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Teymour Shahabi
Stranger in Love
You’ve matched with Jamie! So begins the story of Taylor and Jamie, told entirely, one day at a time, through text messages, social media posts, dating profiles, emails, and journal entries. Their genders are left up to the reader. This is the story of any of us trying to solve the oldest problem of all in a modern world—love.

Semi Finalist

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10


Plot: Words of Love, a romance novel told entirely through text messages, emails, journal entries, and social media posts, is a strikingly poetic work of fiction. Throughout, the characters of Jamie and Taylor reflect poignantly on relationships, their individual passions, and their observations of the busy world unfolding around them.

Prose: Shahabi's prose is the highlight of this work. Rather than coming across as a storytelling gimmick, the unique format serves as a springboard for the author's poetic sensibility and lyricism. 

Originality: While novels told through text messaging or social media have been created before, Words of Love is uncommon in its eloquence, quiet grace, and beauty.

Character/Execution: Though readers may not gain a complete picture of Jamie and Taylor--what they look like, the particulars of their professions--they will nevertheless feel intimately connected to them as they gain an authentic glimpse into their internal lives.

Date Submitted: August 27, 2022