Sunday, July 15, 2012

Let's Talk Love Triangles

Love triangles are so prevalent in YA literature nowadays. And, let’s face it; it’s usually two boys vying over the affections of one girl.

Some people love them, splitting into the Team X vs. Team Y, ardently defending their OTPs with the protectiveness of a mama bear… on steroids.

Some people hate them with a fiery passion powered by the solar energy of a thousand suns…
I will admit that there are some “Teams” that reduce me to a giggly, blubbering fangirl. However, I’m actually not a huge fan of the love triangle.

As a literary device, I can see why the love triangle would be very popular. It’s a good way to develop a main character—each love interest represents one prospective path/future for the main character, and in deciding who to ride off into the sunset with, the main character gain more depth and development.  And, let’s face it, if there wasn’t some relationship drama in a novel, books would probably be a lot shorter. I mean, there’s only so many chapters that can be filled with action and thoughts and happy-couple feelings…

There just wouldn’t be that zest.

BUT. (There’s always a “but…”)

The love triangle has become such a common occurrence, so… typically expected that I sometimes cringe whenever I realize that the book I’m reading contains one. This is especially true when the two love interests (usually boys) are portrayed as the good-boy archetype versus the bad-boy archetype.
I KNOW you know what I’m talking about—there’s the nice, “safe,” boy, the kind that any girl in reality would be pretty darn lucky to snag, but who lacks that edge of danger and chemistry, so the girl usually picks the dark, alluring, mysterious bad boy. Who, let’s face it, is usually the more swoon-worthy one. The first couple of times, this was… nice. But when this particular case is used over and over and OVER again, I’m just like, “Puh-lease just put me out of my misery!” I already KNOW who’s going to end up with the girl. And then, of course, there’s the “First Come” rule… actually, it’s not called that at all. I’ve no idea what it’s called, but this is when the girl falls in love with one boy in book 1, and the second love interest isn’t even really introduced until book 2. In this case, 9 times out of 10, the girl WILL end up with the first boy. I don’t know why, it’s just the way of the YA world.  

I’m not saying there aren’t exceptions to this “rule,” but I can only count on one hand instances where it’s the 2nd love interest, the one who came later, that got the girl.

And believe me, I’m definitely not saying that I hate all love triangles. In fact, there are some that I ADORE. There are definitely YA authors out there who write amazing love triangles—really good, well-written differing love interests. For example, I love the Christian-Clara-Tucker love triangle—one of the best I’ve read—and there’s the Will-Tessa-Jem triangle that is extremely well-written… even though that particular love triangle has torn my heart to shreds. Let’s just say I’m a little bitter about a particular scene in Clockwork Prince.

I especially love it when a love triangle constantly has you guessing; you think the girl’s going to pick one guy one moment, but then something happens and then you fear for your OTP as you think she’s going to pick the other bloke (such was the case in the Christophe-Dru-Graves triangle from Strange Angels). The especially good, but SO tormenting love triangles are the ones where I love both of the guys, I want them both to get a happy ending. A prime example of this would be the Ash-Meghan-Puck love triangle…and the Dimitri-Rose-Adrian love triangle.

While I’m sure I could probably go on ranting about the love square…love rectangle? Love QUADRILATERAL thing in the House of Night books, I feel like this post has gone on for a lot longer than I really meant for it too! But let’s just say that my short answer would be NO. Just no. 
Luckily, I’ve never come across a Love Polygon… and I earnestly hope that I never do. While it certainly might be… interesting to read about, I’m almost certain I would be very annoyed with the characters, very soon.

Well, there ends my little rant, rambling, musing, whatever-you-want-to-call-it on the ever-popular love triangle. Feel free to leave a comment telling me what you think of this literary device/trend. Do you like it? Hate it? Oooh and I’d love to know some of your favorite (or least favorite) love triangles and Teams!!!

OH! FYI, in case you were wondering about my stance on the Team Edward or Team Jacob question… well, I’m rather conflicted because, you see, Edward was more romantic and swoon-worthy in the book…. But, come on, Jacob was waaaaay hotter in the movie. Just saying. 


  1. Love your post! personally I hate love triangles!! I understand the entire character development part, but since I read a lot more romance than YA, I don't believe that you can actually love 2 ppl. I'm strongly of the opinion there is ONE person for everyone. When YA heroines start "loving" and conflicted between 2 guys, it's hard to take the love seriously, because to me it's just a manifestation of the fact that teenagers don't know love. Even if they end up with one of the guys, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't work out because they are teenagers.

    With that said, some authors are amazing at love triangles and of course I love both guys. As for Edward or Jacob, I'm team Edward all the way, just not the usual sense. I didn't watch the movie. Tried it and hated all the actors and the acting. Anyway, Jacob was just annoying in the book and I much prefer Edward in the book. Now if only they didn't have to go and ruin my image of Edward on the big screen.

    haha didn't mean to make such a long comment. This subject always riles me up in a way! Great post!

    Ning @ Reading by Kindle Fire

  2. I HATE love triangles. I think they take away from the relationship. It's annoying how in one book, the girl is completely and totally in love with one guy and then all of a sudden, someone else comes along and they forget the first person. Drives me crazy. When I come across love triangles in books, it just makes me groan.

    As for Edward and Jacob, omg I hated Jacob with a fiery passion. He drove me absolutely crazy in the books and when I read Eclipse, I wanted to throw the book across the room, I was so annoyed with Jacob and Bella. I really think the story would have been better without the love triangle.

    As for Rose-Dimitri-Adrian, grr. I LOVE Dimitri. I also like Adrian but I HATED that he dated Rose. It drove me crazy that Rose started dating someone elsei. I was glad how the story ended though.

    I will say that the WIll-Jem-Tessa is not a horrible love triangle. It's definitely one of the better ones.

    Sorry this was so long! I just really do not like love triangles.

  3. Great post. I'm wondering if the Sookie Stackhouse books might count as a love polygon... interesting thought... lol.


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