Review + Giveaway: Love, Hate & Other Filters

Title: Love, Hate & Other Filters

Author: Samira Ahmed

Pub. Date: January 16th, 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Own Voices

Publisher: Soho Teen

Pages: 288

Format: Physical ARC

Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Islamophobia & Hate Crime

*Thank you Soho Teen and Samira Ahmed for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

    

It’s been weeks since I finished this book & yet the feelings that stirred within me are still very raw. Last year I praised The Hate U Give along with many of my fellow book blogging buddies, and still do. This year although it is only the beginning, I confidently recommend Love, Hate & Other Filters as a MUST READ! We alternate between two storylines, that of Maya a young  Indian-American Muslim trying to navigate her way through her wants & her families beliefs and a suicide bomber leading up to a horrific event. Maya’s first passion in life has always been Film, she wants to make movies & to get to that she has chosen to apply to NYU Tisch. Maya’s parents really just want her to marry a suitable/respectable Muslim guy…preferably one they’ve chosen. The life they’ve imagined for Maya doesn’t quite align with the life she has already set her sights on & is actively pursuing. Maya also can’t help her feelings towards a Caucasian boy she has known since their childhood. Phil has just recently started making it a bit more clear where his feelings lie towards Mya & that means Mya’s parents match-making will take a back seat. We see Mya try to respect her parents wishes by going on a date with a boy they consider suitable. We also see Mya firmly hold on to her dreams for the future even when that meant going against the grain. We also follow the suicide bomber in this story briefly as he calls upon memories of his childhood. We are left to speculate whether certain people & abuse lead him to the path he is now on. We also see the effects of the suicide bombing & the Islamophobia both Mya and her parents face immediately after the horrific crime. Filled with culture, sweet moments, awesome characters, family ties, sadness, hate, & other filters….this is one you’re not going to want to miss! 

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Our MC Maya is seriously a go-getter! passionate & in love with life itself, Maya was inspirational to me. I learned so much from Maya, she had a very “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it” type of attitude without even knowing it if that makes any sense. Maya may feel most comfortable behind the lens of a camera but her passion for film & capturing all of life’s moments will also be her strength.  We see very real moments with her parents where at times she feels bad for the bad communication & lack of understanding. I did find myself sympathizing with her parents at times but also wanting Maya to do what makes her happy. Although Maya’s parents weren’t exactly supportive of her passion for film, you can also see how much they love their daughter & just want what’s best for her. I personally didn’t agree with their approach but could see it didn’t come from a bad place but rather from genuine concern & love. Maya’s mother is very much stuck between the life she left behind & life raising a teen in America. All very real struggles that I enjoyed seeing included in this book.

Stand-out supporting character would go to Maya’s aunt who is living her life in a very non-traditional way. She isn’t married and has no kids but is very much happy with single life living on her own. Maya’s aunt is very supportive of her and will often go up to bat for her niece. I LOVED see their relationship & seeing Maya have such a positive role model in her life.

As for the guys in Maya’s love life…Kareem who is the guy Maya’s parents set her up on a date with ended up being one  of my fave characters for very different reasons. I never shipped these two but LOVED Kareem’s personality to pieces! & as for Phil who is Maya’s childhood crush, I liked him enough & had thoughts on how this ship would sail and I’m so glad I was right! ultimately these characters were in Maya’s life to guide her along to where she needs to be 😉

All throughout Love, Hate & Other Filters we toggle between Maya’s story & the suicide bomber which was really sobering. I don’t want to go into too much detail in regards to the suicide bomber since that would be spoilery. I will say however, that the way it was written into this story was done so well & will hopefully have you self reflect. I most definitely will be reading more from this author & cannot recommend this book enough! I love when characters are fleshed out through their hobbies & interests which was flawlessly done with our MC Maya. The classic Film references Maya makes throughout her day to day made me root harder for her to follow her dreams. Ahmed doesn’t simply tell us what Maya enjoys & wants to be in life, she takes us along giving us a view through Maya’s lens. I experienced both feelings of happiness & anger reading this book, both of which were necessary when trying to see things through Maya’s POV. By the time I read the last page, I walked away with a feeling that can’t be described as anything else but hope. Hope for change…


Hello Bookworms!!! Happy Tuesday, I hope you’re all having a wonderful day. If you’re like me then you’re just getting back to the daily grind after a 3 day weekend. It’s tough & what better way to get back in the flow of things than a GIVEAWAY?!?!? I’m giving away 1 hardcover copy of this wonderful book & all you need to do is comment down below & follow my blog. I will also give 1+ point for each follow on Instagram & Twitter. This giveaway is open to international Bookworms as well & will run until January 21st 💜 Happy reading & may the luck be with thee…


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Review: You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Title: You Bring the Distant Near

Author: Mitali Perkins

Pub. Date: October 31st, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary, #Ownvoices

Publisher:  Macmillan Children’s Publishing

Pages: 320

Format: eGalley/Netgalley

    

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve Bengal tigers and her Bengali identity–award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

You Bring the Distant Near truly felt like a gift I was unwrapping Christmas morning. It’s not often that we get stories based on Indian culture yet here we have a multi-generational book spanning the lives of 5 women in the Das family. We first meet Ranee & Rajeev Das, the parents of Tara & Sonia Das as they move from Bangladesh to London & finally Queens, New York. Rajeev Das is a hard worker & provider for his family, his wife Ranee wants them to own a beautiful home in a safe neighborhood. The Das family has very humble beginnings in a apartment in Queens that is located in a predominantly black neighborhood. We see Ranee struggle with her own prejudices & how her fear leads her to restrict Tara & Sonia. We also get an inside look on her marriage & the disconnect that often leads to arguments in the Das home. Underneath it all however, is a whole lot of love. This book truly has it all! the immigrant experience, marital woes, intersectional issues, colorism, feminism, Islamophobia, complex characters and so much more. I couldn’t put this book down other than to shed some tears every now & again. Seeing three generations of women try to retain some of their culture while also trying to fit in to their new lives was rewarding for me as a reader. Having had some of my own family immigrate from Salvador to the United States, I knew assimilating would be difficult but never really thought about how difficult it must be to try & retain some of their own culture. I found myself rooting for these characters to win their battles & stand up for what they believe is right. This isn’t by any means a fast paced book, it is however a heart warming read that gives you a inside look to a culture & people not often seen in YA books.

The author kindly included a family tree at the very beginning of the book but I found I didn’t really need it since the characters were very well fleshed out. 5 women’s stories spanning over 3 generations, all so very different from each other but the one thing they have in common is their wish to hold onto some if not all of their roots. I LOVED all of these characters, they’re the type to stick with you way after you’ve read the last page.

Rajeev & Ranee Das- mother & father to Tara & Sonia are struggling to meet eye to eye when it comes to settling down on a place to live. Rajeev is sweet & the definition of a proud & doting father. He has a ton of love for his daughters & I found myself crying the most whenever he interacted with Tara & Sonia because this is the closest a character has come to resembling my own father & how he cared for my sister & I. Rajeev is incredibly supportive of his daughters & encourages them to follow their dreams. Our matriarch Ranee Das on the other hand is the law in her home & perhaps has the most character growth in this book. She has a ton of prejudices to sort through & we get to see her struggle with her marriage, daughters, grand daughters and her own internal struggle to both let go & hold on to some cultural beliefs. I loved seeing how realistic this marriage was portrayed & the underlying love that shines through.

Tara & Sonia Das- Since the majority of this book is told in alternating POV’s between these two sisters, I felt that I really got to know them. Tara aka Star is in love with acting, drama, entertaining, and fashion. She loves studying different icons on tv & imitating their style. This is something she sees as a useful tool whenever she has moved to a new country & started a new school. Tara is also the sister everyone considers the beauty who is sure to find a suitable husband. Sonia aka Sunny is a reader & writer, she loves retreating into her own world where she can journal & read non-fiction. The move to NYC places her on course to becoming a feminist & activist. I enjoyed seeing the contrast between Sunny, Star, and Ranee. Sunny is very vocal in squashing any prejudices coming from her mother which is why they clash the most. Sunny is also of darker complexion & we see the affects of colorism both in her home & with other Indian neighbors.

Chantal & Anna-  the daughters of Sunny & Star, the latter part of YBTDN is told in alternating POV chapters with these cousins. We still get to see their parents but the focus shifts to their high school lives. Chantal is Sunny’s daughter & she is trying to find peace between her two grandmothers. Chantal is bi-racial & we get to see the very realistic familial battles that take place when two very different cultures come together through marriage. Anna is Star’s daughter & she for the most part has been raised in Mumbai. Her parents do travel with her to & from NYC to Mumbai but she has no interest in American life. We see her get uprooted & the difficulties she faces when trying to hold on to her roots.

Grandma Rose- doesn’t come into the picture til’ we meet Chantal later in the book but I seriously LOVED seeing her duke it out with Ranee for title of best grandma. Grandma Rose is black & is very involved in Chantal’s life. I loved seeing her pride & confidence in Chantal, she really is her #1 fan. Some of my favorite scenes were those between Rose & Ranee, these two had me smiling & shaking my head.

Rich in culture & family dynamics, You Bring the Distant Near is easily a top contender for my top 10 favorite books of this year. For any bookworms looking for #ownvoices reads, I highly recommend picking this book up. In just 320 pages we get wonderful character development & a ton of tough topics thrown in the mix making this one hell of a journey. I felt a range of emotions seeing this family try to set down new roots in a strange land while also learning to adapt when life throws you a curve-ball. I also found myself wanting more story once I finished reading & perhaps that’s due to how well it was structured. The alternating POV chapters between Sunny & Star and later their daughters Chantal & Anna really allow you to form attachments. This bookworm would love to see more of the Das family & their growing pains. I am so happy to have read YBTDN & wish only to see more from this author in the very near future *fingers crossed*

*HUGE thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing, Netgalley, and Mitali Perkins for the eGalley copy of You Bring the Distant Near in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend & managed to squeeze in some good books. You Bring the Distant Near is hands down a highlight in my October reading. Have any of you lovely bookworms had the chance to read YBTDN? or plan on adding it to your TBR? Sound off in the comments down below 😉


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