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Love, Hate and Other Filters
Cover of Love, Hate and Other Filters
Love, Hate and Other Filters
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
In this unforgettable debut novel, an Indian-American Muslim teen copes with Islamophobia, cultural divides among peers and parents, and a reality she can neither explain nor escape.


Seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There's the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems "suitable." And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and pursuing a boy she's known from afarsince grade school.
But in the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she's known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
In this unforgettable debut novel, an Indian-American Muslim teen copes with Islamophobia, cultural divides among peers and parents, and a reality she can neither explain nor escape.


Seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There's the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems "suitable." And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and pursuing a boy she's known from afarsince grade school.
But in the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she's known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.
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    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    660
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book CHAPTER 1

    Destiny sucks.
    Sure, it can be all heart bursting and undeniable and Bollywood dance numbers and meet me at the Empire State Building. Except when someone else wants to decide who I'm going to sleep with for the rest of my life. Then destiny is a bloodsucker, and not the swoony, sparkly vampire kind.
    The night is beautiful, clear and bright with silvery stars. But I'm walking across a noxious parking lot with my parents toward a wedding where a well-meaning auntie will certainly pinch my cheeks like I'm two years old, and a kindly uncle will corner me about my college plans with the inevitable question: premed or prelaw? In other words, it's time for me to wear a beauty-pageant smile while keeping a very stiff upper lip. It would be helpful if I could grow a thicker skin, too—armor, perhaps—but we're almost at the door.
    My purse vibrates. I dig around for my phone. A text from
    Violet: You should be here!
    Another buzz, and a picture of Violet appears, decorated in streamers, dancing in the gym. Jeans skinny, lips glossed. Everyone is at MORP without me. It's bad enough I can't go to the actual prom, but missing MORP, too, is death by paper cuts. MORP is the informal prom send-up where everyone goes stag and dances their faces off. And there are always new couples emerging from the dark corners of the gym.
    I miss all the drama, as usual.
    "Maya, what's wrong?" My mother eyes me with suspicion, as always. I only wish I could muster up the courage to actually warrant any of her distrust.
    "Nothing." I sigh.
    "Then why do you look like you're going to a funeral instead of your friend's wedding?"
    I widen my toothy fake smile. "Better?" Maybe I should give my mom what she wants tonight, the dutiful daughter who is thrilled to wear gold jewelry and high heels and wants to be a doctor. But the high heels alone are so uncomfortable I can only imagine how painful the rest of the act would be.
    "I guess a little happiness is too much to ask of my only daughter."
    Dad's chuckling, head down. At least someone is amused by my mother's melodrama.
    We step through an arc of red carnations and orange-yellow marigolds to a blur of jewel-toned silk saris and sparkly fairy lights strung in lazy zigzags across the walls. The Bollywood-ized suburban wedding hall feels pretty cinematic, yet the thought of the awkward social situations to come makes me turn back and look longingly at the doors.
    But there is no escape.
    The tinkling of her silver-belled anklets signal the not-to-be-missed approach of Yasmeen, who addresses my mother with the honorific "auntie," the title accorded all mom-aged Indian women, relation or not. "As-salaam-alaikum, Sofia Auntie!"
    Yasmeen is only two years older than me; in my mom's eyes, we should be BFFs. Our parents have known each other since their old Hyderabad days, and my mom has been trying to make a friendship happen since Yasmeen's family moved to the States several years ago. But in real life, we're a dud of a match. Also, she's an annoying kiss-ass.
    But the girl's got style. Yasmeen is dressed to snare the attention of a suitable young gentleman. Preferably more than one, because a girl needs options. Her peacock-colored lehanga that sweeps the floor, her arms full of sparkling bangles, her emerald-and-pearl choker, and the killer kajal that lines her eyelids make her the perfect candy-colored Bollywood poster girl.
    "Asif Uncle! How are you? Mummy will be so excited to see you both. Maya Aziz, look at you. You're adorable. That shade of pink really...
About the Author-
  • Samira Ahmed was born in Bombay, India and grew up in a small town in Illinois in a house that smelled like fried onions, cardamom, and potpourri. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught high school English, helped create dozens of small high schools, and fought to secure billions of additional dollars to fairly fund public schools. She's lived in Vermont, Chicago, New York City, and Kauai where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    October 1, 2017
    High school senior Maya Aziz works up the courage to tell her parents that she's gotten into the film school of her dreams in New York City, but their expectations combined with anti-Muslim backlash from a terror attack threaten to derail her dream.Maya, the only brown girl in her school with the only immigrant parents, loves parts of her Indian culture but blames everything she thinks she can't have on her cultural constraints and on the fact that she's different. Time is running out to break the news to her parents that her filmmaking is more than just a hobby. Meanwhile, two potential love interests command her attention. Her matchmaking parents like Kareem, an intriguing young Indian man Maya meets and dates, while Phil, a white classmate who's been her longtime crush, remains a secret from her parents. Interspersed with Maya's intimate first-person account are brief, cinematic interludes tracking a disturbed young man who commits a terror attack. First reports blame someone who shares Maya's last name, and the backlash they suffer leads her parents to restrict Maya's options. Maya's feelings of entrapment within her parents' dreams are laid on thick, and Maya herself notes a cliched moment or two in her story, but the core relationships are authentic and memorable, and the conclusion is satisfying.A well-crafted plot with interesting revelations about living as a secular Muslim teen in today's climate. (Fiction. 13-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 16, 2017
    In an astute debut, Ahmed intertwines a multicultural teen’s story with a spare, dark depiction of a young terrorist’s act. High school senior Maya Aziz, a budding filmmaker, struggles with being the beloved and protected only child of Muslim immigrants from India while trying to live a “normal” American teenage life in Illinois and, more importantly, make her own decisions about her future. Stealthily defying her parents by applying to New York University and juggling appropriate and inappropriate love interests (all with the help of her maverick aunt), Maya finally gets up the courage to confront her parents when the terrorist’s actions unleash hatred on her and her family. Ahmed builds tension by preceding each chapter of Maya’s story with a terse paragraph leading to the imminent act of terror, then provides a startling twist; Maya’s final and uncharacteristic act of rebellion also comes as a surprise. The characters are fully dimensional and credible, lending depth to even lighter moments and interactions. Alternately entertaining and thoughtful, the novel is eminently readable, intelligent, and timely. Ages 14–up. Agent: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary.

  • School Library Journal

    November 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-Maya Aziz should be on top of the world. She got accepted into film school at NYU, and the cute boy she has been spending time with seems to be into her. The only problem is, she's been hiding all of this from her loving but very traditional Indian American parents. They have already chosen a local college for her to attend and introduced her to a nice Muslim boy who is (eventual) marriage material. As she builds up courage to tell them the truth, a terrorist attack takes place nearby, and one of the suspects shares the same last name as Maya's family. They are suddenly the targets of suspicion, fear, and intimidation in their own community. Maya is singled out by an unhinged student at her school, and when his harassment escalates to violence, not only is she physically hurt, but all of the ground she gained with her parents is lost as their protective instincts go into overdrive. Maya's voice is pitch-perfect; funny, warm, and perfectly teenaged in its bouncing focus-she is afraid for herself and her family, crushed by the hatred she is facing in her community, scared of disappointing her parents-but she also really wants to go to film school and is really falling in love. Sweet and smart with a realistic but hopeful ending, this novel is a great examination of how hatred and fear affects both communities, and individual lives. VERDICT Recommended for all libraries serving teens.-Beth McIntyre, Madison Public Library, WI

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Teen Vogue "Heartfelt . . . Ahmed deftly and incisively explores the complicated spaces between 'American and Indian and Muslim' in modern America."
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    Soho Press
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Love, Hate and Other Filters
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