as the more general problem of convincing her parents to allow her to pursue the career of her choosing. A must read for teens who are interested in learning about how politics and current affairs can have an impact on certain minorities' everyday lives.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: January 2018|
|Publisher: Hot Key Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Love, Hate and Other Filters tells the story of Maya, a Muslim of Indian heritage. Like many other American teenagers, she is struggling to convince her parents to allow her to move away to attend university. However, in Maya's case, things are more complicated than usual, after instances of Islamophobia make her parents extra protective.
With the release of novels like The Nowhere Girls, 2017 has certainly been the year of political Young Adult reads, and this trend definitely continues with Love, Hate and Other Filters. Much of the plot revolves around Islamophobia - a very topical issue with America's current political situation. Ahmed can be applauded for educating young people on the abhorrent views spread by hateful political rhetoric, and how it can affect the lives of innocent Muslims. The abuse faced by Maya and her family seems very realistic and, given recent events, I thought it was particularly poignant that it was triggered by a terrorist attack, mirroring many real hate crimes. Certain details about the perpetrator of said attack also highlighted the assumptions the media tends to make when reporting terrorism.
As well as inciting the abuse she faces, Maya's Indian and Muslim roots are a cause of conflict in her family life, as her parents worry she is becoming 'Westernised'. On a day to day level, this means they are reluctant to let her date a boy of her choosing or attend her school's prom; on a more serious level, it means they are reluctant to allow her to move away, and out of their supervision, for university, or even to study Film in the first place. The novel certainly sheds some light on what it must be like to have been born in a country that is starkly different to the one where your parents were raised, with Maya being forced to choose between pleasing her parents, and giving up on her own ambitions.
Yet another important topic discussed in this novel is inter-faith relationships. This is also an additional cause of debate for Maya, as she must choose between dating a boy who will please her parents, and dating the one she actually finds attractive. Then, when it comes to actually dating someone, there is the conflict she feels between being a 'normal' American teenager, and abiding to her parents' strict rules.
Whilst Love, Hate and Other Filters can be considered quite a politicised novel, I don't want to give the impression that it isn't an enjoyable one too. It can actually be quite a feel-good book in places, as we see the support Maya receives from some of the more likeable characters, and how her first romance develops. In many ways, this is a coming of age story, with Maya's heritage simply serving as an added twist. It will certainly resonate with teenagers, as Ahmed perfectly captures both the daunting feeling of being asked to make big decisions about the future at a young age, and the 'angst' many teens feel at being misunderstood by their families. Above all, this is a book with many messages- it highlights the suffering caused by intolerance and hatred, yet it also shows that there are genuinely kind people in the world, and ultimately leaves the reader feeling optimistic about a future where, hopefully, less hatred will be present.
For further reading, I'd suggest anyone who enjoyed this book would love The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, another YA novel that deals with being hated and stereotyped by society because of your background or the colour of your skin.
You can read more book reviews or buy Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed at Amazon.com.
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