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Book Reviews

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Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

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Samira Ahmed’s debut novel Love, Hate and Other Filters channels the cultural struggles of an Indian-Muslim-American girl, who just wants to be her own person. Maya Aziz feels most comfortable behind a camcorder, filming her life in its quiet monotony. Except now that she is about to graduate high school, her life is anything but monotonous. First, her mother is bent on finding a suitable young man for her to marry. Then there’s Maya’s secret acceptance to NYU Film School. And lastly, there’s Phil, the jock Maya has been crushing on for years, and he’s finally noticing her.

“I don’t want to hide anything, and I don’t want something… expected. I want to go to film school and be the first Indian American to win an Oscar, and then I can meet the One and fall in big, heart-bursting love, and we’ll travel the world, my camera ready to capture out adventures,” says Maya.

However, this nightmare of a maze turns even more horrid once a terrorist attack thought to be committed by a Muslim instigates attacks on Maya and her family. The stakes are raised even higher, and tensions between Maya and her parents and the rest of Maya’s peers are about to burst.

Ahmed shines a light on a specific culture from the perspective of an insider. This is not a White narrative for activism; this is a personal story based on the very real conflict between America and the Muslim community. Ahmed doesn’t hold back when expressing the fears of a community that has been a major target since 9/11. This is what we need: book with strong narratives written by strong voices that can personally speak to minority experiences.

Find Love, Hate, and Other Filters here.