Stranger in Love by Teymour Shahabi is a love story between Taylor and Jamie told entirely through texts, emails, journal entries, dating profiles and social media posts. It is mostly expressed through Taylor's perspective but we get some insights into Jamie's personality through his texts, emails and social media posts.
Writing book reviews is work, and so sometimes, reading books I'm planning to review also feels like work. I feel the need to specifically mention here that reading this book did not for even an instant feel like work. I devoured it and savoured it. It felt full of infinite thoughts yet felt too short. Simply put, it blew my mind.
Now getting into the review proper, the first thing that struck me about this book is the most obvious, the style. Using this kind of mixed media is quite a risk, but the author pulled it off excellently. This style felt perfectly suited for the contemporary time in which the book is set and aptly expressed Taylor and Jamie's thoughts.
The second thing I enjoyed about this book was the writing style. It was packed full of analogies, deep insights and bizarre inner thoughts. It skipped past shallow pretentious to the deep pool of authenticity. It felt heart-touchingly genuine and lets you understand the characters as if they were lifelong friends. It's quite poetic, but always maintains a simplicity that makes every insight feel as if it were a thought rephrased from your own mind. It's also brilliantly witty and hilarious and continues to entertain from the first word to the last.
Sorrow follows wherever you go
And happiness stays right where you left it.
The third thing I loved about this book was the characters. They have been thoroughly thought-out and never for a moment felt like characters. They were real and realistic, flawed and selfish and irritable. This added a relatability that I believe is essential in contemporary novels especially.
I could point out a thousand other tiny elements I loved about this book but I'll let you discover them for yourselves.
Personally, I would recommend this book to everyone. However, as a reviewer, I will narrow the pool to people who enjoy contemporary romance stories and those who love poetic insights that romanticise life and the world. Anyone above the age of 12 can give this a shot.