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, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a 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.

The Love Interest Details

TitleThe Love Interest
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 16th, 2017
PublisherFeiwel & Friends
ISBN125010713X
ISBN-139781250107138
Number of pages384 pages
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Glbt, Contemporary

The Love Interest Review

  • Kai
    November 15, 2016
    Sounds gay.Find more of my books on Instagram
  • jamieson
    October 7, 2016
    HANG ON. STOP ONE SECONDARE YOU /TELLING ME/THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT A SPY SCHOOLTHAT CULTIVATES TEENAGERS INTO TROPESAND THEN TWO BOYS FROM THE SPY SCHOOLWHO ARE A "BAD BOY" AND A "GOOD BOY"ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING IN W/ THIS CHICKBUT INSTEADFALL FOR EACHOTHERTHIS IS FUCKING AMAZING I NEED IT RIGHT NOW( Y'all. I just preordered this and im SO READY. Even and Isak from Skam saved 2016, will this gay couple SAVE 2017 !? I sure hope so )
    more
  • Anna Priemaza
    March 17, 2016
    "Wouldn't it be better to send us in when we're a bit older? No one finds the love of their life while they're a teenager.""You haven't read any YA novels recently, have you?"So say the characters in this deliciously meta book that pokes fun at so many YA tropes, while somehow still making you swoon over them. Caden, a Nice, has to compete against Dyl, a Bad (complete with leather jacket and sob story to account for his jerky behaviour), to win the affections of their Chosen. The winner gets to "Wouldn't it be better to send us in when we're a bit older? No one finds the love of their life while they're a teenager.""You haven't read any YA novels recently, have you?"So say the characters in this deliciously meta book that pokes fun at so many YA tropes, while somehow still making you swoon over them. Caden, a Nice, has to compete against Dyl, a Bad (complete with leather jacket and sob story to account for his jerky behaviour), to win the affections of their Chosen. The winner gets to spend the rest of his life at her side, spying on her. The loser gets incinerated.To makes things worse, Caden is falling in love with his competition. THE LOVE INTEREST is fast-paced and action-packed. It's sexy. It regularly says, "Oh by the way, I'm using Trope X right now" and makes you laugh because yeah, it totally is using that trope and you're totally swooning over it. I read most of it in a day because I couldn't put it down. This is definitely one you want to pick up.
    more
  • Joshua Gabriel (Forever Bookish Josh)
    March 7, 2017
    My written interview with Cale Dietrich can be found here. Thank you, Feiwel & Friends, for sending me an ARC of this book (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.A Love Interest is who I am, and it's all I'll ever be. Questioning that, or letting other people know that I'm questioning it, will result in my death. —CadenThe Love Interest is one of the most engaging books I've ever read. I'm really impressed that this is Cale Dietrich's debut novel. Although it does have a minor flaw My written interview with Cale Dietrich can be found here. Thank you, Feiwel & Friends, for sending me an ARC of this book (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.A Love Interest is who I am, and it's all I'll ever be. Questioning that, or letting other people know that I'm questioning it, will result in my death. —CadenThe Love Interest is one of the most engaging books I've ever read. I'm really impressed that this is Cale Dietrich's debut novel. Although it does have a minor flaw or two, I am more than willing to give it five stars because it made me have countless moments of nerdy introspection, uncontrollable laughter, and even dreamy sighs. Essentially, The Love Interest is a mixture of YA contemporary and sci-fi. Yes, I this book does have scientific elements; the technology featured in the story is very advanced compared to what we have nowadays. The Love Interest Compound, a secret organization, finds (if not kidnaps) abandoned or unwanted kids, and then educates them in the "arts" of seduction and deception. When the right time comes, these foundlings become spies whose main purpose is to acquire information from particularly special people (e.g. celebrities, politicians, and more). Caden and Dylan, the main protagonists, are assigned to "court"Juliet, a science prodigy. This is not your typical love story, because Juliet can only pick one boy (Tessa Gray of The Infernal Devices might object to this :p), and whoever loses is obliged to prepare himself for the afterlife. (view spoiler)[Plus, Caden and Dylan actually have the hots for each other. (hide spoiler)]If it still isn't obvious, I am an avid fan of The Love Interest. Hopefully, this review will still be objective. Hahaha. The reasons why I loved this book are quite nerdy, so I encourage you to brace yourself and put on your thinking cap. I just really want to prove how substantial this book is. I significantly adore this book's delineation of two Feminist literary theories: Hegemonic Masculinity and Gender Performativity. The former argues that there are many kinds of masculinity and that society prefers some over others; The latter asserts that gender is literally a rehearsed act or performance. If you don't have a nosebleed yet, then please read on. xDThe Love Interest affirms Hegemonic Masculinity in that the Love Interest Compound trains its male foundlings to exhibit two kinds of masculinity: Nice and Bad. This is done in accordance to the belief that girls in society (or at least in YA literature) predictably prefer or fall in love with two kinds of boys: the charming "Boy Next Door" (i.e. Simon Lewis) and the aggressive "Tortured Soul" (i.e. Christian Grey). With that in mind, it is possible to see this book as a satirical commentary on our modern gender stereotypes.In regards to Gender Performativity, this book affirms it by featuring characters who can change their gender roles when it's convenient or necessary. As Love Interests, Caden and Dylan are trained to perform their masculinity (Nice or Bad) with the primary intention of enticing their Chosen. Consequently, they become skilled at suppressing their real identity/masculinity. They are depicted be themselves when they're alone, but their gender roles change in the presence of Juliet. In other words, Caden and Dylan are excellent actors. In fact, they even have their own directors and scripts to follow!Focusing the limelight on Juliet, I must say that The Love Interest is also a positive commentary on femininity. Looking back, I was actually mildly surprised by Juliet's detachment from powerful, negative emotions, such as anger, bitterness, and resentment. It is a common belief or argument that females are generally emotional, but Juliet's personality proves otherwise. Her outstanding intellect is also something to be praised.The only negative thing I have to say about The Love Interest is that its climax seems rushed and disjointed. The first and second parts of the book emanate a YA Contemporary vibe, but the third part suddenly feels like a sci-fi thriller reminiscent of The Terminator. #IncongruousIn its totality, this book is a testament to how Queer YA literature is becoming a force to be reckoned with. I ardently wish for a sequel, though that ending already gave me a sense of closure. Get ready, booknerds. I wouldn't be surprised if The Love Interest would captivate your heart as it did mine.
    more
  • Amber Robertson
    March 7, 2017
    I received an eARC, but this in no way impacts my views.The Love Interest is a book that has me still screaming about it 12 hours later. It is a book that had me screaming at my phone, screaming at myself and crying. It is a book that defied all expectations I had for it, which were mildly low. I didn't want to go in expecting the best, but this is one of the best books I have ever read. Cale Dietrich writes such an amazing story that defeats stereotypes. Two spies, who have to fight it out for I received an eARC, but this in no way impacts my views.The Love Interest is a book that has me still screaming about it 12 hours later. It is a book that had me screaming at my phone, screaming at myself and crying. It is a book that defied all expectations I had for it, which were mildly low. I didn't want to go in expecting the best, but this is one of the best books I have ever read. Cale Dietrich writes such an amazing story that defeats stereotypes. Two spies, who have to fight it out for a girl's affection but fall in love with each other? I mean, if that isn't defeating stereotypes straight up, I don't know what is. There is also the fact that it completely busts through the moulds that YA fiction usually places on people in love triangles - that one is "bad" and the other is "good". Both Caden and Dyl are two characters I basically shipped from their moment of first meeting. I became so giddy and happy. Then every scene that included the pair from then forth made me want to kiss butterflies and hug everyone I saw. Trust me, it's that cute. The story itself isn't exactly original when it gets to the end, but before that, it's pretty damn original. I'm beyond curious in what fueled this author's inspiration and ideas for this novel. Honestly, though, I can't even begin to put anything into words because I don't want to spoil anyone in the slightest. This just has my tick of approval 110%. I had all these ideas for this review, but I'm truly stumped by the beauty that is this novel. More to come possibly closer to the release date.
    more
  • Vernie
    March 16, 2017
    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 two boys fall for each other Readers:
    more
  • Katerina Kondrenko
    September 23, 2016
    Look at THIS. Poor guys would have to charm the girl (or die), but they'll develop feelings for each other. Me already on their ship.
  • Natalie Monroe
    June 3, 2016
    If the "competition" is a guy meant to be the other half of the love triangle, I will absolutely lose my shit.
  • Simona Bartolotta
    November 15, 2016
    It's just me or this does sound Impossibly Cool? (Please notice the capital letters because, really, Impossibly Cool. I need it, like, yesterday.)
  • Holly Jennings
    July 16, 2016
    Start the fangirling now. I was fortunate enough to read an early copy of this book, and I couldn't put it down. For all of you wondering if this is "a love triangle turned on its head, where the special girl becomes the third wheel between two guys, who fall for each other instead." Yes, yes it is -- and it's so much more.Full disclosure: the author and I are with the same literary agency, which is how I got my hands on an early copy. It has not affected my review in any way. It's definitely ve Start the fangirling now. I was fortunate enough to read an early copy of this book, and I couldn't put it down. For all of you wondering if this is "a love triangle turned on its head, where the special girl becomes the third wheel between two guys, who fall for each other instead." Yes, yes it is -- and it's so much more.Full disclosure: the author and I are with the same literary agency, which is how I got my hands on an early copy. It has not affected my review in any way. It's definitely very Young Adult in the best way possible. It flips all those tiresome YA tropes around, and still dumps you in the deep end of the "new, unexplored emotions" that truly define the teenage years. The love story -- the real love story -- is a slow burn, and it's worth every moment. There are scenes that, when they finally come, are so well earned I've gone back and read them again and again. And again. I have never encountered a book where I so badly wanted to stick my hands into the story and make the characters kiss. I don't want to get all political, but in a time when love is love is love -- this is also an important book. That's all I'll say about that.And it's so much more than a love story. It's about a young man designated to be "the best friend, the nice guy, the one-next-door," someone who isn't meant to be anything more than the love interest. But instead of conforming to his trope, he takes the story into his own hands and figures out who he is as a character and as a person. The story starts at a compound named The LIC, where young male characters are bred and raised to be either 'Nice Guy' or 'Bad Boy' love interests for the all important 'Special Girl' protagonist. This is where we meet Caden - a lovable 'Nice Guy' character who hides his perfect abs behind worn sweaters and a shy smile. Before he sets out on his directive to win over the special girl Juliet, he meets his rival: 'Bad boy' Dyl complete with a leather jacket, a motorcycle, and a tragic backstory. But as the plotline progresses, the love interests realize that they're not falling for Juliet, and find each other much more appealing. Here's the problem: for love interests, the male character who doesn't win the girl gets killed off the page, and if neither do, the story itself comes undone.Flipped tropes. A twisty plot. Kissing boys. Are you excited yet??Somehow, this book is sci-fi, contemporary, romance, action, and LGBT without stretching any of those labels too thin. Above all, it's also about friendship. I know I'm going on and on about this novel, but I've read several since, and it's the one I keep thinking about. Bottom line: read this book. It's different, it's wonderful, and I doubt you'll be disappointed.
    more
  • Emi Miranda
    March 18, 2017
    Will I be reading this book about gay spies the second it comes out? Hell yes.
  • Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
    March 2, 2017
    This sounds EXACTLY like a Tumblr post I recently saw. That doesn't mean I'm not 100000000% here for it.
  • georgia
    September 11, 2016
    can i just... THIS IS EVERYTHING I'VE EVER WANTED AND I'M SO EXCITED
  • Maria *insert this week's favourite male name*
    January 12, 2017
    OKAY THIS SOUNDS SO EPIC ITS THE FIRST TIME IM SO EXCITED ABOUT A BOOK THAT ISNT PART OF A BELOVED SERIES OF MINEGUYS THIS HAS TO BE EPIC , DONT LET ME DOWN BOOK I NEED IT NOW
  • Elise
    October 13, 2016
    This sounds absolutely amazing????? When can I have it????? I neeeeed it.
  • Lauren James
    September 19, 2016
    I just read this whole thing in one sitting. ONE SITTING. I didn’t even mean to, I just couldn’t stop! It’s so good, it’s the perfectly mix of subtle satire & really good action plot. I’ve never read a YA spy thriller before, and now that I have, I want EVERY YA TO BE A SPY THRILLER. It was that good. And the characterisation! There’s layer upon layer of development, as each character has their fake and real identities, all of which have separate character arcs. I’m in awe of how Dietrich ke I just read this whole thing in one sitting. ONE SITTING. I didn’t even mean to, I just couldn’t stop! It’s so good, it’s the perfectly mix of subtle satire & really good action plot. I’ve never read a YA spy thriller before, and now that I have, I want EVERY YA TO BE A SPY THRILLER. It was that good. And the characterisation! There’s layer upon layer of development, as each character has their fake and real identities, all of which have separate character arcs. I’m in awe of how Dietrich kept track of it all. He’s a character genius. The ending broke my heart and put it back together in a million different ways.
    more
  • Carlie Sorosiak
    June 29, 2016
    I'm going to lead with a strong statement: Love Interest is one of my favorite books that I've read in the last five years, and it's definitely the most addicting. I know I'm not supposed to have favorites, but... It's just the best, okay?Initial reaction to hearing about the premise: I've seen people wondering if Love Interest is like if Peeta and Gale fell in love with each other instead of with Katniss, and YES! YES! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT'S LIKE EXCEPT MORE AWESOME. Okay, I'm going to rambl I'm going to lead with a strong statement: Love Interest is one of my favorite books that I've read in the last five years, and it's definitely the most addicting. I know I'm not supposed to have favorites, but... It's just the best, okay?Initial reaction to hearing about the premise: I've seen people wondering if Love Interest is like if Peeta and Gale fell in love with each other instead of with Katniss, and YES! YES! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT'S LIKE EXCEPT MORE AWESOME. Okay, I'm going to ramble for a minute, because all of this awesomeness has scrambled my brain.You know those books where you're a few pages in and you just think: This is it. This is EVERYTHING. I got that immediate feeling with Love Interest and it delivered and just kept on delivering. It's sexy. So freaking sexy. Like, hair-all-messy, pushed-up-against-the-wall, lips-on-neck kind of sexy. Can you tell that I'm fangirling a bit? Apparently I am someone who majorly fangirls, and this book has done that to me. Love Interest is also a really smart book. I didn't realize so many things were tropes in YA, and they're pointed to here in such interesting and reflective ways. This subverts the genre while staying firmly within the genre, and my mind is a bit blown. In a completely good way.A small note, but I love that the girl for whom the Love Interests are battling is really into science. Can I get a hallelujah for girls in STEM? This has to be a movie. Can someone please make this into a movie?So seriously, what are you waiting for? Go add this to your TBR pile now!!!!! You will not regret it!!!!!
    more
  • Nicklein Mae
    January 8, 2017
    listed under lgbt, teenage spies, completely messed up YA trope, cute boys kissing... BITCH COUNT ME ALL THE WAY IN!
  • Deepika
    January 12, 2017
    Guess who preordered this ?? ME.ME.ME.------------------------------------------------------------------------------I am going to read this book the day this comes out.I am even saving money to get this :)That's how freaking excited I am.THAT BLURB! May is so far away.I NEED THIS NOW.
    more
  • Caleb Roehrig
    July 8, 2016
    If Becky Albertalli and Suzanne Collins co-wrote an episode of The Americans, it might look something like Cale Dietrich’s THE LOVE INTEREST—a swoony, heart-pounding tale of two conflicted spies pitted against each other in a deadly contest, their strings pulled by a shadowy and nefarious multinational agency. It will have you giggling, gasping, and sweating (the kissing scenes, you guys!) all the way to the final page.Beyond the nail-biting thrills, laugh-out-loud humor, and so-hot-you’ll-need- If Becky Albertalli and Suzanne Collins co-wrote an episode of The Americans, it might look something like Cale Dietrich’s THE LOVE INTEREST—a swoony, heart-pounding tale of two conflicted spies pitted against each other in a deadly contest, their strings pulled by a shadowy and nefarious multinational agency. It will have you giggling, gasping, and sweating (the kissing scenes, you guys!) all the way to the final page.Beyond the nail-biting thrills, laugh-out-loud humor, and so-hot-you’ll-need-a-cigarette-afterward makeouts, however, Dietrich’s debut novel also dares to ask some serious questions about the contemporary plight of queer youth. I cannot say enough about the meta commentary in this book. The super advanced tech featured in these pages may not yet be real, and the evil organization using our heroes as their pawns may (we assume!?) be imaginary…but gay teens being forced to lie and perform publicly as straight in order to avoid losing their lives is not a fiction. It is a reality faced by queer people around the world every day; it is a reality that drives scared individuals to deceive the people they care about, and that leaves them feeling guilty and alone—and Dietrich makes great use of his premise to explore the kind of emotional and psychological damage this duplicity can inflict.Another thing I adore about THE LOVE INTEREST is that the protagonist’s sexuality is an essential element of the plot without being the sum total of it. Queer teens need more and more books that acknowledge the importance of their identity while still allowing them to have adventures beyond it, and TLI—with a main character who kicks ass, take names, and kisses the boy of his dreams—is a perfect example!
    more
  • Tanaz
    October 23, 2016
    “We’re competitors, Dyl. Above everything.” I gesture at the space between us. “Above all of this, that’s our relationship.” In a secret location, teenage spies are trained to be Love Interests. Gathering secrets is part of their job. So is pleasing the intended target (the Chosen). Falling is love is not.Caden, an accomplished liar, hopes to lure in his target with his Nice boy charm and good looks. Dylan, who is more truthful than he cares to admit, must pretend to be Bad, temptation and dang “We’re competitors, Dyl. Above everything.” I gesture at the space between us. “Above all of this, that’s our relationship.” In a secret location, teenage spies are trained to be Love Interests. Gathering secrets is part of their job. So is pleasing the intended target (the Chosen). Falling is love is not.Caden, an accomplished liar, hopes to lure in his target with his Nice boy charm and good looks. Dylan, who is more truthful than he cares to admit, must pretend to be Bad, temptation and danger wrapped into one muscular package. Both Caden and Dyl must compete for the love of the same girl, Juliet. Losing is not a choice as the boy who fails to win Juliet’s love will die. But when Caden and Dyl get to know Juliet and each other, other feelings emerge, feelings that neither boy has yet dared to put a name to. Cale Dietrich’s writing flows so effortlessly that I barely noticed when I’d finished a chapter and started another. There are pop culture references (“I’d steal a blue French horn for you if you wanted one.”), there’s science fiction, there is romance (oh is there romance!). I loved how meta this novel got at times (“You haven't read any YA novels recently, have you?”), gently poking fun at YA tropes, yet still cleverly elevating them with a cast of relatable and endearing characters. There were several twists that I didn’t anticipate and this only added to my enjoyment of this novel.Highly recommended for readers of smart, fun, dystopian YA!
    more
  • Ava
    January 21, 2017
    I truly think that once this book releases, it'll do so much. This is a needed addition to queer YA, and YA in general.
  • Jenn *The Crimson Dark Lord Scribe, House of Slytheread*
    March 2, 2017
    I don't know what it is about the damn blurb, but I want this freaking book.... like 2 days ago.WHY IS EVERYONE WANTING TO READ ABOUT A LOVE-TRIANGLE FROM HELL!?I laugh at the irony.
  • Cody
    February 25, 2017
    THIS BOOK WAS SO SO BRILLIANT. I honestly enjoyed this book so much, I mean just look at that synopsis? *happy dances* ahhh can't wait for people to read it, such fun! *Review to come*
  • Silvia
    November 15, 2016
    OMG WHAT IS THIS ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME GIVE IT TO ME I NEED IT YESTERDAY
  • Brittany
    October 25, 2016
    Aweeee....just read the synopsis....awe.... *smiles giddy*Sweet, cute, mystery, dangerous!! I want to read this book please. Sign me up!! <3
  • Bipasha{is eviscerated by fiction}
    March 19, 2017
    You know what I want? I want a story which involves a classic, two guys fighting over one girl love triangle. The girl isn’t sweating anything because she knows she will end up with someone no matter what. Then, once we get more into the book we see the two guys fall each other and the girl gets screwed over.“What is the meaning of this?!”“It’s TRUE LOVE BECKY!”You know what I want?Love triangle where the girl leaves both boys for a third guy because he doesn’t treat her like a prize to win.Love You know what I want? I want a story which involves a classic, two guys fighting over one girl love triangle. The girl isn’t sweating anything because she knows she will end up with someone no matter what. Then, once we get more into the book we see the two guys fall each other and the girl gets screwed over.“What is the meaning of this?!”“It’s TRUE LOVE BECKY!”You know what I want?Love triangle where the girl leaves both boys for a third guy because he doesn’t treat her like a prize to win.Love triangle where a boy has to choose between the girl and the boy he loves.Love triangle where they end up having a (hot) threesome relationship.Love triangle where the girl tells one of the boys to f***k off because being hot does not mean you can be rude and I’ve made my decision back off.Love triangle where the girl keeps the love triangle up because one of the guys is so hot and good in bed, but the other is so sweet, and why not have both? (they don’t have to know)Love triangle where the girl is asexual and doesn’t want any boy.Love triangle where the girl leaves the boys for her best friend after she realizes she’s been neglecting her and that true friendship trumps boys.Love triangle where the girl has to choose between her long time best friend and that girl she just screwed over (oops).Love triangle where there is a big misunderstanding and there was never a love triangle they were just really close friends and you saw it from the wrong angle.Love triangle where two brothers are in love with twins, but in reality it’s one girl posing as twins and it gets really confusing because the fake twin is in love with one brother while the real girl is in love with the other and who am I and what am I even… I need to leave these boys behind and figure my life out.Love triangle where girl loses the boy she loves and refuses to move on with the other.Love triangle where both boys leave the girl in the end for other people and the girl is fine with it.Love triangle where girl realizes that she is sixteen years old and too young to make a choice about who to love forever and decides to live her life and mature instead of choosing.credit: potatostrength14 and evie-a @ tumblr
    more
  • Mar the Great Devourer of Books
    March 7, 2017
    The premise reminds me of a Tumblr post, but maaaan do I need to read this!
  • Mare SLiTsReaD Reviews
    November 10, 2016
    106 REVIEWS CURRENTLY....... WHILE I REFRESH NETGALLEY LIKE A FREAKAZOID. WAITING FOR APPROVAL. OR YOU KNOW. DENIAL. JUST FREAKING GIVE IT TO ME ALREADY. I NEED THIS MORE THAN MY NEXT BREATH.SIGHHow do I get a copy of this like right now?????????????
    more
  • Sonia
    September 30, 2016
    Do you ever come across a book where you think: "I didn't know this was exactly what I wanted, but it is exactly what I wanted?" That's how I feel about THE LOVE INTEREST. I've read a lot of queer coming-of-age stories, and some of them have been great, and some not-so-great, and some have a certain sameness to them. But THE LOVE INTEREST is, to me, completely unique. Let me tell you why.I have been looking for a queer YA story where the characters are well-developed and self-actualized, where t Do you ever come across a book where you think: "I didn't know this was exactly what I wanted, but it is exactly what I wanted?" That's how I feel about THE LOVE INTEREST. I've read a lot of queer coming-of-age stories, and some of them have been great, and some not-so-great, and some have a certain sameness to them. But THE LOVE INTEREST is, to me, completely unique. Let me tell you why.I have been looking for a queer YA story where the characters are well-developed and self-actualized, where the narrative focuses on the struggle to come to terms with one's own sexuality but ups the stakes in a way that empowers, not victimizes the characters (ie Caden is learning about himself and his desires, and there are clear risks involved, but he doesn't have to get his ass kicked a million times by people calling him a faggot or get HIV or somehow otherwise be a target just because he's gay). CADEN IS A BADASS. He is furious and fearful; he is a survivor; he is an actually kind person; he suffers no fools; he opens himself up to people even though he has endured incredible trauma and pain. All of this comes through from page one but is also developed throughout as different sides of him are revealed, and that is so so awesome.I love what the book does with all the tropes of straight YA romance - books I tend not to read very much, randomly, though I sort of wrote one? In this narrative those tropes are used to both hilarious and poignant effect, and they show the ways in which placing boys in these paper-thin roles limits and oppresses them while simultaneously limiting and oppressing the girls who are taught this is what they should want.Structurally the book is perfect, not a word out of place, every step of the hero's journey paced out to maximum effect. The world-building is vivid and scary, drawing on dystopian tropes and yet somehow never becoming a product of those tropes. Instead it becomes its own thing, creepy and yet empathetic towards the fact that these are KIDS. There are heroes and villains but everyone has dimensions and everyone is offered a chance at redemption.I love Juliet - the center of the not-quite-love-triangle - a lot. Girls often get lost in stories like these, where they are the thing that holds the boys apart (in gay boy stories so often girls exist only to be enablers of the gay romance, which - though it sometimes happens IRL - is a trope that to me feels lazy and silly), but Juliet is her own person, and she's super-cool, and I would date her if she wasn't half my age. I feel for her so much in this too, and I love that CADEN feels for her - like, he doesn't want to fuck up her life. He thinks she's awesome, which she is.There's a lot of other great stuff in here about music, and clever allegory, and at its heart I think THE LOVE INTEREST manages to be both a truly exciting and moving story while also being politically pointed. I think this book is going to make a difference to kids who don't often get to see themselves represented as heroes. And even if you've never thought: "I really want a book about a teen boy who's a spy and also figuring out himself and his sexuality at the same time as he's trying to save his own life and the lives of others?" This is still the book you're looking for.
    more
Write a review