REVIEW: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Read on Goodreads

4/5 stars

First and foremost, The Love Interest is a fun story. Intellectually, it doesn’t demand much of you. Just suspend your disbelief, kick back, relax, and grab yourself a beverage, and you’ll get on just fine with Cale Dietrich’s drama-packed début. The book’s a parody, meant to satirise at every turn, and it remains delightfully aware of the fact throughout–never trying to make you think too hard, never taking itself too seriously like the YA novels it pokes fun at are prone to do. The humour was on point most of the time. A few moments that were meant to be funny fell flat here and there, and some of the jokes could have been funnier, but overall the light tone was effective as intended.

A note on the ending: It felt a bit rushed–it feels like only a few pages from the time Trevor dies to one year later when Caden and Dyl are presumably living together in a HEA. I’d have liked to find out more about the LIC–what happened to its branches in other countries? What was the global fallout from such a huge secret being revealed? How’s Natalie dealing with the loss of the love of her life? I get that TLI isn’t meant to be realistic, but one line to address each of these questions would have sufficed.

As a girl who’s had to read far too many Anastasia Steeles or Katniss Everdeens, I LOVED JULIET. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like her in YA literature. I’ve never liked BBC Sherlock/Sheldon Cooper-style characters, and was immensely relieved to discover that contrary to my fears, Juliet wasn’t typecast as a sociopathic genius at all. Sure, her inventions are mostly unrealistic and raise eyebrows for their plot convenience, but who cares? She’s awesome.

Give me more Juliet.

Natalie and Trevor were great supporting characters. I gasped at the big plot twist regarding Natalie, which was engaging and perfectly timed to up the stakes towards the grand finale. On the whole Natalie was just incredibly badass, and I loved that she wasn’t simply the gossip mill best friend. As for Trevor, I may find him more sympathetic than other reviewers–he’s a 17/18-year-old suddenly thrust into the spotlight of fame. I understand what he did, even if I don’t agree with it.

Minor spoiler: TLI gets brownie points just for the subversion of the “murder our best and brightest” trope. Honestly, that’s been a gaping plot elephant in a lot of YA dystopias, where a supposedly gifted and talented group of teens are taken and a majority are culled–Divergent, The Testing, The Maze Runner, I’m looking at you. In the words of Craike, that’s just a waste of resources. Why throw away half of your rising stars just because they’re not *the very best one*?


Verdict: “I’m the protagonist, motherfucker!”

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