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Month in review

Reviews
Adventure on Whalebone Island by M.A. Wilson
Black Hammer Volume 2: The Event by Jeff Lemire
The Dark Lady by Irene Adler
A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong
Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call by Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening
Habibi by Craig Thompson
If You Find This by Matthew Baker
Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina
Koko Be Good by Jen Wang
The League of Beastly Dreadfuls by Holly Grant
Locke & Key, Volume 2: Head Games by Joe Hill
Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
The Magician's Secret by Carolyn Keene
Not the Killing Type by Lorna Barrett
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Otis and the Scarecrow by Loren Long
Patina by Jason Reynolds
Pierre the Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone by Hiro Kamigaki
A Pug's Tale by Alison Pace
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente
Sabotage at Willow Woods by Carolyn Keene
Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11 by N. Griffin
Speedy in Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
Teddy Mars: Almost a World Record Breaker by Molly B. Burnham
The Terrible Two Go Wild by Mac Barnett, Jory John, and Kevin Cornell
Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught
Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala
The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks
Welcome to the Real World by Angela Melick
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson

Miscellaneous
December 2017 Sources
December 2017 Summary
Five stars in 2017
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 01)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 08)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 15)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 22)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 29)

Road Essays
The transformative power of the cornfield: magic in the Marvelous Land of Oz

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish


Love, Hate & Other Filters: 01/27/18

cover art

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.

Five stars

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