Friday, 9 February 2018
Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
I have mixed feelings about this book. I really wanted to like it, just based on its completely original premise and diverse representation of Muslim teens living in this permanently fearful environment in their own homes. Yet, the whole premise the impact a suicide bomber has on her life wasn't as big a plot-point as I expected. It was done really well, I think, just in the way it explored how these big global political actions can affect individual families, but I kind of wanted more.
Maya was interesting - I adored her ambition to be a film maker, it's completely original and adorable, and her independent attitude was spot-on for most teenagers. But she was super rude to her parents. I get that they came from different places, not only the generational gap but also the literal place of America versus India in terms of teenage rebellion, independence and dating expectations, but Maya was pretty flippant with them, didn't even really attempt to understand where they were coming from or try to converse and compromise. She mostly came across as very superficial, in her taste in boys and her apparent disregard for her religion and disrespect for her parents. I wanted to like her, and I definitely felt for her when the bullying got bad, but she was mostly kinda annoying.
There wasn't as much on the Muslim part of her life as I'd expected - there was one joke about eating pork, and maybe a couple of mentions of praying with her parents but apart from that - diddly squat! There was a lot on the Indian part of her upbringing, which I adored learning about.
I also didn't entirely believe in the romance - Maya was obviously infatuated but based on nothing other than his pretty face and we learn very little about Phil, well some stuff about his family and it was all so typically Mid-west/small town that... meh. Phil also made a pretty big whoopsie just after the bomber attack, not really sure whether he was supposed to support or ignore Maya - I mean, really?
Wow, turns out I had way more to say than I thought! All in all, definitely a book to try for yourself - there was parts I loved and felt so happy they were included, especially in a YA novel, but there were parts I didn't understand the point of, or even wanted more from. An author to watch and definitely a topic more books could do with tackling.
Published 16th January 2018 by Hot Key Books. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.