Stranger in Love
Reviewed by Stephanie Elizabeth Long for Reader Views (12/2022)
The highs and lows of dating are well detailed in this contemporary love story about Taylor and Jamie—two strangers who match on a dating app. Made up of exclusively texts and emails exchanged between the pair, the story comes to life as the reader peruses the messages—interpreting the tone and filling in the details where necessary. The author has cleverly kept the names androgynous, so readers can attach whatever gender they choose to the characters.
Are Taylor and Jamie truly a match? Will sparks fly, or will they swipe left and keep searching?
“Stranger in Love” by Teymour Shahabi is refreshingly unconventional—boasting an intriguing storyline with quirky but lovable characters whose playful banter transforms into meaningful conversation. It is a story that reflects our dependence on technology and one that will resonate with anyone who sought love through online dating.
The prose is decadent and brimming with personality. Taylor and Jamie have a penchant for ruminating over mundane things like picnics and thunderstorms in an almost lyrical way that will entertain readers. They discuss feelings, have disagreements, and poke fun at one another, which is widely entertaining. Both sticklers for grammar and punctuation, the book will appeal to English enthusiasts who love the art of wordplay.
Despite the unconventional delivery, the author deftly illustrates the exciting, albeit frustrating, concept of dating in a big city. From the infancy of first dates and impressions—wondering if they had a good time or speculating why they haven’t called/texted yet to developing deeper feelings, the conversations between Jamie and Taylor depict the natural course of a new relationship, and I enjoyed watching it all unfold.
Without specifying gender or describing any physical attributes of the characters, I thought it would be difficult to be immersed in the book. But my imagination filled in all the gaps. Almost straight away, I conjured up images and genders for Taylor and Jamie. I love that these things could vary from reader to reader—allowing for inclusivity.
“Stranger in Love” checked off all the boxes for an engaging read. I found the eccentricities of the main characters endearing and humorous, and the author’s flair for poetics gave the writing an extra layer of intrigue. So if you love dialogue and quirky love stories, look no further; this book is it!