Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Love Interests are spies trained by a secret organization to infiltrate the lives of important people and make them fall in love.
Caden is a Nice, but Dylan is a Bad. They have the same target, but she will only fall for one of them.
As time passes, Caden realizes that even though he's trying to make his target fall in love with him, his own heart might be going down a different path.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Date Read: March 8, 2018
There was a lot of hype around this before it was published, mostly because of the story premise and the LGBT+ elements involved. I have to admit that I was skeptical of reading it at first because I'm not someone who generally reads LGBT+ fiction, especially if it's romantic contemporary. If there are LGBT+ elements in a book, I'm okay with that, but this is the first time I've intentionally chosen a book that's pretty much entirely about a gay romance.
With all the hype that was surrounding the book, I really was expecting something good. I had hoped that maybe it would be more than the stereotype that I thought it would be, and that the hype would be worth it. Unfortunately, it really wasn't.
The plot is simple enough that you can follow it without much effort. But it had many problems, including the fact that as a reader, we're supposed to buy into the fact that a secret organization exists to send Love Interests to be by the side of famous people who might have information and secrets that can be stolen and sold. Never in the book was there an explanation as to why the organization was created, how they've managed to get their spies out into the world, or why this was necessary in the first place. There were no hints at wars being started because of information that this organization, the LIC, had in their pockets.
Maybe if this had been set in a futuristic dystopian setting, it could have worked better. But since it takes place in the modern day, it's really hard to buy into the idea that such an organization exists. It's like if the world suddenly found out that Melania Trump was actually a spy sent to watch over Donald Trump and that she had been part of orchestrating all the political drama currently happening.
The romance was very poorly constructed, as it was entirely based on the trope of "we're the only ones who know the truth and you're the only person I can be myself around," which meant that there wasn't much substance to it. The attraction between Caden and Dylan was not organic at all, and I had an incredibly hard time believing that Caden hadn't already figured out that he was gay.
Let me just say this about Caden being gay: It was so obvious that astronauts can see it from outer space. There was NO indication whatsoever that he was bi or the slightest hint that he could've been straight. No, he was very clearly gay from the beginning as he talked about which guys were better looking and why. Then, when he met a girl, he'd say she was pretty or cute, but not as cute as the guy standing next to her. If there was any attempt at surprising us with him realizing he was gay, it was so badly done that a baby could have realized it.
Even the fake romance in this book was poorly done. The target that Caden and Dylan had was one of the most generic female love interests there could be in a YA novel. There was nothing special or interesting about her.
The further along in the book I got, the more I realized that the author was stereotyping the way teenaged girls behaved and had no idea what he was talking about. Every "flirty" move he designed for his book was a trope of some sort that he probably found in Seventeen or Cosmopolitan magazine. No, he made no effort in giving the girls a personality or a reason for liking these boys - he just made them sound really stupid and simplistic.
There were many things about the characters that I simply could not believe got past an editor. Firstly, Dylan had a beard at 17, which is kind of ridiculous since I know ONE boy who could've grown a full beard at 17. Secondly, these characters are so bland and cookie-cutter, I'm surprised the editor didn't force a re-write of them. There is nothing that would make a reader say "wow I didn't see that coming" because everything about them is predictable. On top of that, every character was either unlikeable or too boring to be worth getting attached to.
The end of the book was so incredibly stupid, you'd wonder if this whole thing was really a satirical take on the dystopian genre that got really popular a few years ago. In my mind, there's no way this isn't somehow satirical because of how bad it is otherwise. I want to believe that the author had good intentions because I know that this could have been so much more well done if it had been written by someone else.
I can only describe the end by saying that it was entirely unrealistic, but somehow fit perfectly with the rest of the book because of that.
Caden was one of the most annoying main characters I've ever read. Having the narrator tell the story in his voice was such an annoying ordeal, I actually feel bad for the narrator. Caden was supposed to be a Nice, but he was such a pain in the butt the entire time, it's no wonder he was the trope of "I'm nice but really I'm a terrible human being."
Dylan had this weird thing about being called "Dyl," so the entire book, I kept picturing the Sim from Dan&PhilGames that's named "Dil." Also, Dylan has no backbone, so I really can't say much for him.
The female love interest's name is Juliet, so let that tell you literally everything you need to know about her character. Generic, but written in such a way that she's supposed to stand out.
2 stars. Please don't ever pick up this book because it's so badly written. It's actually awful. Save yourself the pain.