The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
Love, Hate & Other Filters
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Maya Aziz is a 16-year-old Muslim girl living in Illinois, America: a pretty much all-white community. She has a crush on a white boy, and is irritated by pressure from her overprotective parents to be more traditional when she really wants to go study film in New York.
Maya has just managed to persuade her parents that New York could work, when a terrorist bomb kills 125 people in nearby Springfield. At first, the terrorist is presumed to be a Muslim (with the same surname as Maya), which starts a wave of Islamophobia against Maya and her family. It starts to feels like 9/11 all over again…
This book is a brilliant insight into one experience of growing up Muslim in modern-day America, which translates very easily for readers in the UK. Themes of identity, racism and politics are very much one part of the story; more than anything, this book is about falling in love and finding your own path, whatever your background. Maya is a funny, intelligent protagonist that teenagers will really enjoy getting to know.
There is strong language and violence when Maya suffers an Islamophobic attack, but generally this book is suitable for young teens as well as older ones.