Published by: Feiwel & Friends on May 16, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Romance
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.
The best part of the book was the romance. I really loved watching that story unfold and Caden slowly starting to realize that he’s gay and understand what his feelings mean. Loved that!
The stuff I didn’t quite like…
Juliet was boring. Caden has feelings for someone else, but given that he’s supposed to be going after Juliet, she’s still quite a big character. But she was pretty cardboard. I think I expected more from her because she was supposed to be this hugely intelligent person and I just thought she’d be more… interesting?
The world building was kind of thin. There’s this huge concept of a secret spy organization, but the most we get is:
- We’ve existed for thousands of years, accept it.
- Nobody knows we exist but we’ve infiltrated everywhere, accept it.
- We target teenagers.
I guess some of it was just hard to buy. For example, I’m all for a good teenager-in-love romance. I know that kind of high school romance can happen, does happen, and can turn into a forever thing. But let’s face it, more often than not, that probably isn’t the case in real life. It does happen, but probably not most of the time. And yet this huge spy agency builds its business on making teenagers fall in love, betting that it will be forever love… I don’t know, it just kind of had me constantly questioning how logical it was.
And then there’s the whole good/bad stereotype thing. I started out liking the idea but it got kind of cheesy. I looked at some other reviews that suggested the book was supposed to be poking fun at some YA tropes rather than being serious? But how is that something you even know? Maybe I’m being obtuse but I feel like I couldn’t tell the difference. And it came back around to that realistic/world building factor: it seemed so silly that this huge spy organization built its whole thing on the idea that there are two types of exaggerated people: bad and nice.
Maybe there were parts of this book I just didn’t “get” right. Maybe I took parts of it too seriously. I don’t know.
In short: I LOVED reading about Caden discovering who he was, falling for Dylan, and seeing that relationship develop. Love love love.
The spy agency part? Kind of disappointing.
“I guess I thought I was straight just because everyone treated me like I was, and no one ever gave me a chance to think otherwise.”
“by liking guys, I automatically take on that role in her life. That I’m suddenly a supporting character in her story rather than the hero of my own.”