REVIEW: The Love Interest

the love interest header
Book Review: The Love Interest
book cover Book title The Love Interest
Series/standalone standalone
Author Cale Dietrich
Pages 384
Year published 2017
Category | Genre Young Adult | Sci-fi | Contemporary
Rating 2.5star

Official Summary

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.


In A Nutshell

A book aiming to subvert tropes in YA fiction, but eventually suffers from lack of worldbuilding and poor execution.


  • Let’s start with the positives. This book aimed to subvert YA tropes, specifically the love triangle trope. In that regards, I’d say that Dietrich largely succeeded. Even though I never felt the potential of a love triangle brewing at any point in the book, it’s refreshing to see a protagonist who didn’t ultimately fall in love with their chosen one.
  • The blurb. The premise. The concept. The marketing of the book. The Love Interest has this great concept, that behind every great person, there is a spy reporting their every move to a secret organization. I really liked the concept and it’s actually could be made believable. It was, I believe, what made most people read The Love Interest. Well, that and the promise of gay romance.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • Plot holes and poor worldbuilding. The Love Interest was supposed to be a blend between contemporary and SFF. Unfortunately, as science fiction, it failed to deliver due to inconsistency, unexplained plot holes, and convenient timings of things to cover those holes. I could go on and on listing things, but I’d just give some examples to avoid giving out major spoilers.
    One, there was a teenager building dangerous weapons (I’m talking about Avengers-grade weapons, here) in her shed at home, and no one – authority or bad guys – was getting concerned?! At no point in the book, Juliet’s inventions were shown to be kept top secret – she talked freely to Caden about them – yet no one attempted to recruit or kidnap or end her? I found that hard to believe.
    Two. Kaylee was supposedly monitoring Caden’s every move. However, she was conveniently ‘not listening’ at crucial moments. Also, the implant, there were problems with that too.
    Those were just a few things I noticed. Overall, the tech was also not explained very well in term of how they work, which is a let down for me.
  • Awkward dialogues and lack of chemistry. When it comes to romance in SFF books, I have mixed feelings. I am okay with them most of the time, as long as they’re not taking over the story and turned the protagonist into a blabbering mess around their love interest. The dialogue in The Love Interest, though, brings awkward to another level. And it’s not just the interaction between Caden-Dylan or Caden-Juliet either, it’s the whole thing, the whole book. This book is Dietrich’s debut and it certainly feels like one. I do think his writing has potential so here’s hoping for better written dialogue in the future.
    Speaking of chemistry, there was just nothing between Caden-Juliet or Dylan-Juliet that showed us that they have something special so it’s truly surprising to me that Juliet bought it. But then again, this book is a satire, so maybe that is intentional?

Final Score

2.5 stars (out of 5 stars)


The Love Interest was an attempt to subvert tropes, and as such Dietrich’s effort is appreciated. Ultimately, however, it was a disappointment due to plot inconsistency, plot holes, thin worldbuilding, and awkward dialogues.

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