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.
As soon as I heard about this book, I knew it was one I wanted to read. With a Muslim teenage girl who faces Islamophobia as the main character, I thought it was really relevant to todays society.
I thought Ahmed’s writing style was really good, she kept me hooked, and I thought the little snippets from the mystery person at the end of each chapter were really intriguing. The Islamophobia was also well written. It made me so angry to read, I genuinely couldn’t comprehend how some of the characters could think that way about someone they’d known their whole lives. The fact that it made me, the reader, feel this way shows just how well represented it is.
Maya was such a sweet character. Most of the time! I really felt for her with her struggle between doing what she wanted with her life, and doing what her parents had plannedfor her. Her determination was admirable. I think any person who has to deal with bigoted, racist, ignorant a**holes in their everyday life is a very strong person, and to see Muslims and their struggles being represented in YA books is wonderful.
The only downside to this book, for me, was the romance. It was about 50/50 romance and then Maya’s problems with her parents. The balance was good, but I didn’t like how she didn’t have any problems with having secret meetings with a guy who has a girlfriend. It was just a bit of a no-go area for me. Other than that, I really enjoyed the romance.
Overall, I liked this book a lot. It’s the second book I’ve read that has a teenage Muslim as the protagonist, and I can’t wait to read more. (If you know of any, feel free to comment!) I think that the issues this book covers are so important, as is the representation. I give this book 4 stars.
I’d like to thank Readers First for sending me a copy of Love, Hate & Other Filters in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.