It’s a trope we’ve seen over and over again in YA literature, and it’s one that we love to hate. One character, two love interests, and a whole lot of drama. Yep. I’m talking about the dreaded love triangle.
I’m sure we’ve all read them before, or at least have heard of them. Who can forget the intense conflict over Team Edward vs. Team Jacob? I’ll explain though. Love triangles are when there is a character (usually a female) with two potential love interests (usually both male). And normally they go like this: girl is lonely, suddenly has two guys pining over her, there’s drama, and then she must make a choice between the two boys.
Love triangles became a trend after two huge series, Twilight and The Hunger Games, exploded in popularity years ago. They started to show up everywhere. I felt like I couldn’t even pick up a YA book without one showing up. But I’m glad because it finally seems like love triangles are starting to die out. I hardly ever come across them anymore, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
But, I still do have opinions about how frustrating love triangles are because they were such a huge part of my reading experience as a teenager. I don’t hate every single one I’ve read, and I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone who might enjoy them more than me. These are just my honest thoughts and feelings, and if you like love triangles, that is totally fine. But here’s why I’m personally thrilled that they appear to be staying in the past:
They’re Simply Overdone
Look, there’s some tropes I love and will never get enough of. Others, I could definitely go without coming across ever again. Love triangles are one of those. They’ve been done so many times that I’m beyond sick of them at this point. Unless they’re unique or the author can put a different spin on it, I don’t care to read any more of them. There’s so many other ideas and concepts out there that are much more refreshing.
The Whole “Team” Thing Causes Division Among Readers
Okay yes, I will admit I was way in to picking which love interests I liked better and which “teams” to be on. My best friend and I used to get in to regular arguments over Peeta vs. Gale (for the record, I’m team Peeta all the way). It was all in good fun. But I’ve found that it’s even more fun for everyone to like the same ship. It brings some kind of unity among readers instead of pitting them against each other. And I find that much more enjoyable.
Toxicity Between Characters Is The Worst
What do love triangles always cause, without fail? Toxicity and drama. There’s constant arguing, hatred, and stressful situations. Especially if it’s two males fighting over a girl and they end up loathing each other more than anything. Ugh. It’s just sad because we really need to see more healthy dynamics between male characters, and the love triangles I’ve read did not accomplish that at all (except one, but more on that in a minute).
They’re Almost Always Predictable
It’s usually pretty obvious which love interest the character will end up with, right? The predictably makes love triangles even less engaging and even more annoying. The only one I can think of that wasn’t predictable from the beginning was in the Shatter Me series. It became obvious soon enough, which was alright, but the triangle still technically existed even after we realize who Juliette will likely end up with. Why though?? I don’t understand.
They’re Not Even Realistic
I remember being younger, reading a love triangle, and thinking “um there’s not even one boy that likes me and this girl has two?” And now I know that this is silly because love triangles are honestly not realistic. They seem to be way more common in books than in life. I just really don’t like the whole idea of making young readers think they’re expected to be picking between love interests all the time. Or thinking that a love triangle is even desirable in the first place.
And there we have it. Love triangles are honestly one of my least favorite tropes because of these reasons. To me, it’s good that we aren’t seeing them around as much anymore. I think they were probably fun at the time of their popularity, but looking back on it, they really aren’t as great as I thought.
I’m going to end this on a positive note though and tell you about a love triangle I actually do love with my entire heart. It’s the love triangle in The Infernal Devices trilogy between Tessa, Will, and Jem. The reason it worked? Because they all respected and loved each other. Will and Jem were the best of friends and had a bond so strong that they didn’t allow Tessa ruin. And Tessa was a wonderful character as well. Basically, it wasn’t predictable, there was little toxicity, and it was so uniquely written that it was actually enjoyable. I loved it so much.
So even though I pretty much loathe every love triangle, there is one that I like because it defied all the commonalities that we come across in the other ones. If an author can pull that off, then I might be able to get behind the idea of a love triangle. But other than that, I’m more than happy for the trend to be over.
I’d love to know:
What do you think of love triangles? Which ones have you hated or loved? Do you hope they stay in the past, or do you hope to read more?