Diversity Spotlight: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

31145148Caden is a love interest.  What is a love interest you ask?  You see throughout time the most important historical figure have had one thing in common: a love interest.  Not just someone who they deemed their true love but someone who was created by a secret society and implanted into their lives.  This person will likely change the world and their fake love who will be by their side and helping sell their secrets is known as a Love Interest.  Caden doesn’t have a family or a past but he does have all the skills to be the perfect “Nice Guy”.  When Caden is assigned to try to woo Julia he thinks he may finally find his perfect match.  She’s smart and kind and their pairing will finally give him freedom but then Caden meets Dil his Bad Boy love interest counterpart who has been assigned to compete for Julia’s love.  Caden knows that the winner gets to live happily ever after with Julia and the loser may lose their lives.  He thinks he will do whatever it takes to win until he gets to know Dil and his feelings move from adversary to friend to maybe something more.

This was one of those book that as soon as I read the description of this book on Netgalley I knew I had to read it.  I love all thing spy and secret society related and this one is chocked full of espionage and intrigue.  Plus, I’m totally in love with the cover.  I kind of want to get a oversized copy of the cover to frame and hang on my wall.  So, I was all kinds of excited when hunkered down to dive into Dietrich world of spies and scandal and “The Love Interest” totally delivered…mostly.  First things first, this was a great concept…a great concept that I haven’t seen done a hundred times. I always give bonus points for originality because we need more original ideas and I applaud Dietrich for trying something different.

However, this book definitely had signs of first bookness. I felt the characters were a little unbalanced in the development. Caden was a great main character that I genuinely liked.  He’s trying to find his place in the world while coming to terms with his sexuality.  Yes, the character is a spy but he is also a everyday teen with which many readers will relate.  Another major plus for me was Caden’s potential love interest, Julia, who was a great damsel not in distress.  She was smart, and fiery, and did not get closes to the annoying ‘woe is me”.  However, I didn’t get any warm fuzzies for Caden’s foil/love interest Dil.  We should care about him, want our hero to be in love with him but I didn’t feel like I got to know him well enough to care.  He was just kind of there taking up page space without adding to the story.  Even overlooking the Dil problem I still had a slight issues with some of the dialog which just didn’t flow quite right or feel genuine.  Plus, my new book pet peeve is American characters using very non-American slang which happens many time throughout Dietrich’s 384 pages.  Every time a certain character refered to a friend as “mate” it pulled me out of the story and made me cringe just a little.

Bottom line, “The Love Interest”, is a unique story that uses creative ways to explore issues of alienation and sexuality with a likable and relatable main character.  However, the cool concept doesn’t make up for dialog issues and less interesting secondary characters.  If you are looking for an LBGTQ book that is different than most in the genre I highly recommend “The Love Interest” however if you just want a quick espionage book you may need to keep looking.

Final rating: 3.5 out of 5

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