Love them or hate them – they are a prominent feature in YA literature. And chances are even if you’ve not read a young adult novel you’ve run into Team Edward or Team Jacob supporters. Love Triangles add a little extra spice and drama to a romantic relationship.
Love triangles are nothing new. Shakespeare often had them in his plays, Eponine, Marius and Cosette are entangled in Les Miserables and Dumas’ The Three Musketeers faced their share too. But it seems lately that I can’t go a week without reading a young adult novel with a triangle in it. True, these aren’t real triangles in the geometry scheme of things (they’re more angles than triangles) nor are they like the Triangular Theory of Love that I learned in my first year of psychology but I still think of them as triangles because whilst there isn’t a romance between all three sides, there’s a relationship between them all – with fierce rivalry between the two suitors.
The most common type I’ve encountered in YA novels is as follows:
So how do I feel about love triangles?
Like with everything – it depends. There are times when I adore the give and take of the romantic leads. But it does rely on a few different factors.
The LOVE IS EVERYTHING! triangle – I’m not a fan of this type of triangle. This is the type when love is the be all and end all. Other plot points are secondary to the intense romance and feels that are going on. I need some more plot with my romance. They often focus on the female and this is a reason I tend to dislike them. They don’t seem to take into account the feelings of the different parties nor does it seem to be an issue if the woman is a little manipulative and using both sides (albeit at times the girl doesn’t realize she’s doing this). Twilight with the Bella/Edward and Bella/Jacob relationships is an example of this. I think I’m often confused by this type because they often feature girls who are apparently plain, dull and uninteresting and all of a sudden they’re fighting off drop dead gorgeous men with a stick. It feels unrealistic and more like fanfiction than anything else (and considering I went though a period where I read and wrote a LOT of Dawson’s Creek fanfiction, I know what I’m talking about).
The IT’S NOT REALLY A TRIANGLE BUT BOY IS IT CONFUSING triangle – Whilst I didn’t like Twilight, I enjoyed Stephenie Meyer’s other novel, The Host. This book involves a fairly confusing type of relationship with the main character Wanda sharing a body with Melanie. Melanie is in love with Jarrod and Jarrod with Melanie but Wanda (who is in Melanie’s body) is starting to fall for Ian and Ian for her. It’s not quite a triangle but I enjoyed how it all played out. I liked how this one played out because the romance did take a lot of page time but there was a lot of other plot going on and ultimately the romance didn’t overshadow everything else that was going on.
The BADASS HEROINE, LOVE COMES SECOND triangle – This is the type of book that I love best. The kind where the heroine is determined to do whatever it is her mission is and she doesn’t let her confusing romantic entanglements get in the way. This is the kind that appears in Throne of Glass, Vampire Academy, The Hunger Games and many other books that I’ve enjoyed. The females don’t try to play her suitors off against each other nor does she become a victim to her relationship. They’re strong on their own and if they do choose one of the guys, it’s because it’s true love and not just because they didn’t want to be alone.
The ONE GUY TO MANY GIRLS triangle – I admit I’m a lover of The Bachelor and I’m a little surprised I haven’t come across all that many books with this type of triangle. I think it’s possibly because when it’s attempted, the male character often comes across as a player and not the sensitive new aged guy he’s supposed to be. Books like The Selection feature this type but it’s a little more complicated with one of the females vying for the male is also in a separate triangle of her own. I don’t mind it in The Selection as it makes so many more possibilities of who is going to end up with who. This series doesn’t try to hide what it is and I don’t mind that it’s focused on romance because that’s what I was expecting going in.
I think what it comes down to for me is how well it’s written. If it’s believable and well written with characters I like and are trying to sort things out – I’ll enjoy it. I just don’t like relationships where characters are being unfair to each other or the triangle is the story’s focus and the biggest twist in the plot turns out to be who the apex of the triangle chooses.
What are you favourite love triangles? Any that you really didn’t like? Are there any series with amazing love triangles and relationships you would recommend that I read?
Let me know what you think about love triangles. Comments are always welcome 🙂