Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Review: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Pages: 384
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 2/5
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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, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a 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.

Friends, I am a huge ball of disappointment right now. Excuse me well I devour some pizza to get me through this review.

The Love Interest immediately made it to the top of my most need now, give me ARC in exchange for my black soul list when I realized it was about a school that trains spies to infiltrate these girls lives for whatever reason. They send in two boys to compete to win her heart. That part didn't get me. The twist was the boys end up falling for each other. I'M HERE FOR THAT!
What actually proceeded to happen was a hot fucking mess. The sort with poor execution and extremely one-dimensional characters.

In theory, The Love Interest should have been wonderfully meta. It literally plays on every trope and cliche that YA has overused throughout the past ten years. An M/F/M love triangle that consists of the bad boy and nice boy competing to win the heart of this unique and unknowingly beautiful girl, who is not like ANY OTHER GIRL. EVER. This spy school makes(trains) these boys to be YA cliches. The boys know nothing about the real world except for what they watch and read in popular teen media. This should have been fucking hilarious. And for the first fifty pages or so I was so into it. I'm thinking this could be possibly one of the best things to happen to my YA loving heart. We now all know how that thinking turned out...

The three most important things about a book failed me here. Let's start with the characters. Caden, Dyl and Juliet were literal personifications of their main traits. Caden the nice. Dyl the bad. And Juliet the different beautiful girl. Let's just outright scratch Juliet from the rest of this review. There is nothing to say except zzzzzzzzz. Caden and Dyl, every time the scene gave them the opportunity to explore their true personalities, away from acting as the cliched nice or bad, I had high hopes. We're going to get some swoony and fun gay moments. GIMMIE. Maybe once or twice, yes, but holy god was the rest terrible. These three characters, the satire, and fun that could have been had. What a missed opportunity.

There's no plot. There's no world building. And hey, I tell you guys every time that I am a character driven reader. So world building isn't the end all be all for me. BUT, when a book is missing everything that lack of world building and plot development becomes an issue. The Love Interest is about a spy school and the main character realizing how much he wants freedom and to be himself. So let's take down the establishment, bro. The end. There is zero development or movement from that line.

I think the absolute real killer for me was the writing. Like I said, the satire that was expected to come from this read was non-existent. The dialogue was flat, flat, flat. One cheesy, cliched, unemotional line after another. At the 60% mark, I was so over everything. I was bored and thus commenced the skimming. I thought about giving up, but this book still had me hoping for something to save it from itself.

I was here for the promised gayness. Caden had some decent moments well he was coming to terms with his sexuality. The dude grew up in a place that probably wasn't super okay or open about being your true self. So I was alright with giving him a minute to figure that out.

Caden and Dyl's "relationship" on the other hand was not the burning focal point that I expected it to be. Again, it had its moments. But there was also a whole bunch of harmful bits. In fact, for like 50 pages it veered into queer baiting territory, and this girl was fucking livid. From that point on, their relationship wasn't salvageable.

Disappointments are the hardest. I can handle a terrible read when I didn't have any expectations. But when I feel like I'm promised something and the execution fails so epically, it's a letdown. There's your Catch-22; are expectations the real one to blame here?

I mean, if you can get over a very flat story and characters, The Love Interest delivers on the fun scale. It doesn't take its self seriously. It's a cliched mess in exactly the way it's meant to be. There are no surprises. The Love Interest is ten years of YA tropes in 400 pages.

Happy reading!



  1. I like the teenage spy thing but it sounds like the execution was so poorly done it's not worth the time. I don't mind it being trope-y if the author is having some fun with it. But between the boring characters and the flat story I think I'll pass!

  2. So much potential... for so much meh. Sounds the the characters were as flat as the pages of the book. And I'm still laughing at your "here for the promised gayness" line. LOL Sorry it didn't deliver.