Love Filters Hate

Karina Quiran-Juarez

“Love, Hate & Other Filters” by Samira Ahmed is a compelling young adult debut that balances heartwarming contemporary moments with the honest and sadly all too current issue of Islamophobia.

Told through a first person point of view, the reader gets to know Maya Aziz, a 17-year old Indian Muslim-American teen from a small town in Illinois. She’s a senior in high school, passionate about film, has dreams of studying at New York University and establishing a career for herself in film making.

Even if her parents see her passion for film as just a “hobby” she always has a camera at her side, ready to record the various moments and events in her life. Ahmed cleverly uses the camera to symbolize a shield for Maya, when it is clear she has fears for what her parents expect of her and the uncertainties she has for her future.

Throughout the poignant and wonderfully constructed narrative, the reader can easily sympathize with Maya over the course of her journey to not only forge her own path and seek her independence, but also root for her to overcome the hate and bigotry she encounters due to Islamophobia when a domestic terrorist attack (miles away from her), suddenly impacts both her and her family as it hits close to home.

Through Maya’s eyes the reader witnesses how a wave of Islamophobia reaches her small town and not only how it impacts her and her family, but also how such hate can impact individuals and a community.

Over the course of the novel, she must face a number of challenges and new situations from her parents expectations, budding romance, and the aftermath of the domestic terrorist attack (miles away from her) that impacts her and shatters her world.

Maya is a delightful main character with such an honest and engaging voice. Her wit, enthusiasm, and the relatable coming-of-age moments such as seeking independence, figuring out who you are and where you are headed make her a character anyone can understand!

She wants to follow her dreams, while not disappointing her parents, but also just wants to follow her passion of film and figure out who she wants to be.

Maya’s enthusiasm for film making and wanting to pursue it as a career can be all too relatable to any college student exploring or studying in a subject they find passion and joy in!

There were many elements that made this a wonderfully rounded story. From the well developed plot, main characters that come to life on the page, and numerous themes explored!

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed is an engaging debut with a relatable protagonist, discussion and tackling of current issues, and a number of important themes explored throughout the narrative.

This young adult novel is not only timely, but important and a must read for the new year!