Title: The Love Interest
Author: Cale Dietrich
Pub: May 2017
Genre: Sci-Fi, Contemporary
I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Caden has been training for this moment for years – leave The Love Interest Company, get the girl, live. But the plan hits a snag when his competitor is BAD boy Dylan. Caden, a NICE, finds himself falling for him. What to do? Love or live?
The Love Interest is fast paced, with a distinctive voice, and with some swoony and angsty moments. It does a fun job at deconstructing and then rebuilding the competing love interests to match up with their respective tropes and formulas so familiar in other books and media.
Caden is a “nice” boy, while Dylan is a “bad” boy and it’s up to Juliet (the target) to pick one.
Narrative and prose wise, it was fairly easy to get into the story. Caden’s voice and personality (even while being at odds with himself) really come off the page. The first person POV however limits the characterization and insight into the other characters, making them appear one dimensional at times. We don’t get to see how the others feel (which I know is usual with 1st person POV).
The LIC is interesting and it would’ve been nice to have some more information about it, other than how it works. The who, what, and why, essentially.
I did enjoy reading this book, however I had an issue with the supposed “plot twist” and queer-baiting. Laura at Green Tea & Paperbacks discusses it in her own review (contains spoilers). Reading the book cover to cover, I found that plot twist quite unnecessary. There were plenty of other ways to create conflict and pulling the m/m romance rug out from under the readers (and then conveniently putting it back) was not one of them.
Along the lines of marginalization, Caden has a lot of inner monologues that question situations, terms, and stereotypes and there are points in the novel in which he could openly challenge them (i.e. the gay best friend), but he doesn’t.
And, where are the people of color and other LGBT+ characters. Just, you know, wondering. Are they there? Did I glaze over their descriptions or was there little to no emphasis?
So, yes, it’s a fast paced funny, m/m romance that turns romance tropes up on it’s head and I had fun reading, but there are some issues I couldn’t ignore. The one-dimensional side characters, limited world-building, and poor plot-twist leaves it lacking some.
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