Love, Hate and Other filters

Love, Hate and Other filters by Samira Ahmed

Originality ♥♥♥♥
Quality of Writing ♥♥♥♥
Plot ♥♥♥♥
Setting ♥♥♥♥
Character ♥♥♥
Overall ♥♥♥♥ (3.5)

Love, Hate, and Other Filters is a fresh YA drama about a young Muslim girl living in America struggling to break away from the confinements of her Indian culture to embrace her dream of going to film school in New York. A terrorist attack in another American city crushes Maya’s film-making dreams, and her parents insist she become the good, obedient daughter she is supposed to be. Stay close to home, and stay out of trouble.

On a personal level, I connected so well to Maya, the Indian girl begging to break free from the pressures of Indian culture on young women.  Maya’s problems with female independence, self-love, and other pressures highlights the current issues that many Indian girls still face in the Western world today. Although this is a very small book, there is a lot that this book brings up – and I don’t think Samira Ahmed gave enough space to fully explore these problems. But kudos to her for even having the determination to incorporate it into YA fiction!

The quality of writing was fluent and very easy to read and the plot ran along nicely at an even pace. The one problem I had was that there was too much cheesy romance, and less discussion into the pressures of Indian/Muslim culture. Maya’s family was actually quite modern compared to a lot of Muslim girls I know personally, but it also shows the diversity of the Muslim culture – how some families who can be considered modern but still hold traditional values. I wonder how the book would have played out if Maya was a hijab-wearing, frequent mosque-visiting individual – but I suppose that’s a story for another time. I believe, that due to Maya’s town being 99% white and her family being the only Indians further meant that Maya’s family were becoming more and more westernized. There was no other Indian family to compare her to, or for her to interact with. That said, I absolutely loved Maya’s character – she was strong, and really brave to put her-self out there, to defy her parents to do what she believed was right. To prove that Indian women can have the ability to think and do for themselves. (Note to Indian parents: stop wrapping your daughters in cotton wool – if you were brave enough to move to a country in the west, be brave enough to let your children thrive in a mixed culture!)

After the terrorist attack by a supposed Muslim suicide bomber– Samira Ahmed tried to show the repercussions of being Muslim in a terror filled America. However, this was not explored enough (in all fairness the book was very short and very quickly wrapped up) – and there was only two cases of Islamophobia and that from one person. Is this accurate? Maybe. Maybe not. Only those who live in America and are Muslim can account for the accuracy of this. To me, this part only played a small role.

There are two focuses in this book: one, Maya rebelling against her parent’s wishes and culture; and two, the effects on Indians/South Asians in general after a terrorist attack. These are two huge themes, and I feel at times the author rushed through them. The themes and plot were engaging enough and I wish the book was twice the size!

Despite, only giving 3.5 stars, I certainly look forward to more YA books from Samira Ahmed.


  1. Yeah, I felt the Islamophobia was a much smaller part of the book than all the marketing made it out to be too. It was a cute romance rather than a hard-hitting contemporary.

    1. Thanks for your comment :)

      Yes I agree - but it was also a good debut and I cannot wait to read her next one.


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