Love, Hate, & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Published by: Soho Teen on January 16, 2018
SPOILER-FREE REVIEW AHEAD
I was so, so excited for this book in the months leading up to it. Love, Hate, & Other Filters is about a seventeen-year-old Indian-American Muslim named Maya. Maya, a senior in high school, lives in suburban Illinois with her parents, who are immigrants from India. Though I’m not Indian, as a Muslim-American, I’m always eager to read a book that features a character similar to me, and the fact that it was #OwnVoices and critically acclaimed made me even more excited. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up loving it as much as I thought I would. That’s not to say that I hated it, but I have very mixed feelings on this book.
(Also, I’m trying out a new format for my reviews, so let me know if you like it or not!)
Things I liked
- The emphasis on culture was great. I loved learning about Indian culture, and it was weaved in very effortlessly with the story. It was great.
- I loved the pacing of the story. I’m used to reading 400-500 pages, so it was nice to read something so short. Nothing was rushed, and everything included had a purpose. It was a quick read, and I was never bored.
- I loved reading about Maya’s reflections on the attack and how it affected her and her family personally. It was such a good depiction of how Muslims feel whenever something like this happened, and the pain of always being the scapegoat. I completely related when she heard the news about the attack and she thought to herself, Please don’t let it be a Muslim.
- I also really liked all the little glimpses before every chapter into the mind/life of the attacker. It was very effective. It was also very interesting to see how the media reacted when it was a white vs. Muslim attacker–very effective.
Things I didn’t like
- Maya wants to be a director and attend NYU, but her strict parents see her love for filmmaking as just a hobby and plan on her attending the University of Chicago nearby. My problem with this is that I’ve seen it a million times before. It’s just very cliche to me, especially the director thing, and especially with immigrant parents.
- Maya is kind of….boring? First of all, she’s not very distinguishable from characters I’ve read about in similar situations. She’s not that interesting, she’s kind of just there. The only thing we really know about her is that she loves movies. She doesn’t really have any other qualities. Also, she sounds so pretentious sometimes, and she just doesn’t talk like a real teenager at all. I’m seventeen….that’s not what we sound like. (I know I’m picky, but it’s my review.)
- Maya is also rude to her parents, which made her unlikable to me at times. I understand the pressure of overbearing immigrant parents very well, because I have a set of my own. And yet Maya was always pushing them away, and pretty much only thinking about herself, even when they weren’t doing anything wrong. So that kind of bothered me.
- The romance. Oh God, I really did not like the romance. Which is weird, because I’m a huge romance fan–sometimes, the plot will bore me, but I’ll become so obsessed with the romance that it can bump the book up a couple of stars for me. That was not the case with this book. The love interest is so bland. He is also indistinguishable from every other love interest in every other high school contemporary (popular, captain of the football team, prom king….really??). I didn’t feel anything at all when I read any of their scenes, instead I was just bored. It all felt pretty forced to me.
- Some scenes were kind of unrealistic to me. I can’t mention it, because I don’t want to spoil it, but the thing with Brian was poorly written/executed, in my opinion.
So that’s it for my thoughts on Love, Hate, & Other Filters! If I’m being honest, it was more of a 2.5, but I’ll keep it at a 3 for now. I’m looking forward to reading more from Samira Ahmed in the future, because even though I didn’t fall in love with this one, I’m always here to read novels by Muslim authors.
Have you read Love, Hate, & Other Filters? If you have, what were your thoughts? Love it, hate it, or were you somewhere in the middle like me? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
Until next time,