The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

The Love Interest

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...

Title:The Love Interest
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:125010713X
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:377 pages

The Love Interest Reviews

  • ✨    jamieson   ✨

    @past me: why did u gotta hype it so much ??

    This book could have been so good and made so many good points and instead it all just fe

    @past me: why did u gotta hype it so much ??

    This book could have been so good and made so many good points and instead it all just fell flat

    ------------

    Anyway, I spent a few days thinking about this book because honestly? I knew I was disappointed, but I also knew there was some things I liked and I didn't know how to address the book in it's entirety.

    I'll try my best to get everything down in a coherent way, but ya know how it goes - sometimes we struggle.

    I think starting with the good things is an Idea because I don't think this book is 100% awful burn it to the ground right now

    First of all, I think this book was just fun. It reads quickly, and the meta is funny. I liked the dramatisation of common YA tropes and structures and that it poked fun at so many tropes we see in books everyday. I think it just made it really fun and refreshing and kind of gave it a Carry On vibe. This new theatre/book trend of characters being somewhat aware of their status as characters and then deliberately addressing and subverting the structures of their narratives is something I am loving. Anyway, the lowkey snark towards these tropes which really do oversaturate YA was amusing to me and I enjoyed seeing them get dramatised.

    The subversion of the traditional love triangle was refreshing and fun. I liked that Dietrich took the love triangle to a new place, especially since that place gave a voice to lgbt+ people. The love triangle, aside from the fact it's annoying, always categorises people into tropes and I think that's really damaging. So to see those tropes actively presented and unravelled was really clever. I think The Love Interest genuinely did make a good attempt at exploring why attempting to categorise masculinity (or any human expression) is a bad idea

    I really think the lgbt+ representation was nice. To have a gay character scream

    was unbelievably satisfying. Dietrich said in an interview he was sick of gay characters being the stereotyped side character or the character that always gets killed and I think that came through. Caden explicitly talks about why it bothers him gay people are always tokenised and fetishised both in the media and in real life and I think thats an important discussion that needs to be had more often - gay people don't exist to be straight girls gay best friends and I'm glad this brought it up. Plus no #buryyourgays so nice.

    But I think this is where we get into the

    with this book. Because I think where this book fell down is that it tried to say and be too many things at once, so it ended up succeeding in representing none of them.

    I felt like this book had alot it wanted to point out, and it was trying to make a critical commentary but it never quite

    . Thematically, it came off vague and meandered to and from different points of criticism. It didn't really nail any idea and I think that hurt it, because it's hard to pinpoint exactly what I'm reading. Commentary on the flaws of YA? The dangers of categorising masculinity? the poor treatment of lgbt+ characters? feminism? dangers of an increasingly corporate driven world?

    The writing was also just a little messy not awful or unreadable but not

    either. I think thats what damaged it for alot of reviewers. The characters were also just not developed enough and honestly some of the things that happened between them were annoying and unrealistic. I think Juliet and Natalie could have been good characters but ultimately were not complex or explored enough. Juliet was a smart and capable character, which I liked, but she ultimately only really existed to be a plot device. Natalie also had potential but wasn't really ever explored properly.

    I wish this book hadn't normalised cheating.

    Plot wise, the world building wasn't enough and the plot had too many holes. You're telling me these kids disappear for days and no one notices?

    If felt like this book definitely needed more editing, like it felt like so many plot holes and plot conveniences and poor representation just sort of ..... slipped by? The charactrs were so okay with eachother being really shitty and thats annoying af. Because it should have been explored.

    I also think it would have benefitted from a dual POV because I basically know nothing about Dylan lmao. I also hate that there was a queerbaiting plot point URGHGHGJHK. Like, I think it should have been more clear about Dylan's internalized homophobia if that is what it was getting at. I felt like Dylan and Caden had the same dynamic as Philip and Lukas except without the finesse of eyewitness' discussions on internalised homophobia.

    basically me reading this

    URGH. JUST.

    I don't think this was terrible, I really don't. I just think it's upsetting could have been soo much better and all that potential was wasted.

    It is a debut, maybe we are all being too harsh. I think hype totally got ahead of this one and made everyone so expectant of something beautiful and amazing. Hype is a genuine killer.

    I wish this was a series, because I think giving it another book or two would have been really allowed the author to flesh out his themes, characters and world and to slow down and stop rushing so much plot into one tiny book.

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  • brekkersbutt

    my future child: i'm so sorry i disappointed you mom

    me (remembering the love interest): oh sweetie don't you

    worry

  • Kai

    Sounds gay.

  • Simona Bartolotta

    —where the half star stands for “Metafiction. Metafiction everywhere,” and the second one for “I know your message is important and I'm trying to reward you for it even though you are so trashy and I'm not even saying that affectionately.”

    •At the beginning of this semester, one of the first things my professor of English literature told us was, “You won't understand a

    —where the half star stands for “Metafiction. Metafiction everywhere,” and the second one for “I know your message is important and I'm trying to reward you for it even though you are so trashy and I'm not even saying that affectionately.”

    •At the beginning of this semester, one of the first things my professor of English literature told us was, “You won't understand a thing about this literary period (19th century) if you don't understand this first: you can't read a

    as a novel, just like you can't read a novel as a

    . They are two different things, they have different purposes, and therefore they have to be studied according to different criteria.

    .” Now, I'm obviously not going to explain what's the difference because first, that's not the point and second, you can just look it up on the Internet on your own, but trust me when I say my professor was unsurprisingly right, and I've made of that

    (not only when talking books). You can't read a textbook like you'd read a work of fiction, because it would be ridiculous to complain that “nothing happens”; you can't read a horror book like you'd read a children book, because it would be ridiculous to complain that “my kid was so scared we had to let him sleep with us for weeks”; and

    , because the complaint that “it's just too absurd and weird” would probably only prove that the parody did its job well and that in this scenario,

    are the idiot. This is why I think the first thing we should do upon approaching

    is asking ourselves:

    •I believe this is a very good and fair question, and not nearly as stupid as it may seem. Because, you see,

    .

    , as I see it,

    :

    1)

    : everything in it is meant to mock a certain type of YA novel that came into vogue around the time

    by Stephenie Meyer became a media sensation;

    2)

    that in passing mocks, or happens to mock, certain YA tropes;

    3)

    .

    Knowing in which of these categories the book falls is so crucial because my opinion of it changes according to the perspective I adopt. In case 1, I'd rate it three stars out of five, in case 2, a generous, solitary star, and in case 3 two and a half (you see which I've chosen). So yes,

    . Unfortunately,

    , resulting in a hybrid sort of text that's itself as confused as the reader is upon reading it. I'm inclined to blame this

    coherence and

    on

    :

    is a debut and it couldn't show more.

    •The book presents the reader with pure pearls such as this:

    And this:

    And this:

    And countless more. Now

    is how you parody. You take something and show the other side of it, the side from which it seems so ridiculous your readers realize it's actually astonishing it has been considered valid and even

    for so long. Because if it's true that the devil is in the details, God is too, and passages like these I've just quoted convinced me that Dietrich actually put a lot of work into this project. Or at least some parts of it; because

    an endless series of other

    in general,

    . Not that all the romantic ones are always perfectly employed: often they completely miss the target and only manage to make you cringe, but at least there I can see the intention. But a group of teenagers randomly saving the world? Or happening to live near the one compound where the one villain who's absolutely essential to kill is, when the LIC has “Compounds in eleven countries”?

    Are we sure that “it's all a mockery, all intended” didn't become

    to get away with it at one point?

    •Starting from the title,

    openly dallies with metafiction, and in my opinion, this is something it truly does deliciously, all the more so because this discourse is

    the one concerning

    and

    . To explain these points I'm going to need to quote the book, because sometimes they speak for themselves better than we readers and reviewers ever could.

    Had this operation been carried out with a more pleasing and well-finished text and story,

    would have got five stars with no effort at all.

    ➽ I would be a filthy liar if I said I am not

    , because I am. Honestly, I only expected a cute and fresh M/M romance, and not much more than that, but I dare anyone to undervalue a well-written M/M romance, so, yes, my hopes

    high.

    turned out to be aiming way higher that I thought, and, sadly, I believe it missed. It needs to be recognised that

    , though, and that

    . I wish it had been executed better.

  • Vernie

    I'm thinking a 3.5, it was going to be a 3 but that epilogue did something to me.

    Honestly, I wanted this to be my favorite book ever, and I am

    disappointed to report that it is not.

    RTC

    -----------------------------------

    Author: So here's my idea... two boys are supposed to fight for a girl

    one is a bad boy, one is the boy next door, the girl can only choose one.

    Readers: *sips tea* I see.. sounds familiar..

    Author: But instead the

    Readers:

  • Emily May

    I'm going to go on a little tangent to explain my feelings on

    .

    I am a lover of fiction, fantasy and adventure. I love to live in other worlds and believe in the impossible. Therefore, my ability to suspend disbelief is pretty darn good. I can be convinced that a world exists where magic killer unicorns walk the land and wreak havoc with their magic killer unicorn powers. Easy. Where my suspension of disbelief falters, however, is in the details. The hows and the whys. If, say, s

    I'm going to go on a little tangent to explain my feelings on

    .

    I am a lover of fiction, fantasy and adventure. I love to live in other worlds and believe in the impossible. Therefore, my ability to suspend disbelief is pretty darn good. I can be convinced that a world exists where magic killer unicorns walk the land and wreak havoc with their magic killer unicorn powers. Easy. Where my suspension of disbelief falters, however, is in the details. The hows and the whys. If, say, some authority figure in this world ordered that every woman must marry one of these killer unicorns because, um, it's for the good of the, um, land... then I start to see the cracks.

    In short,

    . As long as there is, in fact, a "why". More tangent if you'd like:

    And that's the problem with this book. If you are the kind of reader who

    and

    , then parts of

    will seem really jarring. Parts of the premise are flawed because they just don't make sense.

    Contrary to the shelving I've seen around, this is a kind of dystopian novel. It imagines a world where a secret spy organization plants their spies (known as Love Interests) with anyone important or influential - presidents, CEOs, celebrities, etc. - and attempts to gather information from them. To up their chances of successfully making their target fall in love with the Love Interests, they send two LIs to compete for the person's affection. So far, so good, right? A little implausible, but then all the best books are.

    The thing that doesn't make any sense is why they send one "Nice" (a sweet, guy-next-door type) and one "Bad" (a devilish smirking bad boy). I get that it's supposed to be making fun of the YA trope, but it makes

    . There is no explanation for it, and it repeatedly pulled me out of the book's world.

    That is the biggest fundamental flaw, but there are a myriad other small things scattered throughout that just seemed poorly-conceived. Stupid things like: why are they starving and sharing tuna out of a can in the later chapters of the novel? I get that they don't want their credit card to be traced, but last time I checked, McDonald's (and, like, everywhere) takes cash. And they had cash, just to be clear.

    AND

    . They are especially poor at surveillance and tracking, going offline exactly when Caden needs them to. This is a huge, old, and extremely powerful organization, apparently, but they never show it. It's kind of embarrassing how

    .

    In this particular Love Interest scenario, a girl called Juliet is the target and her two Love Interests are Caden (the "Nice", and the narrator) and Dylan (the "Bad"). They must compete for her affection and the loser will be incinerated. However, something unexpected happens-- Caden finds himself developing feelings for none other than his rival.

    I don't think it was the best decision to have Caden as the lone narrator. He lacked the charisma needed to drive the novel's narrative and his voice was as

    as his LI character was supposed to be (honestly, why someone would think any person would be attracted to a doormat I do not know). It would have been good to get Dylan's perspective to shake things up a bit.

    I would love to see more YA books subverting the traditional love triangle trope, but this wasn't the favourite I'd hoped it would be. I struggled to believe in this concept from the start and Caden was never interesting enough to pull me in.

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  • Clau R.

    This was SO CUTE AND FUN. I'm smiling like an idiot right now.

    I'm telling you, if you don't take this book seriously, you'll enjoy it and you'll have a good time (I mean, I think that the actual book doesn't take itself seriously xD). It was a light read and I had fun, what can I say? I get the reasons behind the bad reviews, and I agree with them in many aspects, but still I enjoyed this :). It was not remarcable nor memorable, it was more like a feel-good book.

  • kazzy boy ⚓

    well i guess i’ve finally found something i was more disappointed in than myself:

    :

    um?????????????terrible???????????\_(ツ)_/???????????

    i'm honestly so fuelled by rage and bitterness and a 100% pure sodium chloride outlook on everything but i’m not going anywhere so

    (actually, if i hadn’t wanted to draw attention to myself, i would've probably been

    atm and my screams would've been

    well i guess i’ve finally found something i was more disappointed in than myself:

    :

    um?????????????terrible???????????¯\_(ツ)_/¯???????????

    i'm honestly so fuelled by rage and bitterness and a 100% pure sodium chloride outlook on everything but i’m not going anywhere so

    (actually, if i hadn’t wanted to draw attention to myself, i would've probably been

    atm and my screams would've been the sound of the unanswered 400 messages i can’t make myself human enough to reply to)

    . i've never been this level of

    ™ in my entire life, and tbh i want to fancy someone and they inevitably break my heart so at least i have something to channel my self-pity into, you feel?

    i mean?? hey

    , if you’re so brilliant why don’t you teach me something practical like how to burn my brain out of my own fvcking skull??? perhaps then i could

    this book has ever happened, thanks

    better yet actually, can we work harder on time travel so i can go back and stop myself from having so many damn

    ???

    because right now, it’s literally like my personality has been factory reset and all i can think about is how

    has

    me. like honest to god, i'd be going about my life and trying to move on but then i'd see this on my feed and it's like

    it’s Her again (at this point i'm fairly certain that it’s the universe that’s been putting the evil eye on me this whole time and she needs to stop)

    so i guess i am just going to cry about this for the rest of my life and that will be my career

    because yeah

    it was really

    fvcking bad, lads lmao

    i think how i feel about literally everything this story encompasses could be best described as

    (i'm walt)

    the only thing i enjoyed about the love interest was the self-indulgent version of it that i wrote in my head before it began to disappoint me. but

    ... now i understand the pain behind

    , especially when the scales has fallen from my eyes into the cake i misguidedly baked for this book in my blindness

    bc in theory, yes it sounded great: two boys are supposed to make this girl fall for them, but instead they fall for each other?? this sounds like something plucked from every YA avid reader's wishlist

    sure the book makes fun of every YA trope out there and i was a big fun of the meta aspects and the discussions about socially constructed normative behaviors for gender roles

    fun stuff and nice message dude.......but then you kinda realise there's just something not quite

    ?? it's like when you check the milk and it says it's still in date but bro you

    you're tasting

    in your mouth

    WHY?? everything was so

    and

    and

    and the equivalent of having someone behind your eyes sucking the colour out of everything and you just want to close them a little longer

    my skills included reading entire pages without absorbing a

    word, i'd literally just let my eyes go totally out of focus and they expand in size so i end up looking like those conspiracy theorists who shout

    whenever something goes wrong

    . it was literally the spiritual equivalent of that sound when you accidentally scrape you fork on your plate and you feel it in your teeth.

    i swear to god reading those

    was more painful than exchanging grammatically correct emails with adults and i was too embarrassed to even look

    i wish there were any demons out there at the time willing to possess me for the duration of the inevitable headache bc it was just so fvcking

    i could swear it was directed by whoever keeps making adam sandler movies and it made me want to grate off my face tbh

    THIS IS NOT HOW VERBAL CONVERSATIONS WORK!!!!!! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST

    sure launches the term "one-dimensional" into a whole new dimension, where characters seem as if someone has stuffed their shells with other people's

    bodies and they just had to carry them around

    (our lone narrator) is like 100% the kind of person who tries too hard to make dogs like him but they smell his desperation and are indifferent, i don't even know where i'm going with this lol but just... man he had

    and i strongly suspect his last drop of character drained out in the shower somewhere on the first chapters.

    i just don't understand why the author wouldn't choose to go with alternating povs??? we got stuck with Uncooked Carrot "

    " Caden, no offense but i'd rather eat ten thousand flaming cockroaches than endure that ever again

    same thing applies to every other character tbh, whatever potential charisma (juliet especially) they could had has dissolved like the central heating is circulating soul acid (i could have sent them some of my personality traits if i wasn’t a big fan of lying down and letting my personhood slip away to think about my eternal disappointment lmao)

    the only way i could have given this more than one star is literally if

    anyway,, that's all. i'm done. if someone could pls send me some wholesome memes to distract myself from the spiral of self-loathing and apathy, i'd appreciate it

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