The Love Interest

The Love Interest

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
6
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In a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies, the stakes are high for two agents, Caden and Dylan, whose mission to compete for a girl destined for great power becomes complicated when Caden finds himself falling in love with his competition.
The agents of the secret spy organization are all teenagers. 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. They have to be at the top of their game-- because whoever the girl doesn't choose will die. But things become complicated when Caden finds himself falling in love with Dylan.
Publisher: New York :, Feiwel and Friends,, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250107138
125010713X
Characteristics: 377 pages ; 22 cm

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Levi_Hayes Apr 13, 2018

After having a day to sit on this before reviewing it, I realized that there are a lot of things left unexplained by the ending that really shouldn't have been, which is where the 4.5 comes from. But I would rate up to 5 instead of down to 4, because this book had me relating to Dyl and Caden like nobody's business! They are an absolutely adorable couple and I want more fluff from them, ugh.
I was a little hesitant to pick this book up because the general plot seemed to be Caden and Dyl would fight each other in trying to win Juliet's feelings; I figured there would be a lot of Caden and Juliet screen time and not very much Caden and Dyl. But to my surprised delight, most of the screen time was Caden and Dyl and there's really very little Juliet at all, which suited me just fine because I wasn't reading it for her.
The idea of Love Interests is a little weird, but Dietrich writes it with enough backstory to sound believable; the LIC uses them in order to trade secrets, since secrets can be very valuable, even more than money--they can destroy empires. It was nice to get that little bit of detail when the story focuses on Caden, who wouldn't necessarily know all of that information on his own.
I didn't like Juliet going into the story because she was in the way of Dyl and Caden being a thing, even though she was the reason they were brought together in the first place. But while Caden and Dyl seemed very well written, Juliet did not. Neither did Nat for that matter. Trevor is somewhere in between the two. Together as a group, their dynamic was better, but as individual characters, Juliet's personality seemed really shallow and blah. I liked her nerdy gadgets, though. It kept me from hating her entirely. And there is a thing involving Nat that did shock me and made me like her a little more, too.
Since this is a standalone novel, once you get halfway through you realize the whole book isn't going to be about Dyl and Caden fighting over Juliet. You know the direction it will end up going long before the end and you know the ending, ultimately. But there are twists and turns along the way that make you doubt that once in a while, and it's certainly not a seamless, perfect HEA. Caden is the one who falls for Dyl first, but the nature of Love Interests means you have to doubt Dyl's authenticity even though you really don't want to (Kaylee is the 'voice of reason' in this regard but I hate her guts so I won't talk about her). The boys click more than either of them ever do with Juliet, and it's the perfect slow burn through the whole novel with the added drama that Caden gets super jealous when Dyl interacts with Juliet for all the reasons he isn't supposed to. This makes you jealous and angry as a reader as well, because you're rooting for Dyl and Caden, and I wanted them together so badly.
There's a very good balance of personal drama, external drama, action, and fluff. And Juliet aside, it didn't seem quite as whiny and juvenile as most teen books are; Caden and Dyl were raised in a compound their whole lives and trained to be spies. As such they are going to be more grown up than the average teenager and that showed in how they were both written. It all works together to create the perfect atmosphere, and while some things are probably none too original, Caden and Dyl got my feels right from the start and that was all I really wanted. But definitely be prepared to feel irked when Dyl and Juliet are hanging out. I think I was more upset about it than Caden was...

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Apr 05, 2018

Overall, I thought the book had a good plot behind it and ideas, with romance and action/suspense. However, I felt that the writer could have delivered it in a better manner or style. An organization works to send in "spies" amongst the midst of potentially powerful people, to further use secrets for financial gain. In this cruel society two boys must both try and win the heart of a young girl, and the loser will be exterminated. I liked the idea of the book when picking it up, but after reading it I found it to be the work of a "inexperienced" author. Good morals/lessons though! 4/5 Stars @Siri of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

VaughanPLAlison Feb 08, 2018

A really interesting concept with some great characters, tense moments, romance and action. I'm not sure if the shadowy organization was as fleshed out as it could be, but it was still very intriguing. My only other issue was I was never 100% sure where this was set. I got the impression it was supposed to be set in the US, but since the author is Australian there was some Aussie slang used in the dialogue. Overall though, worth a read.

b
BogartBlue23
Nov 10, 2017

I LOVED it. The idea fresh, interesting, and the characters are as equally charming as they are challenging. The book plays brilliantly on common YA tropes, but spins them in a fresh light. The ending came a little too easily, though. My only other complaint is how one relationship justifies cheating, but everyone has different views on relationships, and I don't want to put my personal views on fictionalized characters. I only mention it because I know it's a topic that could potentially turn readers off. An overall thrilling read. I cannot wait to read more from this author.

m
miraellie
Aug 03, 2017

Ridiculous fun, playing on familiar YA tropes and creating an empowering story for characters that don't often get the spotlight in media. The dialogue was a little rough at times and the conclusion to the story required a pretty big suspension of disbelief--actually, the whole book requires that to an extent--but it's so much fun that I didn't care about the flaws.

s
samrouthier
Jul 27, 2017

This novel sounds great on the jacket and is generally entertaining, subverting several firmly held tropes that are a staple of the post-twilight era of YA. That being said, the author's own inexperience does show. The first two acts of the book are solid, though he misses out on some serious emotional foreshadowing. It isn't until the third act of the book that your realize that for someone who is supposedly writing about spies, he doesn't know how to write a spy novel. All the conflict suddenly goes out the window and the pace goes from normal to hyper-speed. This hurts the main conflict in the book as our main characters have no time or space to further explore their own feelings. There is a unneeded character death that is supposed to make it feel our characters are in danger (it doesn't work) and the resolution is so short it feels like you've been cheated. The author simply drops the supporting characters in their entirely even though a sub plot would've made the book far more interesting.

Overall, the idea of this novel is genius but the execution fails to live up to expectation.

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