This book was fun! Good summer reading fun!
If you’re looking for something heavy with plusable world-building and a slow moving plot then this book is not for you. However, if you’re in the mood for a novel with an angsty M/M/F love triangle, teenage spies, a secret organization, and killer robots (killer robots!) then this is a must read.
Caden is a spy for the Love Interest Incorporated, an organization who sends highly trained teenagers into the field to make their assigned targets fall in love with them. The goal is that they will eventually get married. The corporation then uses the spies to influence their targets, always people who show signs that they will grow up to become top players in their professional fields.
When pairing the target with their love interest spy, the corporation always sends a Nice( a boy-next-door type) and a bad (a wrong-side-of-the-tracks type). The two spies complete for the targets affection until they make a choice. Once that happens, the losing love interest is killed by the corporation (talk about an incentive to work hard). Caden is determined to win, but there is a problem: he starts having feelings for his rival love interest, Dil.
Though the book contains science fiction elements, the plot stays focused on the relationships between the two love interests and their target, a girl named Juliet who has a knack for inventing complex technological gadgets. There’s a lot of introspection as the main character sorts out his feelings for his target and his rival. The past few YA books that I’ve read that feature gay characters showed teenagers who understood their sexual identity from an early age. The Love Interest is different in that it depicts Caden realizing he has feelings for a boy and coming to terms with them. As I read, I couldn’t help but feel that this probably rang true for the many teenagers who don’t grow up realizing their gay at an early age. It was nice to see this represented in YA fiction.
The dialogue is light, the plot is fast moving, the characters are likeable, and, in short, this was a very entertaining novel. If Hollywood wasn’t so scared of putting gay characters on the big screen, it would make a great summer blockbuster style action movie.
If I had any complaints with the book, it would be with some of the story elements in the third act. Some of the dialogue and character actions felt like they had been included to extend the page length and simply for the sake of building tension. They didn’t add to the plot or flesh out the characters. But this is a minor gripe. Overall, the book was great!
I can’t wait to see what Deitrich writes next!