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Love, Hate & Other Filters: 01/27/18
Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed is set in Batavia, Illinois, the author's home town. Maya Aziz is a senior in high school who with the help of her aunt has gotten into NYU's film school. There's just the problem of telling her traditionally minded Muslim Indian parents and getting them to agree with it. They have other well intentioned plans for her.
Much of what Maya experiences and narrates is put through the filter of filmmaking. She either compares her life to films she loves. Or she reports on how she is filming an event. Or she thinks about how she could have filmed it. In most books with a budding filmmaker, pages and pages lost to scenes being transcribed as if they were a film script. I HATE that technique with a fiery passion. It is so cliché. Maya, though, does none of this. Her love of film is shown through what she knows about the craft and its history.
The book starts of similar to When Dimple Met Rishi in that there appears to be possible romance between the acceptable suitor — Kareem. Then at school there is Phil who is on the football team, is dating the most popular girl. He is her crush and now he seems to like her too. The first couple of chapters seem to promise a Bollywood love triangle with an American twist even though Maya prefers Western films.
And then it doesn't. At about the halfway point the novel abruptly shifts gears. Maya and her world are shattered by events outside of their control. For the astute reader, the hints of this direction are there from the very beginning. If you're reading for fun (as I admit I was) the change of tone is as shocking to you as it is to Maya.
Samira Ahmed's next book is Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know (2019). It's a YA thriller that pairs a Muslim-American teenager with a descent of Alexander Dumas to unravel a 19th century mystery.