The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
4/5 stars ****
Courtesy: Fierce Reads
Premise- (4/5) This book sounds like everything a lot of people have ever wanted. I looooooove the idea of poking fun at the Bad Boy vs. Nice Guy YA trope. Flipping it on its head by having them fall for each other? Even better. Secret spy organization? Super fun. I really excited to get my hands on this book.
Characters- (3.5/5) I really enjoyed pretty much all the characters. I also thought they pretty much all could've been fleshed out more, but I enjoyed what we did see. I loved Juliet's brilliance and her comfort in her own skin. Natalie and Trevor were very sweet. And of course, Dylan and Caden. I really liked their relationship--admittedly I got a bit nervous towards the end there, but it all worked out. Caden made a good narrator, though I had originally expected both him and Dylan to narrate (not sure why). Like I said, I would've liked more out of the characters, but I enjoyed what we did see quite a bit.
Plot- (3/5) So, I did think the plot was a bit weak. I really enjoyed the first part of the book--reading about Caden and Dylan compete for Juliet's affections was pretty entertaining. When it got to the later part of the book's plot, the big rebellion, I didn't think it was quite as well done. There were a lot of things that just worked out very conveniently. It felt a bit rushed and not quite thought through in some respects. But I did love the way the book ended. It was different, but so important!
World- (4/5) The world of The Love Interest was very interesting. On one hand, there were some world-building things that didn't make a ton of sense to me. Like the whole "every great mind in history had a Love Interest," was a bit hard to buy, but you have to just take that with the book's premise I suppose. I also thought that the way the Company operated didn't always add up. But again, you just sort of have to take that in stride with the premise. I do think it's such an interesting idea. The carefully orchestrated set pieces and events for Caden and Dylan to use to their advantage was really interesting for me. I liked watching them operate in the real world a lot.
Writing- (4/5) The pop culture references were so much fun! (Can't say I got all of them, but still.) Though the writing occasionally felt melodramatic at times, it was really readable. I finished this book in under 12 hours, which is pretty darn quick, even for me. I can't say it was the most beautiful writing I've ever seen, but it was fun. Caden's internal monologue was amusing and overall, the book was well written.
Overall- (3.7/5) One of the most unique books I've read all year. Though the parts of the world and the plot were shaky at times, the play on common YA tropes was really well done. The intriguing premise pulled me in, and the readable writing kept me reading late into the night. The characters weren't quite as three-dimensional as I would've liked, but I liked what we did see. A four star rating is a little generous, but I would totally recommend this to anyone looking for a different take on YA.
Trigger Warnings: suicidal thoughts, violence, dieting/unease with food