The Love Interest – Cale Dietrich

What a strange, strange novel. It was meta. It was possibly satire? It was almost a rom-com. It was partially a dystopian novel. It definitely had a lot of promise, and that promise would likely have been realized under a more masterful wordsmith. At the same time, I feel bad for Mr. Dietrich, since I’m pretty sure all the reviews out there are critiquing his skills as opposed to his story.

Synopsis

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.

Review

What a strange, strange novel. It was meta. It was possibly satire? It was almost a rom-com. It was partially a dystopian novel. It definitely had a lot of promise, and that promise would likely have been realized under a more masterful wordsmith. At the same time, I feel bad for Mr. Dietrich, since I’m pretty sure all the reviews out there are critiquing his skills as opposed to his story.

There were some good moments. The tropes and the commentary on formulaic YA novels was intriguing. And there’s nothing quite as satisfying as someone yelling, “I’m the protagonist, f-cker!”

But there were just too many plot holes. It doesn’t make sense that the LIC is that powerful. It doesn’t make sense that they have the technology to do so much, yet have no other way of controlling their “chosen” few. Why does Juliet even need a love interest if her best friend is already there to fill the LIC in? Why would Caden be selected over someone with history? History is always a plus. And what makes the distinction between the “real, free world” and the slaves stuck as love interests? I don’t understand why some people ended up in the position they did.

Also, the dialogue was so, so cringey and awkward. THINK ABOUT HOW REAL PEOPLE TALK. Because these characters sounded so unrealistic, it hurt. Somehow, I had a really tough time getting invested in the actual love story too. And there were a lot of things going on there that just wasn’t okay. How did people move on from cheating, lying, etc. so easily?

This book definitely had a lot of unrealized potential. What a shame.

Related Reading

  • Boy Nobody/I am the Assassin (series) – Allan Zadoff
  • The Fixer – Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • You Don’t Know My Name – Kristen Orlando

Rating: 2/5

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