*Major spoilers in the review*
Love, Hate and Other Filters was a book that I have been excited to read since I heard about it last year. I had heard a lot about it being a book about a Muslim teen and that for me was why I was so excited. I would finally see someone who was like me.
This book is about a Americal-Indian Muslim teenage girl, Maya Aziz who while she is in her final year of high school is victim to a hate crime after a terrorist attack happens near her small town. This book tackles some heavy topics, hate crime, islamophobia, racism.
I have such mixed feelings and I’m so torn as I really wanted to like it but I think my expectations and how it was advertised left me feeling underwhelmed and just not liking the story or characters at all.
I felt like it was basically a fluff romance book for 90% of the time with some islamophobia and hate crime added in. It was also heavily advertised as a Muslim teen book yet Maya neither talks or acts on anything to do with her religion. The way it was advertised I was expecting there to be references that she is Muslim and she makes decisions or is struggling or something to do with her religion. But she never mentions it not even once. Her Indian culture is mentioned in her clothes or food or weddings etc but Indian culture is not the same as her religion.
There is even a scene where she’s at dinner with a boy that her parents have set her up with to meet and he orders wine and then says at least he isn’t eating pork. It can’t be justified by saying he doesn’t eat pork and it’s not even mentioned that just because he is drinking it (that’s his choice) it’s not actually allowed in Islam.
I also didn’t like the insta-love between her and Kareem and then the weird love triangle that continued for the first half of the book. I felt the fluff romance was far too dominating in the book and it just isnt my thing so I was really put off by it.
I also didn’t like Maya, she was a spoiled selfish brat. She was irresponsible and immature and acted like a 12 year old. She snuck around doing things behind her parents back and then was annoyed with her parents when they were upset with her about it. She didn’t tell them that she applied to NYU and when she dithery did eventually agree to let her go. Then after they were victims of a hate crime her parents were scared and changed their minds about letting her go. Instead of trying to maturely speak to them about it, she runs away! I understand that she has her passion and dreams but running away is no way to solve it especially in the middle of her parents dealing with the hate crime and fearing for their safety.
I felt like her parents were unfairly portrayed. She always complained about how her parents never understood her but I never actually read a single moment in which she actually tried to have a conversation and explain anything to them.
And throughout the story I didn’t see much character development aside from her finally telling her parents that she wants to go to NYU.
I also didn’t really see the relevance how the point of view from the bomber was relevant to the story. It was confusing to read and didn’t add to the story.
Okay so I know I’ve spoken a lot about what I didn’t like but I am glad that topics like islamophobia and hate crime are being discussed in books. It is needed, we need diverse books and diverse characters. And I’m glad there are more and more authors who are writing about these topics.
I also liked that there was references to Indian culture and I also really liked Maya’s friend Violet. She was a good and loyal friend. She defended and protected and supported Maya throughout the book. And I do wish we had got to see more of her.
I’m also glad that the author showed how much of an impact a hate crime can have on a family. It made them fear for their safety and how emotionally distressing it was. It showed how unfair it was to hold someone else responsible for a crime someone else commits.
Overall this book wasn’t for me. The advertising made it seem like the book was something it was not and this book was not for me. If you do like stories which has lots of romance then definitely give it a read but it was not my kind of book.