Sarah's Reviews > Love, Hate & Other Filters

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
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really liked it
bookshelves: florida-teens-read, coming-of-age

I love when a book juxtaposes two stories side by side, even if one is infinitely more bleak than the other. Ahmed artfully places the story of a tragic act of terror taking place in the larger world outside the small suburb of Batavia, Illinois where Maya Aziz has grown up beside the intricacies of Maya's life as she sheds the layers of a life expected by her parents and seeks out her own truths. At the novel's outset, Maya relies on her video camera to reveal and record the world around her. She continuously pushes against the shelter her parents want to envelop her in, but uses her camera to shelter herself from the awkwardness of life.
Maya stands as a speck of brown in a sea of white in her school where she is the only Indian-American Muslim student. Maya's ethnicity and religion do not wholly define her, but are key elements in a story of familial obligations, discrimination, and obligations to self. Maya must make choices about the importance of family, self and to what extent one should act out of fear. Love and hatred soak into the themes of the story, and Maya alternates between extremely mature decisions and those that show she is still a teenager learning how to navigate the world.
Overall, Maya is a strong, female character with morals, empathy and drive. I would love for my daughter to have Maya as a role model--despite the continuous tension between Maya and her parents. Maya benefits from a supportive and calm aunt who I would love to go to yoga with if she were a real person.
Recommendation? This is one to read. The very serious topic of xenophobia is addressed, but not in a way that comes across as didactic. Instead, it offers a slice of life to see how one family in a small town can be impacted by prejudice. Maya's story is large, while the contrasting tale of the terrorist is small. It feels like a news story leaving an imprint in the lives of the characters, but still removed from the actual circumstances the characters face. The effect creates a blanket of realism around Maya's life and the people in it.
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Reading Progress

June 4, 2018 – Started Reading
June 4, 2018 – Shelved
June 4, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
June 4, 2018 – Shelved as: florida-teens-read
June 8, 2018 – Shelved as: coming-of-age
June 8, 2018 – Finished Reading

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