Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed was an engaging, well written young adult novel. We've seen a lot of books in the last few years about African American teens and the struggles they have in the United States, with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas being a kind of pinnacle. Love, Hate and Other Filters gives the same kind of voice to another minority group in our country, Muslim Indians, and I think it's a voice that is needed in YA literature.
Maya Aziz, the main character, is a first generation Indian-American. She struggles to find the balance between the world her parents want for her (college close to home, a boy from an upstanding Indian & Muslim family) and world she wants for herself (film school in NY, the white American boy she's been crushing on her whole life).
For much of the story, it feels like a lovely teen romance. Maya has two boys interested in her, one her parents approve of and one she feels they never will. We see her struggle with her feelings and we watch each relationship grow. And then suddenly her world is shaken when a Muslim man is accused of a local terrorist attack.
The truth of how our country jumps to blame a Muslim man for a crime with very little proof is scary but honest. The bullying Maya faces at school must be real for so many kids. And my heart breaks for her in many scenes. But Ahmed writes so beautifully and she managed to create such a strong young woman in Maya, that you instinctively know everything will work out. Maybe not perfectly, maybe not as Maya dreamed it would, but she is a fighter and as a reader you cheer her on while she goes after a life that is all her own.