Reviewed by: Edith (Edi) Campbell
17-year-old Maya is about to graduate high school. She’s actually a bit interested in the young man her parents totally approve of, but then, there’s Phil, the love of her life. Team Phil or Team Kareem? The choice isn’t quite so simple because Ahmed’s debut novel proves to be more than a simple romance; more than just another second gen Asian American novel about overcoming a set of traditional parents. There’s terror in this story.
Ahmed weaves suspense into her plot by giving her terrorist a parallel narrative. He’s part of the story, but he’s not. He’s an italicized addendum to most of the chapters. He’s part of Maya’s life, but he’s not. He, this terrorist, this insidious presence that has a direct impact on Maya and her family without ever directly touching them. Maya and her family are Muslim Indian Americans.
Adding to Maya’s stress is the fact that Phil is neither Muslim nor Indian American, someone Maya believes her parents will never approve. In that key moment, it’s Phil who saves Maya, and in smaller moments it’s Maya’s white bff Violet who saves and protect her. (Yes, Kareem is there when it counts, too!) Reads a bit like white saviors, doesn’t it? Well, I think I have a slightly different take on this. Continue reading.
Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
on January 8, 2019
Genres: Family, Immigration and Emigration, Muslim
Reading Level: High School
Review Source: Crazy QuiltEdi
Buy at Powell's Books
Publisher's Synopsis: The instant New York Times bestseller comes to paperback.
Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a "suitable" Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City--and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she's only known from afar. There's the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya's last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?