Book Review: Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Love, Hate & Other Filters  
by Samira Ahmed
Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published:  January 16th 2018
Rating: Can we be friends?
Recommended by: Eric Smith on Twitter

I am not going to lie: Love Hate, & Other Filters is one of my most anticipated books of 2018. I have had it preordered for months.  I tried to preorder it DOZENS of times.  I am not exaggerating.  I had it preordered, but every time that I saw it on twitter or on a blog, I would go back to the Amazon page and try to preorder it again and then get reminded that I had already preordered it and curse the fates that were causing the time to go so slowly. Lather, rinse, repeat. I was predisposed to like it.

Love Hate, & Other Filters is an own voices book about Maya Aziz a seventeen-year-old Indian-American Muslim film enthusiast who is struggling to find a balance between the life that she wants and the life that is expected for her.  Making it even more complicated is the fact that she is still figuring out what the life she wants is.  I loved her.

Some things I googled while reading: bandini, lehanga, ghagra choli, mandap, beta, dohl, and probably a bunch of others.  You can figure out what they meant in context, and there was a bit of explanation if it was needed but I like to know exactly when I read. You should google these things as well.  Trust me it will make your life better. My weekend plans now include Bollywood movies and Indian delivery.  Don't judge.

My mom tosses me a final wan smile—I love you, but I remain disappointed—and shuts the door. I settle beneath the covers. If I ever direct a retro-Bollywood melodrama, my mother will be the star.

I really appreciated the family dynamics.  Maya's relationship with her family is so different from my own.  It was interesting to see how she was both struggling against all of the pressure and expectations while at the same time knowing how necessary their support is in her life.  This is the fourth or fifth book that I have read recently about children of first-generation Asian immigrants that has this element of loving pressure and expectations. Maya's relationship with her mother is particularly vivid.  "I love you, but I remain disappointed."

I found the writing, characterization excellent. Maya had a sense of humor that I easily related to. She is someone that high school me would have loved to be friends with. My only small problem with this book was the rush to the ending.  While I found what happened at the ending satisfying the jump from the last chapter to the epilogue seemed rushed. Maybe I wanted a bit more closure?  Or just more.

There was a short-lived love triangle where I didn't immediately know who (if anyone) the main character will end up with. One in which I don't instantly HATE one of the love interests? What sort of sorcery is this? This is one of the few books where I found the love triangle believable regarding characterization and plot. Well played, Ms. Ahmed.

In between each chapter is a short glimpse of the lead up to and the aftermath of the act of terrorism (I don't think this is a spoiler as it is in the blurb) What is extraordinary about these glimpse of the perpetrator and the victims and bystanders was the sensitivity of the portrayal.  He wasn't a monster hiding under the bed.  He was a person. A person who committed a terrible crime but still a person.  There were no excuses made for his choices, but she still allowed his humanity to show through. The world needs that kind of nuance. I need that kind of nuance.

The blurb mentions that Maya had to deal with Islamophobia after the terrorist attack. And she does.  There are a few really terrible incidents. What I found even more affecting was her slow realization that it wasn't going to blow over.  That being a Muslim (or just brown probably) in America was always going to be a tightrope walk.  It makes her choice to face the world and take a chance for her future that much braver.

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.

American-born 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 maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. 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 alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

Mini Reviews: The Raven Boys, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Illusions of Fate, The Graveyard Book, Bull

Mini Reviews:  The Raven Boys, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Illusions of Fate, The Graveyard Book, and Bull

Here we go again!


Bull by David Elliott

Bull
by David Elliott

 

Goodreads | Amazon 
Series: no
Published: March 28th 2017
Rating: A wild ride
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Gabrielle

“What can I say? 
Life’s no bed of roses
For a kid who’s different, 
A kid with horns. 
A bed of roses? ”

I hadn't heard anyone talk about this book before my librarian friend recommended it to me as the best book that she had read in 2017.  High praise.  It is a retelling of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur but twisted so that we are looking at it from Asterion the Minotaur himself.  It is a novel in verse told in different styles by different characters. I was especially moved by Asterion chapters. They were almost heartbreaking. Which might lead you to believe that This is a staid book one step away from the epic poetry of Homer or Virgil.  Um... no.  The first line of the book is literally Posidean saying,  "Whatup bitches?" Which sets the tone.


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman 

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: September 30th 2008
Rating: It's love
Times read: 5
Recommended by: Found it in a bookstore in 2008

“Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.” 

Reread.  It has been a few years since I read this but it held up (again).  I don't know about it I find so compellingly.  The writing is powerful and lovely.  There is a weight to the words that make the story seem like more than a story.  It is as if the book is a parabel and Neil Gaiman is telling us how to live.   With all that there are exciting moments of actions, scares, and love all conveyed with a dash of surprising humor.  It isn't often that a book about the dead also laugh out loud funny. I have been thrusting this book at students since it first came out.


Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Illusions of Fate
by Kiersten White

 

Goodreads | Amazon 
Series: no
Published: September 9th 2014
Rating: okay
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

“Shadows go in front of you, leading into your future, and trail behind you, leaving a part of you in the past. They are clearest when we are in the light, and disappear when we lose ourselves in darkness.” 

This is a fantasy that reads like a historical. I feel as if I should have enjoyed this book more than I actually did.  It is full of things that I love: A sharp and focused heroine, a love interest that communicates with her, and a fantastical setting. But I didn't love it or connect to it. I have had this feeling with Kiresten White before so it might just be that I don't gel with her writing. I think that I find her heroines too cold to relate to.  This is a stand-alone novel, but I felt as if there was a lot left unexplored and would not be disappointed in a sequal.


The Girl Who Drank the Moon  by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: August 9th 2016
Rating: wonderful
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

“Knowledge is power, but it is a terrible power when it is hoarded and hidden.” 

This book charmed me from the first sentence. There are a lot of dark elements: Babies are left to die. Faces are scarred. A mother goes mad with grief. But although the story gives these moments their gravity it isn't graphic or bogged down in the darkness. Woven throughout the book are short, one-sided hearth conversation between a parent and a child where the importance of how a story is told and by who is examined. There is also a dragon, Fyrian, who is "no bigger than a pigeon." He is a perpetual child and also convinced that he is "perfectly enormous." Please show me where I can sign up to foster him because I have need.  I already bought copies for friends and my mother which. Now, if anyone needs me, I will be at the library shilling this book to every student who walks by.


(The Raven Cycle #1)

The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (The Raven Cycle #1)
Published: September 18th 2012
Rating: fantastic
Times read: 2
Recommended by: Gillian at Writer of Wrongs

“She wasn't interested in telling other people's futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own.”

This is the start of one of my favorite series.  I wish I knew more YA fantasy lovers in real life because I feel as if I never get to talk about it.  There is something about Stiefvater's prose that just touches me.  I loved ALL the characters. Blue, Noah, Gansey, Adam, and Ronan.  They are the sort of characters that transcend the book and start to feel like people that you actually know.  Or would know if your life was a bit cooler. The book flips third person POV's seamlessly, but in the end, to me, this is Adams book. Never has the search for a dead Welsh King been so beautiful or so much fun.


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Top Ten New-To-Me Authors In 2017

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors In 2017
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Here are the gems of authors that I have been introduced to this past year.  Lucky me!


Nic Stone

Nic Stone

Author of:

Dear Martin (Full review of Dear Martin)
Welcome Home
Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration

New book coming out:

Fit for a Queen

Dear Martin was her first book and she smashed it.  


Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas

Author of:

The Hate U Give
Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration

New book coming out:

On the Come Up

If you haven't read The Hate U Give please drop whatever it is that you are doing and read it.  Not only is it an important story and a perfectly zeitgiest but it is also a great read with wonderful characters that stay with you and full of so much heart and humor. Pay attention to her.


I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Maureen Goo

Author of:

I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Since You Asked

New book coming out:

The Way You Make Me Feel

I love the way that she has of writing funny feel good stuff.


Eric Smith

Eric Smith

Author of: 

The Geek's Guide to Dating
Inked (Inked #1) 
Textual Healing
Welcome Home
Branded (Inked #2)  

New book coming out:

The Girl and the Grove

Welcome Home was one of the most ehartwarming anthologies that I have ever read.  I follow him on twitter and all signs point to him being the nicest guy on the planet.  His dog a kid are pretty damn cute too.


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Erin Morganstern

Author of: 

The Night Circus
Flax-Golden Tales

New book coming out: ?

The Night Circus was one of the most unique books that I have ever.  Erin Morganstern's writing is a thing of beauty. I hope she writes more.


Jay Kristoff

Anna-Marie McLemore

Anna-Marie McLemore

Author of: 

When the Moon Was Ours
The Weight of Feathers
Wild Beauty
Magical Mayhem
Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America
 

New book coming out:

Blanca & Roja
All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages
The Radical Element (A Tyranny of Petticoats, #2) 
Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft

Magical realism can be very hit or miss for me. Either I love it or I hate it so much that I spend weeks being mad.  There is no middle group.  Anna-Marie McLemore is firmly in the love category. I am still working on her backlog and look at what her 2018 is going to be like.  She is going to be the reigning queen of this genre for me for a long time to come.


Tiffany D. Jackson

Tiffany D. Jackson

Author of: 

Allegedly

New book coming out:

Monday's Not Coming
Let Me Hear a Rhyme

I am putting her on this list but I want it known that I am still mad at her for what she did to my feels with Allegedly. I may never trust again.


Kelly Barnhill

Kelly Barnhill

Author of: 

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
The Witch's Boy
Iron Hearted Violet
The Mostly True Story of Jack
Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch
The Unlicensed Magician
Probably Still the Chosen One
Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories
 

New book coming out: ?

Any woman who comes up with a tiny dragon who thinks that he is perfectly enormous os alright by me.  The best part is that I have a huge backlog to get through.  This is good because she doesn't seem to have anything coming out in 2018.


Katheryn Ormsbee

Katheryn Ormsbee

Author of: 

Tash Hearts Tolstoy
Lucky Few

New book coming out:

The Great Unknowable End

Katheryn Ormsbee was a surprise.  


Are any of these authors new to you?

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