Title: No Filter & Other Lies
Author: Crystal Maldonado
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Queer/LGBTQ+, Fiction
You should know, right now, that I’m a liar.
They’re usually little lies. Tiny lies. Baby lies. Not so much lies as lie adjacent.
But they’re still lies.
Twenty one-year-old Max Monroe has it all: beauty, friends, and a glittering life filled with adventure. With tons of followers on Instagram, her picture-perfect existence seems eminently enviable.
Except it’s all fake.
Max is actually 16-year-old Kat Sanchez, a quiet and sarcastic teenager living in drab Bakersfield, California. Nothing glamorous in her existence–just sprawl, bad house parties, a crap school year, and the awkwardness of dealing with her best friend Hari’s unrequited love. But while Kat’s life is far from perfect, she thrives as Max: doling out advice, sharing beautiful photos, networking with famous influencers, even making a real friend in a follower named Elena. The closer Elena and “Max” get–texting, Snapping, and even calling–the more Kat feels she has to keep up the facade.
But when one of Max’s posts goes ultra-viral and gets back to the very person she’s been stealing photos from, her entire world – real and fake — comes crashing down around her. She has to figure out a way to get herself out of the huge web of lies she’s created without hurting the people she loves.
But it might already be too late.
I really enjoyed this book!
No Filter and Other Lies follows teenage Kat Sanchez. Kat is a fat Boricua and she owns it. She just wishes someone besides her friends or grandparents would hear what she has to say. When she creates a profile and uses her friend Becca’s face, Max Monroe is born. Then one of Max’s photos goes semi viral and for once people are listening to what Kat has to say. After feeling invisible for so long, the power is intoxicating. But when one of Max’s followers starts to become a true friend to Kat, she doesn’t know how to untangle her web of lies.
Wow this book was so timely. The way Instagram functions and the way it can impact us is wild. We really see the highs and lows of social media through Kat’s story. I loved getting to know Kat. Her love of dogs was easily one of my favorite parts of her. The way she uses her love of photography to help the animals at a local shelter get adopted melted my heart. And the way Kat champions Cash, a three legged pitbull, was just so adorable. More animal companions in books? Yes please!
The way this book addresses relationships was so good. Kat tends to hold in a lot of her feelings, but through this book we see her start to find her voice and begin to express some of the things she’s been holding in. I loved how this book addressed boundaries and how setting them can be scary, but true friends will respect them.
Kat’s relationship with her grandparents was everything. Her grandparents basically raised her and they’re all still so close. I loved her interactions with them so much. Her parents on the other hand. That was something else. I liked that Kat was allowed to set a boundary with her mom and she’s in charge of how, when or if that relationship will be continued. Her dad was more of a passive participant, but I was really glad with what he told her at the end of this book. I’m so glad to see toxic parents not being granted their every whim and want.
Kat’s actions in this book definitely had me tugging at my hair, but I completely understand why she did what she did. It wasn’t right, but she does ultimately face up to what her actions did and accepts the consequences dealt to her. I think this book is extremely timely and I hope young people who use social media will use this story as a cautionary tale on what not to do.
Rep: Fat Puerto Rican bisexual female MC with anxiety, fat white sapphic female love interest, Indian cishet male side character, Puerto Rican cishet male side character, Puerto Rican side characters.
CWs: Panic attacks, emotional/verbal abuse, child abuse, child neglect, gaslighting, mental illness (anxiety), parental abandonment, toxic relationship (parent/child). Moderate: fatphobia, underage alcohol consumption.