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Love, Hate & Other Filters

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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.

281 pages, Hardcover

First published January 16, 2018

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About the author

Samira Ahmed

39 books1,350 followers
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.

Her writing is represented by Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary, Inc.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,576 reviews
Profile Image for Fuzaila.
251 reviews360 followers
April 23, 2021
UPDATE 18/2/18 - I see many of you chanced upon this book looking for a good Muslim rep. I did too. But this book was far from it. I have added some recommendations at the end of the review for those who are looking for good Muslim reps. BELIEVE ME, this is not the book you're looking for.


Hear that faint shriek in the distance? Yeah, that’s probably me screaming over this book.


When I saw this book on my feed –
- The MC is an Indian Teen.
Indian. Teen. In. America. I NEED I NEED I NEED IT

- Muslim Rep.
OMG. (Yeah, there’s seriously too less of them. WE NEED DIVERSE YA)

See, I am an Indian Muslim Teen. I might not have seen America, but still, I knew I had to get this book and read it asap. Plus the reviews were all 5-starred! BONUS!

Only, when you’re expecting to see yourself represented in a book, the book has a way of unduly disappointing you. I am so so frustrated by the rep in this book.

If you don’t know the plot yet, Maya Aziz is a 17 year old living in Illinois with her immigrant, conservative parents. She loves making movies and intends to make a career out of it. She has a crush on a long-time classmate Phil. Her parents try to set her up with Kareem, a boy they deem suitable. Maya’s dreams of going to NYU for studies are crushed by the aftermath of a terrorist attack she has no role in.

Seems stuffy, doesn’t it?
Well, be disappointed because –

¤• THE ONLY FOCUS HERE IS ROMANCE. You’d think that with a Muslim MC, romance might be the last thing to expect. But no, Maya has a crush on Phil, a Christian boy. They go on dates, swimming lessons IN A BIKINI, kiss, hold hands and spend a night together. This is a forbidden relationship in Islam, and the only thing Maya is worried about is her parents grounding her?! She couldn’t even acknowledge the fact that what she is doing is wrong in her morals?

- And btw, in the end, she’s romancing another guy, a Hindu nonetheless. After all the fussing and falling over Phil, she moves on to another guy. Way to go, binch!
- The supposedly cute romance was way too fluffy. Like made-to-feel-this-way fluff. Like, they-are-too-cute-together-omigod fluff.
- I couldn’t think of anything those two had in common. Except, maybe a crush on each other.
- I know, I shouldn’t be disappointed to see a Muslim girl romancing a Christian boy. Everyone has a right to date whoever they want.
- But she never acknowledges her religion, doesn’t give it a second thought. It’s like she was saving face, trying to play cool by not saying out loud that NO, MUSLIMS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DATE. BUT I WANT TO SO I DO. Someone’s ashamed of her beliefs.

¤• MAYA IS A TERRIBLE EXCUSE FOR A MUSLIM MC. Does she pray ever? NO. Does she even say ‘I’m a Muslim’? NO. Does she ever say or do anything on her own that remotely signifies a Muslim? NO.
I have no idea, why this book was branded as Muslim rep. Maya Aziz, is a Muslim only by her last name. I wonder if that’s the reason why everybody thinks this book is diverse. Maya’s religion is used as a plot device, to be the butt of terrorist jokes and nothing else.

- So there’s one time, when Kareem drinks wine in front of Maya and she seems shocked.
- What do they do, then? Laugh over it as if it’s a joke. Say “it’s not like I’m eating pork”!!
- Who ever said, drinking wine is allowed and pork is not?? BOTH ARE FORBIDDEN FOR MUSLIMS AND ONE IS NOT WORSE THAN THE OTHER. And if you don’t act over it, you at least state the fact Maya, not joke over it because it doesn’t matter to you.
- Yeah, not all Muslim girls are hijabis, pray 5 times a day and not drink wine. But doesn’t being a Muslim rep come with its responsibilities? Like say, explain her Islamic ways?
- If Maya never had a Muslim last name, or if it was not specifically mentioned in the blurb, I wouldn’t have thought Maya was Muslim, or pick up the book in the first place.

¤• THE ACT OF TERRORISM SEEMED JUSTIFIED. See, at the end of each chapter, there’s a small narrative in third person, about the terrorist guy Ethan. It is basically about how his Dad was abusive, how he was deeply affected by an unhappy childhood, just how shitty his life is. I could not see a reason why that had to be included? It was totally unnecessary. At first I was lost on these narratives. Then I realized that Samira Ahmed is trying to give us the terrorists’ view of why he did what he did. It was like she was covering up for his acts.

- I mean, I get he was mentally unstable and all that, but his morbid past is no excuse for his morbid sins.
- It was as if the author wanted to say ‘This poor guy had an abusive childhood, Let’s all sympathize him’
- What frustrates me though, is that, if a muslim guy attacks, then it would have been like ”That guy has a beard, he’s muslim. He must be a terrorist!” How convenient is having a beard and a muslim name, to say he is a terrorist.??
- It’s like she was saying this guy who is a terrorist and not muslim, has his own reasons. wth?
- BUT I’M GLAD SAMIRA AHMED TRIED TO SHOW THAT TERRORISM HAS NO RELIGION. I’m just not convinced it was what she actually meant.
- Also, the subplot started at like 50% into the story, and was over in a few pages. After that back to the romance.
- Why did she even bother? Seems to me it was just to spice up the story.

Basically, all you’ll get to know about India from this book is that Indian parents are oppressive and we eat samosas all the time.
Which is utterly FALSE. Indians are diverse, we eat a variety of food, and not all Indian parents try to contain their kids. And why I was disappointed with the rep was because Maya seemed to hate her culture, her background, her house that smelled of onions. I can see why someone who was born and bought up in America might not be fond of Indian culture which is far off to her. But that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace your difference. That doesn’t make you any more American than it makes you any less Indian.
- It was very relatable though.
- Parents bugging you to settle down.
- Those tasty yummy home food.
- The colorful Indian wedding.
- Sorry, but it all gets drowned in the fluff of the romance.

I was so glad to see this bought up in this book. Someone finally acknowledges how hard it is to live with conservative parents, who dreams your share of dreams too.
Maya wants to go to Film School in New York City, and her parents allow only after a lot of prodding. But after the terrorist attack, they prohibit her from going, and DISOWN her for deciding to go on her own. Yeah, that stuff still happens, yeah that sucks. But usually they do come around in the end.

- I hope it wasn’t written to feel like it was just Indian parents.
- Because seriously, that happens all around the world.

¤• MAYA IS JUST SO RUDE . She has no love for her parents; she was just rude to them. Yeah, I know, her parents weren’t all that supportive, but they loved her.
My parents are conservative and oppressive, but still I don’t raise my voice at them. Not just because of respect, because they’re my PARENTS.

- And Maya doesn’t give a heck about anything. As soon as she is out of her parents’ sight, she goes on a kissing spree.
- She says she wants to be independent.
- But why does being independent have to mean dating and kissing as many boys as I can?
- Like, why can’t it just be – I am on my own, I am free to do what I please, and I don’t care what anyone thinks?
- NO. For Maya, independence means she can go to prom and makeout.
- That’s the same girl who couldn’t even find her voice when Brian cornered her in a food court.
- She was such a scaredy-cat then. Where was all that bravado with her parents?
- I mean, it was a food court for god’s sake. Couldn’t she like, scream?
- Another thing, she talks about so many movies and some books I don’t have any idea about, and well, spoils them all. No I don’t like spoilers even if I probably am not going to watch those movies or read those books. Thanks.

On a forward note, please don’t pick this book expecting a realistic, accurate Muslim Rep. Go for the fluff, the romance. I know this is an #OwnVoices book, and Samira Ahmed shares her story, but when you put a label on yourself, at least try to do it some justice. That’s all I’ve got to say.

For those who are looking for alternatives, here are some suggestions- In no particular order
▪~Love From A to Z - This is THE BEST Muslim representation I've ever read. Absolute favorite. Way better than Ali's debut, and does a fantastic job of telling a halal love story while also tackling important topics without being preachy about Islam. READ IT.
▪~She Wore Red Trainers - My favorite for some personal reasons. It is a cute contemporary romance, might feel clichèd for some people but I loved it nonetheless.
▪~Ten Things I Hate About Me - Another favorite - Randah's books never disappoint. I love her characters and the genuine representation, even though most of them aren't exactly practicing Muslims.
▪~Love in a Headscarf - Delves somewhat onto the philosophical side, but does a good job of doing what it was meant to.
▪~Does My Head Look Big in This? - A lovely representation of Muslim teen in YA. Light contemporary, but does ponder over grave issues.
▪~Saints and Misfits - This book is actually a lot like LH&OF, but S.K. Ali did a much better job on the representation and religious front.
▪~Boy vs. Girl - Centered around two twin teens striving to make the most of the holy month of Ramadhan. Gives you a lot better perspective than this book.
▪~Rekiya and Z - An underrated debut by a Nigerian Muslim author. A very fresh representation. It does have some triggers though. You can check out my review here.

If you want to read a brief fictitious account of Islamic history, I'd say Mother of the Believers is the right book.
Profile Image for jv poore.
611 reviews203 followers
August 18, 2022
First and foremost, this book is exquisitely authored. Beautiful, not in a flowery, colorful sort of way; but rather in a raw, natural, simple-yet-stunning kind of way. And so, a snap-shot of Maya’s senior year: dating, spring break, planning for college…as an Indian Muslim American…would be wholly satisfying, entirely engaging and enlightening. But it would only scratch the surface. With a wide lens, Ms. Ahmed provides perspective; contrived categories soften into truer compilations.

To most of Maya’s peers, her parents are almost unreasonably strict. Maya may secretly agree, but at least they “aren’t exactly the fire-and-brimstone types”. Aware of her family’s (limited) leniencies, Maya is surprised when Kareem, a desi Muslim, has a glass of wine. But, as he points out, “…it’s not like I eat pork.” More importantly, he is not a white American boy. Like Philip.

And so, the scene is set.

But, a somber tone seeps through. Snippets of seething anger and frustration simmer to a frenzied, desperate desire for revenge. Building tension becomes tangible. An explosion is imminent.

The inundation of information immediately following a blow-up is, unfortunately, often inaccurate and incomplete. Even more egregious, these initial errors are what people tend to remember. By the time facts have been collected and the whole, true story can be told; no one is there to listen. Life goes on, public perception remains unchanged.

Except for the person presumed guilty. And his family. Or everyone with his last name.

Love, Hate and Other Filters is the rest of the story and it is relatable and relevant.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews18.3k followers
May 29, 2018
When I initially heard about this book and the attention it was getting, I was excited. I mean, finally, we have books where a Muslim is our main character.

I really did enjoy this book. I loved that Maya was adamant on pursuing her passion. I understood the suffocation she felt when it came to her parents, though they never mean her harm. As a 17 year old, you will not understand the irrational fear immigrant parents constantly feel. At that age, your concern aren’t your parents, it is yourself.

Now, I have to address the relationship since it played a major role. (Honestly, I rather have read more about Maya and her film documentaries.)

The reality is that as a Muslim, dating/marrying a non-Muslim is just not happening. (We all know how our parents have raised us. Boys are just a no-no! 😅) Especially when you consider how much of our lives is influenced by our faith, though that didn’t necessarily play a role in Maya’s life.
Another reality is that even though our faith teaches this, Muslims still do it.

And there’s a lesson in this; in that being a Muslim and what Islam teaches are two different things. What people choose to do and what our faith commands, can be on two opposite sides of the spectrum, and regardless of whether this is right or wrong, it so happens to be a reality of our world.

More books with Muslim characters should be released and I’m glad this is happening as our stories are vast and diverse in itself. Islamaphobia is real and rampant and as a Muslim, especially as a woman who wears a hijab, you automatically have a constant target on your back.

So I appreciate books with Muslim main characters that shed light on different cultures and upbringing and showcase that our faith does play a significant role in our lives, irrespective of whether it is practised or not.

Humans are humans at the end of the day.

Overall, the story was quite weak to me, though enjoyable. There could’ve been so much more exploration with Maya and her dreams as well as her relationship with her family and friends that were touched upon but not expanded. For that reason, the story felt flimsy and not satisfying.


In need of a light read, because my brain feels fried.

And I’m excited about the Muslim rep! Let’s see how Muzlamic this book is going to get! 😆
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
January 21, 2018
"I guess I don't know how to live the life I want and still be a good daughter."

Maya Aziz is a 17-year-old high school senior, the American-born daughter of Muslim Indians. Her mother expects her to be the perfectly obedient daughter, intelligent and demure, ready to head to college not far from her Illinois home and study medicine. Of course, that will do until her parents find the man she'll marry.

Maya, however, has utterly different plans for her future. Ever since her father gave her a video camera when she was younger, she feels most comfortable observing life through a lens. She dreams of a filmmaking career, and secretly applied to NYU so she can study her craft. But how will her parents take the news that she's ready to move far away from home and live her own life?

On the romantic front, Maya can't help but be intrigued by Kareem, a handsome college student and fellow film buff with whom her parents hope she'll make a match. He's everything her parents want for her, yet beyond being a suitable boy, he has a bit of an independent streak as well, and he clearly is attracted to Maya. So why is it that all she can really think about is Phil, a friend since childhood and the star quarterback of her high school football team, and one-half of the school's most popular couple?

As Maya tries to navigate her life the best way she can, she learns that there is far more to Phil than meets the eye, but she can't let herself think about him romantically when he's dating someone else. Besides, his not being a Muslim would pretty much rule him out in her parents' eyes—if she ever had a chance with him anyway.

When a terrorist attack happens in the state capitol, all of Maya's dreams are dashed. She once again realizes the prejudice she and her family and other Muslims face when something tragic happens. As violence and threats hit even closer to home, Maya wants to push past her fears and let her parents know that life—and her future—can't stop moving forward, but they are determined to protect her by clipping her wings. To what extent should she pursue her own path, and what will that mean for her relationship with her parents? And what about Phil?

"I'm scared. I'm not just scared that somehow I'll be next; it's a quieter fear and more insidious. I'm scared of the next Muslim ban. I'm scared of my dad getting pulled into Secondary Security Screening at the airport for 'random' questioning. I'm scared some of the hijabi girls I know will get their scarves pulled off while they're walking down the sidewalk—or worse. I'm scared of being the object of fear and loathing and suspicion again. Always."

Love, Hate and Other Filters is, in a lot of ways, two books in one. It's the story of an independent, creative girl determined to live life her own way, despite expectations and customs to the contrary, and it's a look at how all of her brashness is powerless in the face of love she doesn't feel entitled to. In that way, it feels like a typical YA book, and Samira Ahmed really lets you into Maya's heart and mind.

At the same time, this is a book about the prejudice Muslims face in our country, especially since 9/11. It tells of the fears Muslims have when they hear of an incident, how they hope against hope the perpetrator wasn't a Muslim so it won't cause people to look differently or angrily at them, even though they have nothing to do with what happened. It's also a story about how hard it is to decide whether to give in to your fears, to let them control you, or to fight them head on.

I really enjoyed this book, although at times it felt a little disjointed between the two storylines. But Ahmed created really engaging characters, many of whom transcended stereotypes, and she did throw a very unexpected twist in as well. I loved Maya and found Phil, Violet, Kareem, and Hina to be pretty fascinating. I wouldn't have minded if the book was longer, because I wanted more of their stories.

Love, Hate and Other Filters definitely gives you something to think about, but it's not heavy-handed in its messaging. It's a worthwhile, enjoyable read, although it may skew a little younger than many recent YA books I've read.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews48.1k followers
June 22, 2021
Greetings, parallel dimension. Hello, population of an almost identical but ever so slightly eerie and incorrect existence. To the uncanny valley: salutations.

This book is so persistently and unrelentingly off, so inexplicable in its emotional choices or lack thereof, that I have no choice but to believe I have been struck by lightning / tripped by a cosmic entity / caught up in some light rom-com style time travel and no longer exist in the dimension I formerly knew and tolerated.

This is so goddamn weird.

Let’s get into it.

Lame romantic plotlines.

Why is this a love triangle, first of all? Why bother going to the trouble of making our dear protagonist have a crush on the guy that her parents chose for her, only to say oh wait actually never mind? Why make that guy like her back for 0.2 seconds, only to get over the heartbreak and have a brand spankin’ new GF faster than you can say “wait what’s happening does anyone actually feel anything I’m so confused help.”

But more importantly, why make her ditch that objectively more interesting guy for a BORING SNOOZEFEST QUARTERBACK? Especially one who had interacted with her about as frequently and with as much enthusiasm before the start of this book as I interact with my neighbors? (Very little and only when absolutely forced.)

But not to worry: He inexplicably has a huge crush on her almost as soon as this starts, even though he has very recently broken up with his girlfriend of a million years and any non-robotic entity would probably need to take, oh, I don’t know, 1-2 business hours to get over that before purchasing a one-way ticket to poundtown with the next crush via highly flirtatious swim lessons.

But again: this is the emotionless dimension.

Anyway. Why do we have to care about this bozo? Everyone has a crush on the popular boy in high school and then he never talks to them but if he did it’d be revealed what a dumb crush choice he was. Do better.

Coverage of...domestic terrorism?

For most of this book (if not all of it - I honestly don’t remember), the perspective between our normal, fun-loving, boy-enjoying high school girl alternates with the perspective of...an Unknown Terrorist.

At first, you are meant to believe that this is the kind of terrorist that all American news media assumes terrorists are - i.e., from the Middle East, radicalized, Muslim, and so on - rather than the kind of terrorist it usually is - a white dude with a gun who hates Black people / brown people / gay people / women / etc.

It turns out to be the second kind, but either way, including the point of view of this flat and stereotypical terrorist character is so pointless.

Islamophobia coverage is so important but this felt relegated to the side.

Boys, college decisions, and being the victim of a hate crime, in order of importance.

Enough said, baby! There’s more weight placed on a crush and on college decisions than there is on racism and Islamophobia and it just feels strange!!! Very much “it’s okay that I was physically assaulted and the victim of multiple hate crimes but what about NYU???”

This is not to say that Muslim teens can’t also have normal teen problems, but to not flesh out the full emotions of something so horrible seems to defeat the purpose of even including it.

Please take me back to my home dimension, where things make sense and people feel things.

The lack of emotional depth in the relationships (see Thing 1 - not to be confused with the creepy Dr. Seuss gremlin) is mirrored in our view of our protagonist (who constantly says she doesn’t understand what’s happening, what she’s doing, or what she’s feeling).

It makes everything feel cheap and silly, and I will be blaming this lack of connection for the fact that I cannot remember anyone’s name. And not my own dumbness.

Thank you and goodnight.

This book was well-intentioned, and it’s important that we have stories like it, so I’m two starring it and not one starring it even though it filled me with rage and confusion (my two least favorite emotions).

But including such important topics and relegating them to emotional footnotes is...damaging. You feel me?

Bottom line: Thank you, universe, for returning me to my home dimension with normal emotional impacts, presumably in exchange for this review.


i take that back. i found this neither lighthearted nor heartbreaking.

review to come / 2ish stars

tbr review

obsessed with picking up books i think are lighthearted only to find that they are completely heartbreaking


taking lily's idea and reading only books by asian authors this month!

book 1: the incendiaries
book 2: last night at the telegraph club
book 3: dear girls
book 4: sigh, gone
book 5: frankly in love
book 6: emergency contact
book 7: your house will pay
book 8: convenience store woman
book 9: on earth we're briefly gorgeous
book 10: we are not free
book 11: searching for sylvie lee
book 12: the displaced
book 13: schoolgirl
book 14: sweet bean paste
book 15: little fires everywhere
book 16: trust exercise
book 17: front desk
book 18: the bride test
book 19: interior chinatown
book 20: it's not like it's a secret
book 21: almost american girl
book 22: never let me go
book 23: prairie lotus
book 24: earthlings
book 25: a pho love story
book 26: love, hate & other filters
March 10, 2020

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LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS seems to be being billed as the Muslim version of Angie Thomas's THE HATE U GIVE. Superficially, they have similar plots: both feature young women of color who, while firmly entrenched within their respective culture, struggle with balancing the "American" part of their heritage when faced with so many contradictions. Also in both books, the girls must reconcile their identities with a racially-geared tragedy, and deal with the ensuing onslaught of hate and bigotry that ensues.

The problem with this comparison is that THE HATE U GIVE is a much better book. It's raw, angry, passionate, and politically charged - daring in a way that LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS is not. That isn't to say that LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS is a bad book - it isn't - but it isn't as moving or as powerful as THE HATE U GIVE. To say it bluntly: I can easily see THE HATE U GIVE being taught in schools as a modern classic, like Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK, or Sandra Cisnero's THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET. I can't say the same for LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS.

Setting such unfair comparisons aside, though, this is a very good book - and it's an #OwnVoices book to boot. The story is about seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz, a Muslim Indian born to immigrant parents who resides in Batavia, Illinois. She has dreams of dating and kissing boys, and wants to pursue her interest in photography and movies by studying film in New York. Her parents are very strict, however, and want her to stay closer to home, in a more traditional profession, like being a lawyer.

Maya has friends, and has crushes on two very different boys over the course of the novel. She loves her parents, but also chafes at their more traditional outlook. It seems like it's going to be a typical coming-of-age story, as viewed through and Indian and a Muslim lens, but then tragedy strikes, and Maya and her family find themselves thrown into the spotlight when a building in Chicago is bombed by a terrorist, and one of the 'suspects' has the same last name as Maya and her family.

There are many wonderful aspects to this book. I really enjoyed how central Maya's culture is to the book, and how much of a focus her burgeoning identity as not just a young woman but also an artist and a Musliam American-Indian plays in the story. There are the expected references to Bollywood and daal, but the book also covers tradition, dating, arranged marriage, education, family, love, and disappointment. The book also deals with bigotry and Islamophobia, and interwoven with Maya's narrative is that of the bomber himself.

I honestly thought this latter portion was the most interesting, because of what wasn't said. It's very subtle, but if you watch the news, you'll pick up on it quickly. All too often, crimes committed by people of color, particularly those of Middle Eastern decent, are labeled as acts of terrorism - and yet, when the perpetrator is white, some news outlets are far more likely to drop the "terrorist" label and instead lament about what must have happened to turn the person down the path of destruction, replete with sad interviews and childhood portraits. It was painful to read these parts, because they are a sad reflection of what happens in every day life, and this was the part that, to me, felt most similar to THE HATE U GIVE because it forces the reader to confront uncomfortable truths.

I really enjoyed LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS. It's so wonderful to see more #OwnVoices YA coming out - and so many of them are very good. This one is very good and I look forward to seeing what my friends make of it when it comes out next month.

Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!

3.5 to 4 stars
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,558 followers
January 28, 2018
Gosh, I don’t know where to begin. I already know this book will be on my top books of 2018. I feel like this is one of those books that has changed how I see the world a little bit. That taught me things.

I fell in love with Maya’s character immediately. I wanted to be her best friend. I wanted to stand by her side through everything she went through. The writing was perfect and in every sentence I could feel that this was the story of Samira Ahmed’s heart. I’m so grateful that she shared this story with the world. I will buy any work this author publishes in the future - she’s fantastic!

This is such an important book, and I hope it gets the love it deserves. Similar in importance to The Hate U Give, I hope this book stays on the NYT list for as long as it can, and that people continue to pick it up. I can’t recommend it enough.
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,243 followers
February 1, 2018
I so wanted to love Love, Hate & Other Filters and I do see the importance in the story. I only wish it wasn't filled with all the extra fluff and insta-love that only distracts from the actual topics at hand. And I was excited to see an Indian-American Muslim teen as the star of the story, but was confused when if I wasn't told she was Muslim, I wouldn't have had a clue besides her parents. There's nothing that seemingly ties Maya to her religious beliefs. Maybe if that had been explored more, I wouldn't feel this way. It just feels like it was a plot device to connect the story to the terrorist attack and have displays of islamophobia - which I did appreciate. This is a real, very scary thing. I wish that had been more central to the story, though.

Instead, this feels more like a coming-of-age, rom-com type of novel with a serious topic thrown in and, at times, brushed over. Yes, there is a terrorist attack. In fact, the chapters alternate with an anonymous voice who appears to be on a bad path. We know what it is leading up to, but that doesn't make these pages feel any less haunting. The majority of the story is with Maya, an Indian-American Muslim teen. Her parents have expectations involving going to school close to home, becoming a lawyer or doctor and marrying a suitable Muslim boy. Maya has different things in mind. She wants to go to films school in New York and maybe date the football player she's been crushing on since elementary school or someone else.

A love triangle of sorts ensues for the first half of the book. There's the aforementioned football player and there's also the type of boy her parents would be pleased to see her end up with. This really all felt too fluffy for me and just wasn't my kind of book. I'm not into too much romance. Not the book's fault, but I was here for other things.

After the terrorist attack occurs, the islamophobia comes to a head. Hate crimes occur and the effects these have on Maya's family are displayed. It is an excellent portrayal of how something can occur and cause ripple effects into the lives of people not even remotely involved.

Certain aspects of the representation of Indian Muslim felt stereotypical and rubbed me the wrong way. I am not Indian or Muslim, so I don't feel comfortable speaking on these things. I did really appreciate Fuzaila's review.

Overall, the book is diverse and an important read. I would've enjoyed it more if there hadn't been as much romance involved in the plot.
Profile Image for Heather.
387 reviews16.8k followers
January 15, 2018

We follow Maya who is an aspiring filmmaker who dreams of attending NYU fall short because her parents are afraid of her being away from home.

Maya is a Indian American Muslim teen and loves her country. Then one day an attack happens in another state and the person responsible shares the last name as Maya, only it wasn't her family.

This book touches on so many important subjects. On what it's like to be a Indian American Muslim teen living in a country that is full of people that hate her and her religion. It touches on family life and the importance of family & so many more things.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. Maya was a strong character and had strong beliefs and stood up for what was right. I loved reading about her dreams to become a filmmaker. There is also a super sweet romance in this book as well.
Maya often feels like she doesn't belong in this book and it was amazing watching her progress throughout the book until the end when she felt like she finally was somewhere she was meant to be.
Profile Image for Abbie (boneseasonofglass).
291 reviews350 followers
February 17, 2018
This book was brilliant. It gave me so many feelings, it made m happy, hopeful, sad, angry.
There was so much cuteness, but it was also so heartbreaking at the same time, and it makes me really sad because things that happen in this book, some people actually go through everyday. And it enrages me how people can be so cruel

This book is just really important, and I'm so glad I read it.

P.s I love Maya, she was so strong, and wonderful and inspiring
Profile Image for Tan Markovic.
337 reviews137 followers
August 29, 2018
Reviews can be found at: www.booknerdtan.wordpress.com

This story broke and warmed my heart in equal parts.

Maya Aziz is an Indian-American Muslim whose ultimate dream is to go to study at NYU and eventually become a filmmaker. Her parents’ ultimate dream for her is very different, however. The story shows Maya’s struggle between wanting to follow her dreams and not letting down her parents and the type of prejudiced behaviour that is directed at her because of her religion

This novel dealt with some serious topics and also managed to be hella soppy as well. I actually enjoyed the romance Maya had even though it was OTT at times and I really liked Phil’s character; he always remembered things about her culture which I thought was sweet. It was so sad to see that Maya had had to deal with racism from such a young age and the abuse she receives after the attack broke my heart and her future progression is almost destroyed because of someone else’s bigoted actions. You can sense her isolation throughout the novel as she struggles with where she fits in and how her views and her parent’s views can be in harmony. I like the fact that this novel mirrors the way in which the media/news decides to describe white terrorists compared to Islamic terrorists. The white terrorists always seem to come with a sob story and a typical ‘loner’ ‘was always so quiet’ description.

Highly recommend this read to all!

I received an ARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank them, the publisher Hot Key Books and the author Samira Ahmed for this opportunity.
Profile Image for Nina.
306 reviews408 followers
November 5, 2017
Love, Hate & Other Filters reads like a more serious When Dimple Met Rishi. It is because of its comparison with the latter that I've decided to bump up the rating from 3.5 to 4 stars. The two books, both written by authors of Indian origin (one Hindu, one Muslim), cannot but be compared due to the way they are written and the themes they touch upon. However, if you didn't like Dimple or simply crave more serious topics in contemporary, then you'll probably like Love, Hate & Other Filters more.

I'm scared. I'm not just scared that somehow I'll be next; it's a quieter fear and more insidious. I'm scared of the next Muslim ban. I'm scared of dad getting pulled into Secondary Security Screening at the airport for "random" questioning. I'm scared for the hijabi girls I know getting their scarves pulled off while they're walking down the sidewalk––or worse. I'm scared of being the object of fear and loathing and suspicion again. Always

As with most YA contemporaries, Love, Hate & Other Filters didn't dig as deep as I would have liked and entailed a strong focus on romance. Nonetheless, Sara Ahmed has achieved a compelling depiction of an Indian Muslim girl's battle with parental expectations, prejudice in a country she was born and calls home, and the joy and pain of a first crush.

I am not a Muslim and thus cannot judge this book from a point of authenticity. I review diverse books to my best knowledge and as a human being who cares. However, I suggest you also check for reviews by minority readers.

Before discovering this debut on NetGalley, I had never even heard of this title. I cannot fathom why this title hasn't been talked about, considering how much Ahmed had her finger on the pulse of time with her debut. Though I had few expectations, I did hope that the author would make a strong statement. The author's foreword had already moved me before I had even met her characters. Let me be frank: I am tired of people generalizing the behaviour of individuals. I am tired of narrow-minded people projecting the actions of a handful onto billions. In my native tongue, we call this mindset "putting people in the same drawer", which means we categorise humans like objects – based on what they have in common. When radicalised individuals run vehicles into human crowds, people seem to instantly forget that killing innocents is a sin in Islamic doctrine, that a majority of Muslims lead peaceful lives, and that just as many condemn these actions as harshly as non-Muslims do. The mindset of categorising is poisonous. Last year, I was out with a Muslim friend of mine when a mosque was attacked nearby, and I realized that hate crimes weren't just "on the news", but right around the corner. We cannot tolerate this poison's spreading.

Which is why I'm glad Samira Ahmed decided to write Love, Hate & Other Filters.

Samira Ahmed uses a different term for prejudice, and that is "filter". She cleverly combines the main character's passion – film-making – with how vision works. Our vision, our judgement, can be clouded with strong emotions, be it love or hate or something else entirely. Maya Aziz lives a quiet life in the US, one of her biggest issues being badgered by her parents about law school, when she really wants to pursue film-making – and an unrequited crush. Until a terrorist attack renders her and her family a target of hatred. The title of Love, Hate & Other Filters mirrors this book's content to a fault: Foremost, we get a love story, but it is interwoven with a storyline of prejudice in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. To be frank, I had expected the terrorist attack to occur sooner in the book, because I had read half the book before the turning point came. This allowed for more elaborate introduction of the characters and a development of the romance, which is positive in the sense that the hate Maya encounters is not what defines her, it is not how we get to know her. However, it also let the romance steer this car. I would have liked Ahmed to dedicate more of the plot to the subject of Islamophobia, as she makes some excellent points, but I bet she had even more in stock. Not only does Ahmed highlight racist reactions to the attack, but also Maya's immediate response of fear, which is one of the most eye-opening things you might ever read. Ahmed's words exquisitely capture the thoughts Maya, as a Muslim, develops because a handful of terrorists claim to believe in the same god she does.

A terrorist attack. Another tragedy. Is there no end? Is this how life will always be? I want to know more, but there is one piece of information I absolutely hope I don't hear. I whisper a prayer to the universe. "Please, please let everyone be okay. Please don't let it be a Muslim."

My father picks up where my mother leaves off. "These terrorists are the antithesis of Islam. They're not Muslim. Violence has no place in religion, and the terrorists are responsible for their own crimes, not the religion and not us."
I interrupt my mother. "Too bad none of that matters. We all get painted like we're un-American and terrorist sympathizers, no matter how loudly we condemn terrorism and say it's un-Islamic. It's guilt by association."

The rest of the story reads like your average YA romantic contemporary. To my own fascination, the book managed to take a romance I would've normally hated and turn it into something I liked. I also have to admit that, in spite of my complaints, the premise is very open and non-deceptive about its focus on romance. It begins with a love triangle, but quickly dissolves into a clear choice, with Maya making a healthy and respectful decision – role-model love triangle here, folks. Ahmed chose an interracial romance to demonstrate mutual respect of culture, such as the love interest remembering not to bring pork to a picnic. But most importantly, I thought that Love, Hate & Other Filters was going to feature another sappy romance with a unicorns & rainbows ending, and I was surprised. Ahmed handled the romance maturely and realistically, and was, as such, very down-to-earth. She has, in a way, somewhat restored my faith in YA contemporary.

The "Indian parents" theme encountered in When Dimple Met Rishi is dominant in Ahmed's debut as well. As with everything, this daughter-parent relationship took on a more serious note than in the aforementioned book. Ahmed questions the line between a good daughter and an obedient one, between protective parents and overbearing ones. The clash of generations, values, and beliefs is strong in this book. I also liked the important role of Maya's aunt Hina, and how this side character is instrumentalized to call attention to the courage it must take for an Indian woman to defy traditions and stereotypes.

Overall, I'd consider Love, Hate & Other Filters an enjoyable, diverse read of utmost importance in the time of current political movements. The book was short and could've packed more of a punch, but the likable female lead, the down-to-earth take on young romance, and the compelling points made about Islamophobia were a pleasant surprise. I appreciate this book's existence, and it was a good start to addressing contemporary issues, such as prejudice, racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. I hope more will follow.

** I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own. Quotations may be subject to change in the final copy.**


This book hasn't stirred a lot of a fuss yet, and I'm not sure why? The book's topic – prejudice, hatred, Islamophobia – is of utmost relevance right now. We use Insta filters voluntarily, but there are other filters, subtle and barely noticeable ones, clouding our judgement every day. I sincerely hope Samira Ahmed can deliver a powerful blow to prejudice with her debut novel.

**I have received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Fadwa (Word Wonders).
547 reviews3,543 followers
July 4, 2018
Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders

CW: Islamophobia, racism, threats, white supremacy, hate crimes

The minute I heard about this book my excitement for it went through the roof and I moved Heaven and earth to get access to it. I even offered a limb or two on twitter and a friend of mine came through and I finally had it in my hands at the start of November. I literally dropped all my plans and dived into it. And let me tell you, I can’t believe this is a debut, it’s brilliant, well executed and so so full of emotions. I honestly adored every bit and every aspect of this story.

The writing is simple and really easy to follow while carrying a punch of feelings. I wasn’t bored of it for one second and I thought it did a really good job fitting both the light AND the heavy parts of the story. The chapters are the right length and there are paragraphs that serve as chapters breaks and those added so much more to the story, they gave me actual chills because of how much mystery they held, they were chunks of thoughts that I didn’t know what to do with, like a little puzzle that made more sense the more I read.

Love, Hate and Other Filters is multilayered and tackles not just one but a few of the issues a muslim teenagers can face. Let’s start with the Islamophobia, which is made so clear from the synopsis. A terrorist Attack happens and that turns Maya’s life upside down and inside out. At first, I thought it took too long for that part of the plot to happen but then as I read on I realized that that has a purpose. The attack serves as the middle point between the Before and the After and that really shows the whole impact perfectly. How Maya started being targeted, how she lost her freedom, how it even destroyed her relationship with her parents.

And that’s the thing most people don’t know, when things like this get pinned on muslims they don’t only destroy our relationships with people outside the community but inside of it too, that fear creates tension which makes people say and do things they normally wouldn’t and hurt people they’re close with. It’s just the reality of things and I appreciated that so much. I appreciated how true it was, how raw and sincere it was while being very sensitive to the issue.

I fell in love with Maya‘s voice from the first paragraph of the book and I am not even kidding nor exaggerating. She has such a strong voice, funny, snarky but still super awkward when the opportunity shows itself. It was refreshing to see a muslim teen like her, she was relatable to the teen I was, a little bit lost in her faith, struggling between what she wants and what her parents want from her, but most of all having a dream and stopping at the face of nothing to achieve it. I know she won’t be relatable to all Muslims, I know she might even offend some but I loved her, related to her and that meant everything to me.

Her character development was so authentic and realistic, every emotions she felt hit close to home, from every little joy and achievement to the despair and helplessness she felt when everything came tumbling down. Not only that, but also, the path the author chose to take with the romance with Phil, her family life, her school life, all of it felt wholesome and the ending was just really hopeful the way it was. I adored that about it.

I felt like that ending showed that the story wasn’t about terrorist attacks or even romance but truly about Maya’s life and choices and how she handles what is thrown her way. Some of the decisions she makes are right, some are wrong but they’re all hers.

Special mention to Kareem because I honestly loved that guy so much, he had this wisdom that emanated from him, never judgmental, never condescending, he was always there for Maya whenever she needed with just the right words and it was nice to see a muslim guy in that kind of character, instead of the stern guy who doesn’t care about girls I’m used to reading about.

All in all, I loved Love, Hate and Other Filters and how it challenges some ways of thinking and stereotypes in very subtle ways while still being a wholesome and very engaging story.
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
660 reviews3,880 followers
December 15, 2017
"You might have heard this before, but guys aren't always the best communicators"
"You're pretty good at it"
"Yes" Kareem says, then leans back with both hands behind his head. "I am rather great, aren't I?"

Yet again I'm here to praise an ownvoices contemporary novel 2017 is the year for it, so many authors are killing this. LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS was one of my most highly anticipated releases of this year and yet it still managed to impress me and go above and beyond my expectations

Love, Hate & Other Filters follows Maya Aziz, an Indian/American muslim teen who dreams of going to film school and has a big ass crush on a boy at her school. It's mostly a coming of age novel, with cute romcom elements, but it's also a serious exploration of being a brown muslim girl in modern America and how people react to that. What I loved this book is it found such a perfect balance between fun and serious.

For the Fun stuff. This book kind of reads like a romantic comedy. There's a love triangle (briefly, but it's killed off so don't worry if you hate them), there's funny banter and cute fluffy moments and lots of descriptions of incredible eyes and dimples and the usual .. but what was good was that this was all so CUTE, not cringey and awkward. I really liked that, the romance made me happy, not uncomfortable which was NICE.

And I think why the romance was so good was because the male characters were my favourite kind of male character. Aka, soft, sweet boys who care about feelings and are NICE. NICE BOYS. They are my favourite kind and I was so here for Phil, the love interest, and Kareem, a love interest/brother kinda figure to Maya.

One more light aspect of this book I LOVED was that Maya had a hobby she was passionate about and wanted to take further. For some reason hobbies in YA are rare and I loved that Maya was pursuing her film passions so heavily. One downside of this was that the heavy use of film references was hard for me because I didn't understand most of them.

I'm scared. I'm not just scared that somehow I'll be next; it's a quieter fear and more insidious. I'm scared of the next Muslim ban. I'm scared of dad getting pulled into Secondary Security Screening at the airport for "random" questioning. I'm scared for the hijabi girls I know getting their scarves pulled off while they're walking down the sidewalk––or worse. I'm scared of being the object of fear and loathing and suspicion again. Always

but on the more serious side, this book tackles a variety of important and relevant issues. Islamophobia, racism, and current events such as terrorism and "the muslim ban" in America were all addressed, in a way that was eloquent and important and relevant.

Maya, the main character, was an incredible character through whom most these discussions were facilitated. I think the author perfectly captured Maya as a character caught in a complex situation, and allowed her to express a variety of reactions and emotions to the issues which made her feel authentic and realistic rather then a "spokesperson caricature"

Love, Hate & Other Filters also explores the dynamic first generation Indian teens have with their parents and cultural challenges they face. I'm not a first generation teen or an immigrant so I can't comment on if this was well done, but I did find the exploration interesting to read and I definitely enjoyed reading that perspective. I recommend Kav's review on this aspect though, because she talks from a more informed standpoint about how she felt on the representation of Maya's parents.


Want to slot in I think you should read Maha and Fadwa's review of this book as they are ownvoices reviewers. This book is OwnVoices for the Indian/American & Muslim rep btw!

My father picks up where my mother leaves off. "These terrorists are the antithesis of Islam. They're not Muslim. Violence has no place in religion, and the terrorists are responsible for their own crimes, not the religion and not us."


Honestly, I highly recommend this book. I think a lot of people could really love it. It's doing what YA is great at right now - producing fun, relatable, cute content that also taps into the social political climate and makes a meaningful commentary. In this day and age I don't think you can afford to be tone deaf and this book perfectly finds a balance between serious and "non serious" issues. Ultimately, this book just looks at what it is like being someone like Maya in America - both the regular tv stuff we always see - crushes, school and friends, as well as the more serious, racist rhetoric that some teens have to endure everyday.

I really loved this, and I woud of given it five stars if it weren't for the ending that I just .. didn't love.

I haven't read When Dimple Met Rishi but I'm hearing from quite a few people if you think liked the representation in WDMR, but thought that Dimple was annoying and wanted something a little more serious, this is your perfect book!

Overall I really hope this one gets more hype and that everyone reads it on Jan 16 when it comes out. It was incredibly cute and fun, whilst also being relevant and informed. Also, it's so short and packed such a massive punch. Love love love

thankyou to Hot Key Books for providing me with my arc, this review is my honest opinion on the book!
Profile Image for Ellie.
575 reviews2,113 followers
January 14, 2018
↠ 4 stars

I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This was the first book I started in 2018 that I wasn’t carrying over from 2017, and it was a great read to ease me into the year. Love, Hate & Other Filters is being marketed as a YA Contemporary about Islamophobia, and I was incredibly interested to dive into it considering I do not read many books about real-life issues and I have always wanted to rectify this.

At it's core, LH&OF is a charming, YA contemporary not only about what it means to be a teenager, but what it means to be an Indian-Muslim teenager in America. I personally found this book incredibly illuminating, and I'm so glad I read it. I also didn't find it difficult to understand at all; the challenges the protagonist faces are displayed in a very interactive, engaging way so that the message clearly comes across.

Initially, LH&OF appears to be merely a YA contemporary romance, but then half-way through the narrative a terrorist attack occurs which dramatically changes Maya's life. At first I thought the event came a little late into the narrative, then I realised it very effectively portrayed how one's everyday life can be rocked by a sudden change that can come at any time and in any place. The narrative also flowed well and the book felt a suitable length despite it being on the shorter side.

Maya was an enjoyable heroine and her passion for film was really sweet and well-built. I thought the desi culture was lovingly illustrated and it was incredibly enjoyable to read about a culture which has different traditions and familial bonds from my own.

TL;DR: Undoubtedly recommend this book if you'd like to read a well-presented book on one of the central issues which affects society today. Incredibly easy to get into but not too heavy either, making it easy to read and digest without losing any of its meaning.

This review is also available on my blog (faerieontheshelf.wordpress.com)
500 reviews2,414 followers
March 17, 2018
Erm, well. I’m pretty confused about my feelings towards this one. On one hand, I loved the realistic representation of family and friendship (the heroine has a solid girl-friendship that reminds me so much of my own BFF). On the other hand, the romance was way over-done, and the real-world issue about Muslim hate took a bit of a backseat.

Actual rating: 2.5 stars // Full review soon! Wait for it on my YA book blog, Aimee, Always.
Profile Image for kav (xreadingsolacex).
177 reviews345 followers
November 18, 2017
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is no way changes my review.

Somehow, this novel managed to be the perfect balance of cutesy fluff while still tackling important issues.

LOVE, HATE, AND OTHER FILTERS is a coming-of-age YA novel about Maya Aziz, a Muslim Indian-American teen, who adores film-making and would do anything to pursue it.

Let’s start with the fact that Maya has not only a hobby, but something so dear to her heart that she would do absolutely anything to pursue it. Rarely are these kinds of dedications showcased in YA literature, which is totally unrealistic because whereas there are some teens who don’t have any particular “hobbies” for lack of a better word, there’s also a significant portion of teens who do have them and that’s necessary to showcase as well. Maya’s dedication to film was showcased so well throughout the novel and it was obvious the author knew about film/had done her research because it was done so realistically and perfectly.

This novel also had a brilliant romance in it. The romance was so well-developed, literally the definition of slow burn, and actually worked. It was cheesy and definitely fell into a few stereotypes, but the chemistry between the two characters was developed so well and they really clicked on multiple levels.

Speaking of chemistry, there were some other key relationships to acknowledge in this novel. The relationship between the Maya and her best friend was BRILLIANT. Maya’s best friend would actually die for her and vice versa and it was so refreshing to see two girls prioritize each other without any jealousy at all between them. The two supported each other without faltering and it was beautiful.

Now I need to talk about the fact that this novel tackled anti-Islam rhetoric so well. I can’t speak to anything personal as I not Muslim, but I have heard from multiple Muslim friends that they enjoyed the rep and I am aware that this novel is also ownvoices. If you would like to hear from actual Muslim reviewers, I would highly recommend checking out Fadwa (wordwoonders) and Maha (ayounicornreads) thoughts here on goodreads. What I can say is that from my perspective, I thought the anti-Islam rhetoric was handled perfectly, but I do want to warn you that it is prevalent in the novel as is violent in case that triggers any readers out there. I don’t want to go too into detail as to prevent spoilers, but all I can say is that it is tackled and challenged throughout the novel.

Finally, I want to comment on Indian rep as an Indian-American teen. Maya, like me, is also Indian-American and I have to say that there were a few aspects that rubbed me the wrong way. I felt that the relationship between Maya and her parents fell into some stereotypes of classic Indian parents who tend to be over-protective and over-bearing. Throughout the novel, Maya criticizes Indian culture a lot and I agree that there are things to criticize, I just wish that it was balanced with some more positives of Indian culture as those are also present. HOWEVER, I did not lessen my rating because I know that this is an ownvoices perspective and as I know that not every rep will resonate with every reader, just because I did not resonate with this, it doesn’t mean that this won’t resonate with other Indian-American teens and I trust that the author wrote true to her circumstances.

Essentially, to sum up, I would, without a doubt, recommend that everyone support this novel when it comes out in January,
Profile Image for Scott.
1,743 reviews123 followers
August 1, 2019
4.5 stars

"I don't feel brave at all. I feel scared. No camera. No filter. Just my life, totally unscripted." -- protagonist Maya Aziz, on page 251

Love, Hate & Other Filters is a charming, topical, and assured debut novel from author Samira Ahmed. It focuses on Maya Aziz, a Muslim-Indian seventeen-going-on-eighteen high school senior who yearns to attend NYU to become a filmmaker. An American-born only child, she resides in a small satellite town on the outskirts of Chicago with her parents, who had many years earlier moved to the U.S. as newlyweds and started a successful dental practice. The drama comes from two angles -

1.) Though not particularly / devoutly religious, Maya's parents still strictly adhere to traditional customs and want to arrange a marriage for her, and would also like her to study law or medicine at college. This is complicated for Maya, as she figuratively has her heart set foremost on two things - going far from home to attend the film school; and Phil, a white classmate (he's also captain of the football team) with whom she begins a tender but covert romance. Can Maya find the right balance?

2.) At the opening page of each chapter an (initially) unidentified character who appears unrelated to the main storyline is shadowed, and the objective is murky at first. Things soon become horrifyingly clear, however - a lone suicidal terrorist detonates a bomb at a government building in Illinois' state capital, and the suspect is initially identified as having the same surname as Maya's family. Although there is absolutely zero connection between the parties, the family's life becomes more complicated and Maya's life - just weeks before graduation (and adult-status freedom) - is thrown into a tailspin.

I really liked the Maya character, and it appears (per the bio on the rear cover flap) that author Ahmed has some superficial similarities with her. Using intimate first-person narration like a diary entry, Maya is a likable and relatable soul - she's relatively mature, has some good people in her corner (adorkable best friend Violet; her bachelorette aunt Hina) for the toughest moments, and experiences rollercoaster emotions / situations that many would like to forget from the teen years.

(*Another pleasing aspect is that Ahmed notably writes several minor characters, who are in positions of authority - police officers, EMTs, the town's mayor, and members of the high school faculty - as polite, caring, and diligent professionals who treat Maya and her family with respect.*)

It may be an overused sentiment to say I didn't want to book to end, but that's how I really felt about Love, Hate & Other Filters. (Isn't is funny how we can become attached to these fictional characters?) Maya is thrown some curveballs at the start of her young adult life but she acquits herself quite nicely under the circumstances, and I wanted to continue to tag along for the rest of it.
Profile Image for Romie.
1,073 reviews1,273 followers
April 8, 2018
‘Violence has no place in religion, and the terrorists are responsible for their own crimes, not the religion and not us.’

I read a few reviews before writing my own, just to see if I were the only one who enjoyed this book but didn't adore it.

I honestly thought it was good for a debut novel, not necessarily mind blowing, but definitely promising. Do I feel bad for not falling in love with this book? Yes. Incredibly bad. I just wanted to love it so much? And then it didn’t happen and it breaks my heart because I know how much this book means to some of my friends.

Maya is nearly 18, a senior at her high school, and want to go to New York to study at NYU to become an Oscarised filmmaker. But her parents would prefer her to study Law at a university in Chicago, somewhere not too far from where they live. Maya was born of two Indian immigrants, and although they came to America to live a better life, it doesn’t mean they left behind their values nor their culture. And for Maya, as an Indian-American, it can be hard sometimes to reconcile the two very different cultures.

I loved Maya as character, she was really fleshed out, I knew exactly who she was, her dreams, her hopes, her fears. That’s something you cannot take away from this book, how well written the characters were, each and every one of them. I loved that she’s so passionate about documenting her life, how she never leaves her camera behind, that’s something I could relate to so badly! Also, I loved that this book shows how teenagers can be passionate about something, how it’s not just something adults can experience, teenagers and young adults get to be passionate about something. Maya is passionate about becoming a filmmaker, it’s an important aspect of the book, and that’s one of the things that makes it so enjoyable to read!

Unfortunately I didn’t think the romance was amazing. I also liked Phil as a character, but their romance felt too insta love to me. We learn at the beginning of the book that Maya has a crush on him, but that he has a girlfriend, and then he doesn’t anymore and it all happens kinda all of a sudden? I saw where Maya was coming from, but just because I already knew she had a crush on him, but Phil? I don’t know. One moment he had a girlfriend and the next he was into Maya. He was sweet, I liked his interactions with Maya even though they were corny at times, but overall he’s a character I appreciated. But I still didn’t buy their romance. Friendship why not, but not the romance.

Because I don’t know want to finish on a bad note, I was keeping the thing I liked the most about this book: how it deals with islamophobia. The only thing I feel was kinda meh is how the book is sold as Maya having to deal with islamophobia after a terrorist attack happens and the presumed terrorist shares her last name, but this doesn’t happen until at least half the book. But yeah, I still liked a lot how islamophobia is denounced. Maya and her family are put through a lot for being Muslims, they get hate crimes, Maya is bullied and physically attacked. And I’m glad Maya didn’t just keep her mouth shut, this book shows how important it is to denounce islamophobic people, because if you don’t, who knows what they will do next? And why would these people deserve to walk away with murder? They don’t. Islamophobia should not be left unpunished.

So yes, overall I enjoyed this book, the way the characters were written, the interactions between them, but I feel like the romance took too much of the book. It’s a short story, only 255 pages long, and I think that if it had been a bit longer, the romance and the other part of the story could have been a bit more developed. The romance is my only real complain. I liked how fierce Maya was about studying at NYU, how brave she was.
Profile Image for Ava.
264 reviews315 followers
October 22, 2017
Wow. I don't have words to describe this book. Please preorder it so you can experience the magic for yourself. It's incredible.

Now that I've had a day to process this book, let's get into some of the things I loved about it.

- a protagonist with a passion

Sometimes, it feels like in YA we have characters that don't really *do* anything... besides talk about their love interest and go to school. Or if they DO have a "passion", it's mentioned once and then never again. LOVE, HATE, AND OTHER FILTERS is not one of those books. Our main character, Maya, has a passion for filmmaking, and it is incredibly apparent in what she does and how she sees the world.

- a Muslim Indian protagonist

While not existing as a guidebook to the culture of Muslim Indians, this book shows the importance of Maya's culture and how it affects her daily life. This is the kind of representation that is needed in YA. What it will do for Muslim and/or Indian teens to see themselves in a book like this can't be put into words. It's absolutely incredible.

- centered around relevant, important topics while also including "fluffy" elements of typical YA contemporaries

I am so impressed by how well this book balanced the above two things. For me, it was reminiscent of THE HATE U GIVE in how it dealt with such heavy topics and then "lighter" ones. It keeps an incredible mix of hard themes like terrorism and Islamophobia and easy ones like romance and college.

- complicated family dynamics

Maya loves her parents, but she also loves herself, and she struggles between her dreams and her parents' dreams for her. This was so realistic and something that many teens can relate to. This was not a case of the 'absentee parents' that has become a trope in YA - Maya's parents were fleshed out characters that had reasons behind their actions, and there were many layers present in the relationship between Maya and her parents.

- an incredible best friend relationship

Maya's relationship with her best friend, Violet, was not the focal point of the story, but it was still fully developed and important, and I loved seeing the bond they had and what they did for each other.

- haunting 3rd person snippets between chapters

Between each chapter, there is a snippet that doesn't fit into the regular first-person narrative and instead is a script from a TV show, or a snapshot from a different, unnamed (but crucial to the story) character's life, and these fit so well into the story that I was amazed. They add an extra level to the book, and are incorporated masterfully. Haunting is the only way I can think to describe them - after reading, you won't forget about these extra pages anytime soon.

- gorgeous writing

This is a more self-explanatory point, but one I wanted to mention anyway, because I adored the writing style of LOVE, HATE, AND OTHER FILTERS and thought it fit so well.

- discussions about college

College weighs heavy in Maya's mind, and is a large part of the story. I loved how it was, because for many high schoolers, thinking about college is a huge part of our lives. It isn't something we can just forget about, and it was the same for Maya.

- an amazing romance

I have to include this as my last point, and I don't want to speak too much about it so I don't give away any spoilers, but just know...there is a fantastic romance in this book.

LOVE, HATE, AND OTHER FILTERS is a book that can appeal to all readers. It is truly a masterpiece, and I can't recommend it enough. This is a must-read.
Profile Image for Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice).
1,151 reviews154 followers
July 15, 2018
I'm just... Samira, what did you just do to my feelings?! I needed a few days to digest all of my thoughts for this one together and come back with a (somewhat) helpful review for everyone to read. The novel follows seventeen year old Maya, a Muslim girl who aspires to go to a prestigious film school in New York City and follow her dreams of producing films in the film industry. Her parents however, are very overprotective of her and instead want her to study Law at a different university. During the last few months of high school, a shocking incident occurs that changes everything for Maya and her family. Love, friendships and freedom all are affected by what happens. What an emotional read, that was both heartwarming due to Maya and Phil's friendship and heartbreaking due to the Islamophobia around 2/3 of the way through. It was a short but powerfully contemporary novel that really packed a punch and left me wanting to explore more novels with Muslim representation. Personally, I wasn't too keen on the romance between Maya and another character Kareem. Although, I could relate to Maya's dreams of having crushes and falling in love since I've personally experienced the same thing. Maya's parents I found were characters that were very unlikeable. I would read this again!

T/W- Islamophobia, Verbal and Physical Assault
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,025 reviews1,045 followers
September 2, 2020
A thought provoking contemporary YA that is diverse, current, and relevant. It makes me think of the brilliance of young minds because Maya, an Indian-Muslim-American young woman is always in an inner turmoil over her desires versus the desires of her parents. Hers is not a simple act of teenage rebellion but an intellectual battle over the merits and demerits of both of her cultures.

But more than her hunger for self fulfillment is her realization of her fragile and dangerous place in a country where she is constantly judged, labeled and bullied just by the way she looks despite being born in said country. The story shows how Maya, an innocent young woman who only wants to live her personal dreams can't be safe from the byproducts of bigotry and Islamophobia.

But despite the heaviness of the themes, the story is still generally a light read. There's interesting romance and Maya's passion for film making always makes its way in her narration allowing the reader to see the events in her life through her lens as a future filmmaker so it's quite entertaining. The ending is also light, hopeful, and very encouraging.
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,025 reviews142 followers
April 9, 2021
A lovely teen read that delves into deep topics

This is the twelfth book in my #atozchallenge! I'm challenging myself to read a book from my shelves that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Let's clear those shelves and delve into that backlist!

Maya Aziz feels like she lives two lives. In one, she's the dutiful daughter to her Indian Muslim parents: attending college near home, marrying a suitable Muslim boy, and becoming a lawyer. In the other, she goes to school in New York City to become a filmmaker and falls in love with whomever she wants--maybe even Phil, the boy she's loved forever. And in Maya's real world, horrible things happen, often hate crime motivated, that can turn her world upside down.

This is such a beautiful book, and I completely fell in love with Maya and her voice. As the child of the only Indian Muslim family in her small suburban Chicago town, she's always felt different. She dreams of making films, not conforming the way her parents desire. But she also wants to please them. And she's scared, as she deals with all the terrible bigotry and Islamophobia that her family faces.

Ahmed writes so lyrically, weaving her story about Maya finding her way in the world, while still painting a stark and timely picture of racism. It's a bit of a love story, yes, but also one of discovering yourself and finding strength in yourself and the people around you. Maya and Phil's relationship is sweet, and it's so easy to root for her on all levels.

I found this to be a profound read. In many ways, it's simply about a teenager trying to stand up for herself, but it also speaks deeply about Islamophobia. It's often sad, but it's quite hopeful too. I found myself tearing up a bit while reading. Definitely worth a read. 4.5 stars.

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You can read more about the #atozchallenge here.

Profile Image for Maha.
258 reviews200 followers
October 15, 2017
[review first posted on younicorn reads]


this is one of the most important books i have ever read. i can’t even begin to describe how much i loved it. not only it was real, it was also fun and captivating. and it now holds an important place in my heart.

LOVE, HATE, AND OTHER FILTERS is about sixteen-years old Maya, whose only wish is to achieve her dreams and kiss a boy, but a terrorist attack comes in the way, and the suspect shares her last name. Maya is faced to islamophobia and bullying, which may be in the way of accomplishing her dreams.

as a muslim teenager, even though i do not live in an non-mulsim country, i could relate to the events, the insults, maya’s feelings, her parents… these are things that happen every single day. marginalized people are being harrassed, on the internet and in real life. and seeing these things FINALLY talked about, i feel hopeful. samira ahmed knew how to deliver a powerful story of love and hate and other filters of life (pun intended, the title is very wisely chosen).

throughout the book i felt like i was watching a movie, and that the person in charge of the camera was very very talented, just like maya, who has a really strong personality (and who ALMOST shares my name). she knows what she wants, and even though she’s not a 100% sure of what she’s doing, she never stops to dream. i love her. the other characters also had a powerful impact on me, especially violet, maya’s best friend.

to conclude, this book was…beautiful, empowering, enlightening, amazing, hopeful. i couldn’t ask for more in a novel, and i can’t wait for everyone to read it.
Profile Image for Books on Stereo.
1,268 reviews175 followers
January 17, 2018
Love, Hate & Other Filters is a fluffy romance that just happens to give a surface-level exploration of what it's like to face Islamaphobia in America. Little substance coupled with an over-wrought romance made this a bitter pill to swallow.

Profile Image for Saajid Hosein.
128 reviews694 followers
December 28, 2017
I recieved an arc via a twitter giveaway for anyone who was Muslim, Indian and lit. Well the last part wasn't specified, but should be understood. Review coming on my channel.
Profile Image for Sarvenaz Tash.
Author 11 books314 followers
April 23, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Janani.
315 reviews72 followers
March 3, 2018
Get your wallets out and pre-order (or put it on hold from your library) if you haven't already.

Full review to come.

UPDATE: Full review, first published on The Shrinkette.

Thanks so much to Edelweiss and Soho Teen for providing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger Warnings: Anti-Islamic verbal statements and incidents, domestic terrorism, bullying, physical assault, suicide bombing, kissing

Plot: Seventeen-year old Maya Aziz is your not-so-average teenager straddling the line between two worlds; one where she’s expected to be the good Indian daughter to conservative Indian parents, well-mannered, possessing decent culinary skills, and on her way to college to become a lawyer, and the other where she goes to film school in New York City, and maybe kiss this white boy she’s been crushing on for a while now. She’s busy living her life with her best friend Violet, sneaking off to spend time with the crush, and making documentaries, when an act of domestic terrorism results in absolute upheaval in Maya’s life.

I often hear readers complain about how contemporary fiction can sometimes be too predictable, falling into a few standard tropes with the players dressed in different costumes, lacking imagination and the ability to draw them in. Well, I’m happy to report that isn’t the case with this book. Sure, there’s teens, there’s angst, there’s conflict, a plethora of emotions, but Samira Ahmed has managed to deliver a gorgeous coming-of-age story that doesn’t necessarily cater to the formula. She’s done such a great job combining the fluff, the angst, and serious relevant issues, drawing the reader into what turns out to be a very compelling novel.

Maya as a protagonist and narrator is such a wonderfully developed character. She has super conservative Indian parents, and Her relationship with them resonates with (I think) a lot of diasporic Indian kids- parents who worked extremely hard and made sacrifices to ensure their kids have good lives, parents who want their kids to have steady and secure futures, who are afraid that their kids not growing up in their homeland means that all their morals and values will be lost, parents who want to keep their only child close by because they’re hesitant of the world they will have to send them into, and parents who rebelled for their own life choices and then turned around and promptly became the same naysayers the previous generations were, because they’re conditioned to react that way to new experiences. All of the best interests at heart but unable to recognize that their children are growing up in an environment so different from their own and navigating their own challenges. These traits can seem like stereotypes of Asian parents, but to me they were written and portrayed from such an honest perspective, and several times I felt such empathy for Maya. My parents don’t share all of those qualities, but they most certainly fall into several of these archetypes. It’s always simultaneously comforting and frustrating to see this represented so accurately, especially in YA fiction- teen me would definitely have benefited from reading books like this one. This again, is not necessarily representative of all Indian parents (we’re not a monolith), so I��m sure these characters arcs will resonate with some and not with others.

Besides her complicated relationship with her family, Maya is an ambitious girl with big passions, which is so great to see. Film-making is clearly not just a hobby, but her passion, and her tenacity is evident by the lengths she’s willing to go to in order to make it happen for her. I’m a big fan of ambitious teens of color who are unapologetic about their passion. They’re unabashedly nerdy about this thing that they love and determined to figure ways to make it happen for them, it’s very affirming.

An integral portion of this book is how it tackled anti-Islamic rhetoric and events, and this is where it shines without turning into just an “issue” book. Throughout the novel are tiny microaggressions interspersed in the narrative (and appropriately challenged), all leading up to the tumultuous event that casts a dark shadow on this small town. A brutally honest portrayal of what it’s like to be a Muslim in America in the aftermath of an incident of domestic terrorism. Maya’s own reactions and experiences, as well as that of her family’s, how it affects their relationship with each other, their choices, their fears, and how they’re viewed in the eyes of their small community- Samira delivers with gut-punching accuracy. This makes it such an important book, not just in terms of representing Indian-American Muslims, but a book that should be read by those outside that community, and give them some food for thought on how they could be complicit in maintaining such a rhetoric and how they can be solid allies.

As for the romance and the side-characters, these were equally well-done. There’s a bit of a love triangle early in the book that’s resolved quickly, and the romance is pretty cute for the most part(bit of an overkill with the mentions of Phil’s dimple, but hey, that’s an alloromantic thing you can’t avoid I guess). Her friendship with Violet is just awesome (love me a supportive best friend all day everyday). Hina is the aunt that dreams are made of, what an amazingly supportive parental figure and buffer. The dual narrative was fine, I don’t think it did much for the story, but it didn’t get in the way either.

All in all, an absolutely emotional and gratifying story. Samira’s prose is gorgeous, and Maya’s wit and sarcasm is brilliant and cracked me up throughout the book. Full of nuance, with the ability to kickstart several important conversations among readers, Love, Hate, and Other Filters is a well-rounded and gripping debut.

P. S. In case you’re looking for some #ownvoices reviews of this book, I’m linking both Fadwa and Maha's reviews for further reading.
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,006 reviews3,574 followers
February 5, 2018
This was such a cute, diverse contemporary that also didn't shy away from the harder topics like Islamophobia, racism and the pressure of parental expectations. I loved the Indian representation and the overbearing/caring parents, discussions of arranged marriages and cultural practices.

Full review to come.
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