Saturday, January 21

5 things you should know about love triangles.

Note: This post is based solely on the love triangles observed in many books of the YA genre.

Lately, there's been a lot of mixed feelings on love triangles of some of the YA books: many people hate it, many people love it, and many people could care less about it. These feelings can evolve from the genre of books the people read. Like, for example, if you love the typical YA Paranormal Romance novels (Twilight! Fallen! Hush, Hush!), you'd be used to love triangles. You might look forward to reading them, even. If you're like this, then you are definitely in one of the majority groups. Because strangely enough, many books with these Love Triangles sell fairly well (Twilight Saga, Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy, The Hunger Games, Matched, etc. etc. etc.), so, well, that probably means love triangles flow well in the market.

And I say "strangely" because I'm not, you know...
Love triangles make me wince.

There are 5 things you should know about love triangles (based off my observations 'course):

So many people have different takes on it. Generally, readers think love triangles are, you know, a three-person conflict with two people pining for the love of the third. Usually, the two people are males and the third is a female (hello, YA novels). But in Shakespeare, a love triangle is literally a love triangle: Person A loves Person B, who loves Person C, who loves Person A. Another difference is that in most of the YA novels out there these days, there aren't that many homosexual characters involved in love triangles (unless you count Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, but I don't because the triangle really wasn't that defined). 

Other people take the topic of love triangles subtly; if two guys so much as develop a crush on a girl--even without the girl knowing--it's a love triangle. might not be to some other people. They might claim that in order for a love triangle to work out, the third person must know in order for the triangle. Different interpretations at work here.

Take this picture for example:
'tis here

In the blurbs of books (and again, I'm focusing on YA), it's all, "Will she choose super hot Guy 1 who makes her feel calm and collected or super hot and wild Guy 2 who's always been there for her?" The players in the triangle always make the MC feel differently towards each one, creating the central conflict that may or may not turn melodramatic if the author isn't careful. Distinct feelings = distinct possibilities. The Girl realizes she could live happily ever after with Guy 1, but then she'd be missing out on an epic adventure with Guy 2. Distinct possibilities = birth of distinct teams. Are you Team Guy 1 or Team Guy 2? 

Why is it that the hottest guys in the series always end up falling in love with our lovely MC? A MC who either thinks she's bland (but really isn't!) or appears to be weak (but really isn't!). A MC who has a best friend who's been in love with her since the Beginning of Their Friendship. Or, even worse, a MC who radiates such an amazing personality that at first glance, Guy 1 or 2 falls in love with her (Hourglass by Myra McEntire! I still don't understand, Kaleb, I really don't...). 

The Girl usually chooses the first person she meets--not including the best friend. So, in other words, the Girl wouldn't choose the best friend. Bella chose Edward. Katniss chose Peeta (Why, Katniss? Why?). Clary chose Jace. The list goes on. Maybe it's because the non-best friends are new characters, new and interesting in the MC's life. Or maybe since the MC hasn't connected/felt the connection with her best friend, well, why start feeling them now? (or at least a connection stronger than the one with the New Guy) But there are still examples of resolved love triangles with a twist, or love triangles that keep readers continuously guessing on who the MC would choose in the end (such as Aprilynne Pike's Wings series because I honestly have no idea who Laurel will end up with, or Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers Trilogy which had a pretty surprising outcome). 

I'm sure everyone's figured that out by now. I could list a whole bunch* off the top of my head. Some books focus primarily on the love triangle. Others have it as a strong sub plot and let the other major elements of the story take over (I prefer that one personally ^-^). And even others actually develop the love triangle relationship fully before unleashing it out into the world (I love this). Either way, so many authors use it in their books these days, and it can get a little exhausting, especially if the triangle feels rushed.

And those are the 5 things you should know about love triangles...if they weren't all just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, rant-ish stuff to you o.o

What are your opinions on the ever famous love triangles?

- E

*Twilight Saga, The Host, Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, Matched, Vampire Academy, Iron Fey, The Hunger Games, Hourglass, Wings, House of Night, Unearthly, Faeriewalker, Books of Faerie, Wicked Lovely, Darkest Powers, Nightshade. Whew.


  1. I'm pretty okay about triangles. But when they add love in them...I get confused xD No, really, though. When there is more than one person trying to be in a relationship with another person, I'll only focus on one of them and forget all about the other after I finish the book.

    [It took me a full second to think of the hunger games, and matched circles]

    1. I hear you. Love triangles can be seriously distracting o.o

      And I'm not okay with triangles when you start putting the alphabet and numbers into them. (Math >.>)

  2. As one of the most aromantic people you'll ever meet, I tend to feel the same way about love triangles. I either avoid them or ignore the possibility in my own writing.

    When reading about a love triangle, I always find myself frustrated with the person in the middle (or is it the tip?). Just make up your mind already!

    1. Yes! That's exactly how I feel. It also makes me really dislike the person in the middle (/tip) because she's/he's keeping the other two waiting. Which really isn't fair at all :/

  3. I try to avoid saturating myself with literature that concerns love triangles, or at least the banal treatments they tend to get nowadays. They irritate me immensely. It's nice to see someone else who's not overly fond of them.

    1. I can usually tolerate love triangles if the other essential elements of the book are interesting enough. But if I do end up realizing how a love triangle will probably be an important subplot in the book, I still can't help but roll my eyes :]

  4. Alright. I know this is an older post, but I saw it on your sidebar and had to check it out because I feel so strongly about love triangles.

    I'm sick of them. They were great at first, but now it seems like just because some of the most popular YA books out there have them, EVERY YA book has to have them. It gets old. And while I love lots of books that have love triangles, I wish there were more that didn't.

    A few notes on things you said--about the even-triangle thing, a good example would be the Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. You have Boy 1 and Boy 2, who are both in love with Girl, but at the same time they love each other in a totally straight, brotherly, parabatai way. Causes some sticky situations, yes.

    As far as some books you cited, I was VERY happy with the end of Darkest Powers. That was the outcome I was hoping for. And if Laurel (Wings) doesn't pick Tamani I will be very sad.

    Okay, this comment is very long and rambly, so thank you if you read the whole rant. ;)

    Mag @ Geek Chic

    1. I completely agree. As long as love triangles show *development*, I'm okay with it. As in, as long as the girl doesn't throw herself at two guys because she thinks they're extremely attractive, then I can tolerate them.

      Have you read Clockwork Prince yet? Because holy cow, I didn't *not* see that coming between Tessa and Jem o.o Even if it's a love triangle. And I personally think Cassandra Clare could have done better; she shouldn't have written yet another series with a love triangle.

      Same here. It's the same ending I hope the Soul Screamers books will take up. Though I haven't read If I Die yet, so... >.>
      Tamani all the way ^-^


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