book review · Uncategorized

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

I don’t exist to teach her a lesson, and it irks me that she thinks labelling me is okay now. Like, by liking guys, I automatically take on that role in her life. That I’m suddenly a supporting character in her story rather than the hero of my own.

Okay so a brief plot summary – spoiler free of course! The Love Interest is set in a version of our world where a corporation called LIC identifies people of importance during their childhood and, when they become interested in people romantically, sends two of their spies in to woo them. This book follows Caden who has been trained his whole life to be a typical Nice guy, he goes up against Dylan, a Bad boy. Whoever gets the girl gets to live a lie, whoever doesn’t dies.

This gets a bit complicated for Caden when her realises two things: 1. He’s not straight and 2. Dylan’s the only person he can be himself around.

My spoiler free impressions…

I really enjoyed this book. I read it in less than a day (at the moment that’s really saying something) and really just couldn’t put it down. The concept was original, and I loved it. It had a dystopian feel while feeling like it was taking place in our world now which was a really awesome way of seeing how another’s perspective can change the way things appear. Caden was a really likable character because he was so real, I liked his conflict between how he feels inside and the Nice guy he has to play. The relationship development between him and Dylan was also really good, particularly in the first half and I really found myself rooting for these guys.

My original impression was that this was a 5* read. However, I have one issue with the storyline which has really niggled at me since I finished reading and, for that reason alone, I’m dropping it to 4.5*. I can’t really go into this without being mega spoilery so keep reading if you want to find out why but don’t mind me ruining the book for you!

My spoilery impressions

**********SPOILERS AHEAD – in case you didn’t get that from the title************

Okay so I loved the romance between Dylan and Caden in the first half of the book, it reminded me of Red, White, and Royal blue with higher personal stakes. Like Alex and Henry, massive public scandal, lives potentially destroyed. Dylan and Caden – they will literally get murdered by a robot creepily named the stalker.

Now my problem with the book was when Caden decided to say fuck it, I don’t want to live like this, and especially not if Dylan’s going to die. Dylan’s initial response to this is to turn round and say ‘Yeah, I’m not gay, I was just manipulating you.’ I really didn’t like this part of the book and especially Dylan’s motivations behind saying this. Based on what happens in the rest of the book I think that Dylan initially was friendly with Caden (may or may not have been to try and undermine him), realised he was gay and then tried to use it against him while being in denial about actually liking guys himself.

My problems with this are as follows:

  1. Because you don’t get Dylan’s perspective you don’t know how much was a lie or not. I would have felt much happier if I had known when Dylan was manipulating him or not, and, if he was manipulating him throughout, being able to see the internal conflict at this
  2. I feel like it’s quite convenient that Dylan then comes to terms with his sexuality over the next few days while being chased by a murderous robot. Again, this is something that it really would have helped to have Dylan’s perspective from
  3. Caden forgives him way too fast

I would have preferred that Dyl’s reason for giving this reaction as to try and convince Caden to save himself and, only afterwards, realising that Caden had already confessed everything to Juliet but then it being difficult to get Caden to trust him again.

This was my main problem with the plot, overall, it was enjoyable though and I’ve definitely already reread the epilogue several times. Some of the supporting characters, including Juliet (the girl they’re both wooing) are underdeveloped but I think that’s to be expected in a standalone and I think it helps that, from Caden’s perspective, it doesn’t really matter what these people are like. Juliet could be the worst person in the world, and he would still have to pretend to be in love with her.

If I’m nit-picking, there was something about the ending where Caden throws Dyl a black top and he’s wearing black underwear. I know that Dyl is breaking away from that Bad boy image by going for his dream career as a paramedic, but I don’t know, I would have liked it to be really clear that they were the real them. Like Dyl consistently goes on about not really feeling the bad boy vibes but the black clothes to me just suggested he was still living it a bit…

Maybe I’d have liked some weird comment about Dyl discovering he could wear his favourite colour, and maybe it was something like orange so now he wears it all the time and looks like a traffic cone, but Caden doesn’t care because they can finally be themselves?

Anyway all in all a thoroughly enjoyable standalone which I would 100% recommend!

4 thoughts on “The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

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