The Love Interest
Written by: Cale Dietrich
Number of Pages: 375
Average Rating: 3.16/5 stars
My Rating: 2/5 stars
Published: May 2017
Read in November 2017
Summary According to Goodreads
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.
Caden is a Nice: the boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: the brooding, dark-souled guy who is dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose the Nice or the Bad?
Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be - whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.
What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.
This novel was one that I was beyond looking forward to, but if I had to summarize my reading experience in one word I would say: disappointment. The plot seemed like one that I would really enjoy, even though it had been a while since I’ve read something dystopian-ish.
The plot seems very contemporary, but unfortunately it was more angst and drama than romance. I am struggling trying to find the right words to describe this, but it was just so poorly done. There was no action or thrill, even when we got to the climax of the story it was boring. I was captivated by the idea that teenagers were being trained as spies and having people fall in love with them to learn their secrets - for me it totally went against the cliche romance story - but it was not realistic. The main girl, Juliet, is a shy science nerd with only a couple close friends and has never been on a date. But suddenly two hot guys show up at her school in the middle of the semester and are smitten with her? Only in young-adult literature.
The characters were so dramatic, so cliche, and so unrelatable. One of my biggest draws into picking up this novel was the idea that the two boys end up falling for each other, and I am still so angry at the hot mess that scenario became. I was so aggravated by that “twist” that I put the book down for a solid 24 hours and even then struggled to pick it back up and finish. I don’t want to give away what this moment was, but I felt as though it downplayed the importance of an LGBTQIA character, while also making it seem like a joke. As I say in almost every review, the most important thing to me in a novel (especially contemporary) is characters, and I didn’t care what happened to any of these characters. The society they worked for could have killed them all off, and I wouldn’t have batted an eye.
I think this novel could have been stronger if it was about 100 pages shorter. There were so many scenes or expanded dialogue that added absolutely nothing to the overall story, and slowed down the pacing. There is also a short epilogue at the end of the novel, which I also found unnecessary. Reading it I could tell that it took on a different tone, not in the way that our character grew but that it was written later as a last-minute addition. The characters felt different and the atmosphere was different, it just didn’t add anything redeeming.
Overall, this is a novel that had potential to be great, but was just poorly executed. I hate that this review sounds so negative, but I was so sure this would be on my favourites list for the year. I give a little credit to the fact that it is a debut author, and I like the uniqueness of the spy-lovers plot line, but there was a lot of room for improvement. This is definitely not the first spy/contemporary novel that I would recommend, but I didn’t hate it enough to say it isn’t worth the read.