Hey guys, today we’re going to be talking about…….LOVE TRIANGLES. Doesn’t that sound fun?
Today’s topic is your ‘least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise’ but I shortened the title because hey, WORDY.
So we all know that love triangles are a painfully consistent trend in YA at the moment, and and it doesn’t seem like it will be changing any time soon. I feel that there are a few reasons for this. Firstly, love triangles are an obvious go-to when an author needs to stretch their book into a trilogy and don’t have enough material. If you pick up any YA trilogy out there I can almost guarantee you will find a love triangle in it, and that the second book will be packed with filler. Secondly, publishers feel it is a safe gamble. They look at other popular YA series, (the obvious one being Twilight) and see the sales. A light bulb goes on in their head that love triangles = money and they become instantly more likely to consider manuscripts for publication that contain them. It is the same as any other trend like vampires, werewolves, angels, fairytales, (that one kind of failed) Greek mythology and dystopia. Finally having two love interests is a good way to get people talking about your book. Teens will be having debates over Team Gale or Team Peeta for hours, passionately defending their fictional crush. It’s good publicity for the book to have devoted fandoms that readers can debate over.
To the left is a selection of books/series that contain love triangles, and those are only the ones I have read! I have plenty of other series on my shelf like Divergent, Delirium, Shiver, The Wolves of Mercy Falls and Sookie Stackhouse that I haven’t read yet, and I would be willing to bet money on the fact that they contain love triangles too.
This post is not to to say that love triangles are necessarily bad. I like that they don’t promote love as a sure thing, noting that it is okay to have doubts and to waver. I also think it’s great it suggests first love doesn’t have to be the only love (although the protagonist usually ends up with the first love anyway). My issue is that there are just TOO DARN MANY OF THEM. Looking at my YA series shelf I am hard pressed to find something that doesn’t have a love triangle. It’s repetitive and boring. It’s gotten to the point that whenever a new guy turns up in a book I roll my eyes with an internal notification, ‘love triangle alert’. It usually leads to me putting the book down in frustration and leaving it for a couple of days before going back to it. I think to myself “can’t we just skip this bit and get to the point where character A and B get back together and solve the issues at hand? We all know it’s going to happen anyway.”
Here’s my biggest issue with love triangles: They only work if they are believable, if you genuinely can’t choose which guy or girl you would like the character to end up with. Otherwise, they’re a waste of time. Unfortunately they’re rarely believable. Authors spend so much time creating an epic, impenetrable love in the first book that when they haphazardly slap another guy into the mix with minimal character development, it doesn’t work. We know how much the protagonist loves the first guy, we know that there’s no chance she’s going to pick the second guy over the first so it becomes irritating. I’ll never forget my teen self reading New Moon as quickly as possible so I could get back to the part where Edward would reappear, as opposed to all the Jacob drama.
The few novels where the love triangles worked for me include The Hunger Games because of how Katniss developed and changed over time, The Sky is Everywhere and Kissed by an Angel because these two included grief over the death of someone. That’s a very small percentage. The rest? Pretty pitiful.
I’m not suggesting books should omit love triangles altogether, but please I beg of you authors/publishers, change it up a bit!
What is your least favourite plot device? Are you a fan of love triangles in books? 🙂
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