Love is the most powerful emotion that human beings experience in their lives. The fact that life is unpredictable and every day happens once in a lifetime motivate every person to do their best to live in the moment they are so that their life is less about regrets and more about memories that they create. “Lovestruck: The Story of Raj and Riya” by Pratyush Madhav is a story where the author creates a world that is created by living and enjoying the moments that life gives the characters and how they make the best out of it.

As a title, “Lovestruck” seems interesting and makes the readers think of the many meanings it could carry, although it is just one word that sums up the book as a whole. However, when the readers read the subtitle “The story of Raj and Riya,” their imagination takes a bigger leap, and while they feel they have cracked the story, that is where they are surprised by the author in the manner in which he begins the story. This is where the author has the readers in his grip, and they are prompted to read the book. At the same time, the cover of the book is simple and direct, yet the colors used may ignite the imagination of the readers. They may interpret the upcoming plot in different ways. This element of unpredictability and openness becomes a key attraction for sure.

Madhav centres the action of “Lovestruck” on the polar opposites of the Indian mainland and enriches the plot with plentiful cross-cultural references where on the one hand, he shows the cultural diversity of India and at the same time shows how there can be no barriers that can stop people from connecting with each other, no matter how culturally different they may be. At the same time, he infuses different themes and issues that operate as the plot is constructed. Since the book revolves more or less around contemporary youth culture, readers can find issues like college life and the challenges it brings for college-goers who have to leave their homes for education, indulging in politics, whether appropriate for the youth or not, life being unpredictable as a whole, society and its conservative and resisting nature, different forms of love experienced by a person in their lifetime, the problems life brings along with the carefree times and many more issues that the readers can trace as they read along.

In terms of structure, the novel is well-paced and does not go into unnecessary detailing. From the beginning, the author picks up the novel at a fine speed which also makes the readers comfortable in reading the novel in one sitting and enjoy it equally. The narrative is also not crowded by an abundance of characters to confuse the readers. It is more or less centred around the title characters and focuses on their lives and developing them. They appear lively and realistic and grow into mature, responsible individuals as their years pass. Madhav carefully shows the development of the connection of the characters in a carefully arranged sequence of events by dividing the book into chapters of varying lengths but not too long. The lesser characters make “Lovestruck” a book that can be read by all kinds of readers. The readers who want to begin their journey into the world of reading can try reading this book, and also the ones who have been reading for a good time can also read it. Also, the readers who want to read a book that has the features of both a youth romance and the flavour of reality can try reading Madhav’s work.

The readers get to see the cultural diversity through their eyes, and the belief of love not differentiating on any basis is reinforced. People who are interested in reading college romances which are created with a fusion of hard-hitting reality and also the underlying message that life is not all about being a fairytale can try reading “Lovestruck.” While, for once, they may find the novel to be predictable and like mainstream writing, they would soon change their opinion about it. The depiction of life in polar opposite zones and people caught in between may also may the situations relatable for many readers who may have experienced the same. They may find the situations relatable to quite an extent. This depiction shows the maturity of the author in handling a theme that is free of any bias or prejudice and shows it all in pure form. The appeal may go beyond continental boundaries, too, as there are no boundaries for people to connect.“Lovestruck” as a whole is not just a book about being struck in love or by love, its richness in themes makes it a book that is worth reading by all.

Book Title: Lovestruck
Author Name: Pratyush Madhav
Publisher:Blue rose publishers
Paperback: 152 Pages
ISBN-13: ‎978-9354272493
Reviewed by: Akhila Saroha, Criticspace Literary Journals

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