Love, Hate, & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
My rating: ☆☆/☆☆☆☆☆ (2.5 stars)
Favorite quote: “My love for you is deathless.”
Book Summary (from Goodreads)
A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.
I am giving this 2.5 stars. Everyone has been raving about it, and honestly I just didn’t like it that much. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary novels, so already I was taking a risk reading this. I thought about giving it three stars, but 2 stars for me means that is was okay, not good. It was an okay novel. Definitely not a bad one, but just okay.
I appreciate that this is an own voices novel. I’m trying not to critique the family dynamic too much because it is an own voices novel, but it did seem a little cliche to me. Actually, a lot of this book followed the standard contemporary romance template. There’s the main character, who’s shy and doesn’t really party and go out with boys, but all of the sudden has multiple love interests. There’s the rich, beautiful, flirtatious best friend. And of course there’s the ever-present swimming scene, where the main character and her love interest have to go swimming in some secluded location, the guy has to turn around while she gets in the water, and the sparks fly.
Love, Hate, & Other Filters ultimately wasn’t anything special for me. I think it had the potential to really dive deeper into some of the issues surrounding Islamaphobia, white supremacy, and hate crimes, but it didn’t. While I wish it would have done more with those themes and less with the romance, at the same time I do respect that this is the story of one high school girl, and that’s the way the author chose to portray it.
“It’s selfish and horrible, but in this terrible moment, all I want is to be a plain old American teenager… who isn’t a presumed terrorist first and an American second.”