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 who is dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose the 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.
This book had an interesting concept and I was really intriguing by the whole Love Interest secret organization. It seemed to be very high-tech and it was definitely very shady. They trained young boys and young girls to be perfect until they matched with a high asset the LI wished to have intel on, then they would be sent into the world to compete against another Love Interest to be chosen by their target. The one chosen would report back to headquarters any information they asked and the one not chosen would usually be killed. It sounded like there would be a lot of action and plenty of plot twists.
Caden was the main character, a Nice in the Love Interest world, who didn’t feel like a Nice. He played the part well, always very aware of himself and berating himself silently if he messed up and acted too much like a Bad. I felt like I could have really liked his character and there were a few moments I was beginning to feel a connection with him, but it would be easily lost in the next moment. I do wish we’d gotten to see more of Dyl, a Bad and Caden’s competition, on his own. I liked the scenes he shared with Caden but I found it hard to see why Juliet would be interested in him in a way that made him a threat to Caden. He just felt a little underdeveloped.
Juliet also felt underdeveloped but I didn’t mind as much with her. Even though she was the goal for the two boys, their supposed only focus, their everything, she was not the focus of the book. She could have been a little more developed to feel like more of a supporting character instead of a plot device but she was a nice contrast to Caden’s mentor always in his ear talking about how hot he was or reminding him to “stay hot”.
The plot made sense in some ways but the world building felt very light. I could get behind the concept of a company grooming agents/love interests to put someone under their control next to people of influence. The secrets they would learn and be able to sell would probably pay for their whole operation. But we ended up being told a lot of things instead of shown, like why two love interests are needed for one target. There were also things that happened that felt more convenient to the plot instead of natural. The ending seemed to be very fast paced as well and it might have been better served by being a little longer or a duology. Normally I’m all for standlones but the concept of this was so intriguing that I would have read two books if that meant the world building was tighter and the ending was slowed down.