BookPage Teen Top Pick, January 2018
Seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz wants to make documentary films, go to NYU and date as she pleases. Her parents want her to choose a college closer to their suburban Chicago home, study law or medicine and marry a suitable Indian-Muslim boy. When such a boy, Kareem, materializes at a family wedding, everyone’s interests seem to dovetail. Kareem is sweet, funny and has all the right “biostats,” but Maya’s heart longs for Phil, the unreachable captain of the football team. As Maya attempts to balance her parents’ traditionalism with her own modern outlook, a terrorist attack in Chicago inspires violent anti-Muslim sentiment in Maya’s neighborhood, tying personal perspectives into a larger global picture. Maya’s best friend, Violet, and her liberal-leaning Aunt Hina encourage her to make her own path in the world, but how can she take a leading role in her own story when she’s most comfortable observing life from behind her camera lens?
The love-triangle trope may seem slightly stale, but debut author Samira Ahmed’s treatment is anything but. Mentions of travel bans and suicide bombers are extremely timely, and the themes of immigration, family and identity broached here are always relevant.
Reminiscent of Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, Love, Hate and Other Filters brings an authentic new voice to Muslim-American literature for young adults.