I haven’t been shy about my need to get this book in my hands. There’s a good chance it was my most anticipated read of 2017, so having the opportunity to read an advance copy was like a dream come true. (To some may sound a little sad but I bet all you readers understand!) Not only was I excited for the opportunity to review The Love Interest, but I was also so proud that Birdie Bookworm was chosen for the The Love Interest Blog Tour!
I’m just going to be honest, I get really nervous about joining Blog Tours. It’s a lot of pressure when aren’t sure your review will be positive.
Guess what!? I have GREAT things to say! The Love Interest definitely met my expectations and made Birdie a very happy reader. So a huge thank you to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for including me!
by Cale Dietrich
Young Adult LGBTQIA Contemporary
Feiwel & Friends | May 16, 2017
I knew as soon as I read the synopsis for The Love Interest it was a book I had to read. I think we all figured out what “feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both” was alluding to, and that concept in this setting was enough make me obsess about this book, despite it sounding like it has a Love Triangle. (I hate Love Triangles.)
I did have one complaint about the story, before we get into all the good stuff. I would have loved to read more one on one scenes between Dyl and Caden. Caden’s pursual of Juliet seemed to take precedence, which makes sense since the story isn’t really about Caden’s being gay. It was more about how he’d get past his programming, or his need to win as a Love Interest, because winning meant surviving. Falling in love with your rival was not the way to win. That concept made Juliet a very important part of the story, with a role equal to Dyl. I just wished, since they were what I was excited about, we’d gotten more sweet moments between Dyl and Caden and less between Caden and Juliet. It made the love story feel rushed, and then it made the ending feel rushed. That’s it, my only complaint. Not too bad, right?
There was so much good going on! For instance, I loved the fluid concept of Nice and Bad. One of the things I wondered, before I started reading, was if Caden and Dyl would be stereotypical good guy and bad boy. It would have been fine, in a satirical way (which is what I imagined). What we got was more of the idea that real people aren’t Nice or Bad. They’re usually a little of both. Caden could be mean, and had to hide it his whole life. And Dyl, he was actually really sweet. It flipped my perspective, what I’d been expecting, in a really great way.
I also loved all of the pop culture references Cale Dietrich threw in. I’ve heard including relevant pop culture references dates your book and isn’t a great idea for the long term, but all I know is every single time I read one I would chuckle or smile. Probably also because the references were all things I recognized. They made me feel included, and they made Caden easy to relate to.
Finally, Dyl and Caden themselves, their friendship was definitely my favorite part of the story. I loved that even though the game was to manipulate and lie, they wanted to be honest with each other. They had nobody else to be honest with. That made everything so much sweeter and softer. My love for what was developing between them is exactly why I wanted so much more. I wanted to revel in their romance.
If this is Cale Dietrich’s debut book, I definitely can’t wait to read what he writes next. His maiden voyage was already as good as I’d expected, and I have a feeling he’s capable of even more.
Thank you to Feiwel & Friends for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
“Do you think you will fall in love with her?”
I smile, because I know the answer, and that means I’m finally getting out of the LIC. There’s no way I can get it wrong, because the answer to this question has been drilled into me every single day I’ve been here.
“It doesn’t matter,” I say. “She’s the hero of this story, so how I feel is irrelevant.”
I lick my dry lips and try to think of anything other than Dyl’s bare chest, but it’s like he’s giving off this weird warmth, and I can feel this strange, sexy-as-hell energy in the space between us.
Farts. Old people falling over. Puppies. Old people having sex.
“I know this is a trick,” I say. “But I don’t care. I want what you want too. One real kiss. So let’s do it.”
I step forward and force him backward so that his back is against the wall. Surprise is in his eyes, so I grin, then lean forward and press my lips to his.
In the living room, Trev and Natalie are holding hands. He’s wearing an orange-and-blue basketball jersey under a brown leather jacket. Natalie is wearing a white V-neck and blue jeans. A plastic tube is hooked into her nostril.
“No,” says Juliet.
“Okay?” asks Natalie.
“Okay,” answers Trevor.
Even though I’ve been through hell, even though I’ve been told I’m worthless my whole life, even though I’m gay, even though the world wants me to bow down and acccept who I am makes me insignificant, the following is true:
“I’m the protagonist, fucker!”
All about Cale Dietrich
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