Before I begin my review, I’m going to let you guys know that from now on, my reviews will be split into spoiler-free and spoiler sections. Alright, now that I’ve said that, let’s get to the actual review!
Actual Rating: 2.75 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.
Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?
Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.
What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.
First the Pros: The premise really intrigued me. I was so excited to read a book where the main characters fell for each other even though they were supposed to go for the girl (this is pretty obvious or at least mentioned in the synopsis, so this isn’t a spoiler). Also, this book was quite diverse, as it included a gay main character, as well as who I believe to be an African-American side character a bit later in the story.
The Cons: As soon as I saw the book on the shelves, I immediately picked it up. I wanted to read it as soon as I got the chance—I had been waiting for what seemed like forever to read this book.
Which is why I was so disappointed.
When I first started reading, everything seemed normal. As I kept reading though, I realized that I didn’t really like Caden. I felt disconnected from him. However, I went on because I just wanted to meet Dylan. Unfortunately, that didn’t really change anything.
The characters were quite… Flat. I suppose Caden changed a bit and Dylan’s personality developed more as we got to know him better, but I felt they were still quite generic, especially Caden (at least Dylan had layers). Nothing stood out to me. Even Juliet, the girl the boys were supposed to be competing over, was generic. She was the perfect intelligent, yet pretty, nice girl. The only characters I liked a bit were Natasha, Juliet’s best friend, and Natasha’s boyfriend, Trevor. They were the only ones who seemed to have depth.
Now, another big issue I had with the book was the dialogue. It seemed incredibly unrealistic and forced at times. Yes, sometimes Caden’s words were scripted because he had to convince Juliet to fall for him, but it’s mostly the replies that bothered me. And here’s one from Juliet that really got to me:
“Oh, Caden, I’m so sorry to talk about dads after what happened to you. That’s the height of selfishness, complaining about a controlling father to someone who lost his. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay, Juliet, it happened a long time ago. I miss him, and I always will, but you don’t need to treat the subject with kid gloves. I had a dad I loved, and then he died. It sucks, but it happened.”
Okay—what teenager actually talks like that? Even if Caden’s words were scripted (and I don’t think they were), Juliet’s words definitely weren’t. Yet, she still said “that’s the height of selfishness.” Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever met a teenager who would say that.
There are multiple examples throughout the rest of the book that causes the story to be a little less enjoyable because you know it’s not realistic at all.
As for the action in the book, it was too fast-paced. I felt like the author rushed through it to get to the end of the story. The book would have been much better if it was longer, or even split into a duology. The climax definitely occurred too quickly and took away from the story because I didn’t even have much time to absorb what big thing happened before the author moved on to something even bigger.
Don’t feel like you can’t pick up the book if you want to, though. Just because I didn’t enjoy as much doesn’t mean you won’t.
That’s it for the spoiler-free section. If you haven’t read the book, then thanks for reading, and see you in my next post! 👋
Now, if you have read this book, or you don’t mind spoilers, then let’s continue to the discussion.
Let’s start with Juliet. I felt the main problem for this book was just how unrealistic it was, and this included Juliet’s easy acceptance that she had two guys who had opposite personalities after her. Sure, Caden is a Nice, but he was so nice that it was unbelievable. No guy is that nice all the time. Everyone has their moments, yet Juliet didn’t seem to see anything wrong with the fact that Caden was nice all the time.
Now, to the events that happened. When Caden told Juliet he was a Love Interest, she barely reacted. If I were her, I would have definitely been in shock. Juliet immediately agreed to help. Which is yet another unrealistic aspect of the book.
Also, when they took down the Stalkers and defeated the LIC so easily, I was incredibly disappointed. There was such enormous build up—the LIC had controlled so many Love Interests for supposedly centuries and when Caden and Dylan meet Juliet, suddenly they have the solution to all their problems? Suddenly they can take down the LIC just like this? *snaps fingers*
The takedown of the agency took way too little time. It wasn’t stretched out enough. The events just passed in a blur and then everyone was free.
Another, final, thing. Why did Dylan have to say that he really wasn’t gay and wasn’t in love with Caden? I suppose it created more drama, but it seemed a bit unnecessary to me. It actually reminded me so much of Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not. When Juliet said that Dylan was in denial, I flashed back to when I was reading More Happy Than Not and the guy the main character was in love with kept denying that he was gay at all.
For some reason, there I saw similarities between the writing styles, and I did not love the writing style in More Happy Than Not. Perhaps that is also what took away from the story for me.
What did you guys think?