In her debut novel Love, Hate, and Other Filters; Samira Ahmed weaves a story that is bittersweet and beautiful. In Ahmed’s tale we can easily see the similarities and differences that both create and bridge the gaps between us. The story follows Maya Aziz, an Indian Muslim girl growing up in modern day America and the challenges she faces at home and at school after a terrorist attack whose main suspect is a Muslim.
After the attack Maya faces bullying and prejudice at school and work. As the only Muslim family in town- one with the same last name as the suspect, Maya’s family receives threats and hate from the people around them. As their fear grows, Maya’s parents begin to tighten their grip on Maya’s life, making her dreams harder to follow, and her future seem more full of fear than hope. As Maya does her best to walk the line between her parents wishes and expectations for her, and her own dreams, she encounters a wide cast of characters, both friend and foe.
These will help her find her way as Maya navigates the treacherous waters of high school and college. Love, Hate, and Other Filters is a timely novel that many people would benefit from reading. Not only does the story address racism and prejudice, but also manages to capture the essence of what it is to be a teenager.