Time for our first post as part of the Love Triangles 101 feature! As part of the introductory post, we'll be tacking this question: Why do you think love triangles are so prevalent in YA, and how do you feel about them?
The discussion reads like a conversation because it is a loosely edited transcript of an actual conversation between us.
Why do you think love triangles are so prevalent in YA?
Chantelle: Because it introduces an element of angst.
Nara: And it gives the author more time to flesh out the story a bit more. As in, instead of one book, you can drag out the romance through three books.
C: It also sort of makes the main character seem more desirable.
N: Also, I think authors kind of use it as a plot device to show the character's growth. So, for example, in The Selection in the first and second books, you can tell that America doesn't know where she's going. She hasn't sorted herself out yet. And that's why in the third book, she's going to sort herself out and she's also going to choose which love interest.
C: That's also the main reason why people don't like love triangles. Where a love triangle can go wrong. For example, in Onyx, when Katy is just so annoying in trying to decide. It is just the most annoying thing I have ever come across. Because she's stringing along the guy you know she's going to end up with. But I guess...it kind of reflects...their journey....
N: Haha. Nah, I get what you mean.
How do you feel about them?
C: I don't like them.
N: I like them in some circumstances. If they're done well. Like The Infernal Devices was amazing.
C: And why is that?
N: Just because they were both such good characters and equally balanced. And you can see that Tessa has a connection with both of them. Whereas in some other books it's obvious the main character's going to one of them and the other character's kind of just there. Which is annoying, because it's like, you know she's not going to end up with that guy. So can you just get rid of him haha.
C: For love triangles, I don't like them because if they're so equally balanced, then you're invested in both guys, and they're obviously great guys if the triangle's equally balanced. And you know she can only date one, but you want the other one to get a happy ending as well and so you end up depressed the entire book.
N: It's definitely hard for the author to work it out. I mean, it worked in TID but in other books there isn't the same premise.
C: And it's easy for the author to fall into the trap of when they finally choose the love interest, they make the other person do something stupid, just to make sure the reader doesn't like them anymore.
N: It's so annoying when they make them undesirable. I don't know, like suddenly making them evil or something. Or killing them off. That's really annoying.
Love triangles that work
C: I say they don't work, because I always get so mad.
N: Infernal Devices works.
C: I don't know, I got so mad that I nearly didn't read the third book.
N: But it worked out in the end as well.
C: Sort of, I felt cheated by the way things worked out. Because that's not fair. In real life you can't just do what Tessa did. Also, I just think Will and Jem were too equal. There were all these things that came up which made Will worse or Will better, or Jem worse or Jem better...
N: lol. But it was good. It was really angsty.
C: It exceeded my angtsy threshold and went into anger.
N: But I felt like I really wanted to read the conclusion. Because I really wanted to see how she was going to work that out.
C: Yeah I guess it was pretty amazing that Clare worked herself into a situation where no one can think of a way out, and she somehow can. But I still think it was too equal. I can't invest myself in all three characters. I've only got so much space in my heart.
N: Haha. So what other love triangles work?
N: Shatter Me. Shatter Me works.
C: Shatter Me definitely. Incidentally, we're doing an LT101 post on Shatter Me on Monday #shamelessplug. And Vampire Academy. Vampire Academy's love triangles work.
N: Incidentally, we're doing an LT101 post on Vampire Academy on Wednesday #shamelessplugtaketwo.
Books mentioned in this post
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Great books that do not have love triangles
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay (NA)
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Reboot by AmyTintera
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Slammed by Colleen Hoover (NA)
Earth Girl by Janet Edwards