Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
This book is set our world, but it features a secret organization that trains teenagers (since they’re little kids) to be Love Interests. Each person that’s likely to be important in the future is given two Love Interests, one Nice, and one Bad, boy. Caden and Dylan are sent to win the heart of Juliet. The one who loses will die. They’re both very determined to stay alive but things take a complicated turn when they start to fall for each other.
And I just want to take a moment, before I have to get into the review part, to appreciate how cool this synopsis is. I mean… just… I loved this book before I even read it, that’s how much I adore the premise. And for about two-thirds of the novel, things were going good.
I loved the premise, like I said, and the way the author played with the various YA tropes. For example, Dylan is the “tortured-soul Bad” and they have set pieces for situation where girl gets attacked by thugs and the boy comes in as the knight-in-shining-armour or for when the girl meets the boy for the first time, where she stumbles, falling into the boy’s arms. It’s all so awesome. And we finally find out why so many boys in YA novels have green eyes! They’re probably all Love Interests whose eye colours have been altered.
The pace of the book, for the most part, is good and so is the writing. Where the pace falls short is toward the end when things happen way too fast and easily.
The writing falters at the same moment or, to be exacts, in scenes involving action. Normal conversation or internal contemplation scenes are fine, but when we need a scene packed with emotion or one that demands a sense of danger or urgency, it falls flat. That was the reason the end of the novel was a big disappointment. I was tempted to cut the book some slack because it’s very difficult to find a standalone of this variety, but I couldn’t do that. Technicalities are important.
If you’re going to base a novel on an organisation, then you need to flesh out the details and working of said organization. And if you’re going to show this organisation to be so difficult to defeat, them it can’t be so freaking easy to break in to! You need to show danger and you need to show us how and why this organization has been functioning without a hitch for centuries. On top of that, the ending was so dissatisfactory and… convenient. Some of the character motivations were also unexplained, and side characters were not given the time they should have.
Then the epilogue happened, which did nothing to tell us of the consequences and aftermath of the ending and… things fell apart. There was too much that couldn’t be overlooked.
In the end, this is a novel that had a lot of potential and could have easily become a favourite, but due to the poor execution of many of the crucial aspects, it did not. I still think it’s worth a read for the good parts but you shouldn’t expect much or take it too seriously.