Of Romance and Rivals (or, Let’s Talk Love Triangles)

Currently listening to: Mirrors, by Natalia Kills (Acoustic)

Love triangles.

I’ve got to say, I’m a little iffy about love triangles sometimes. Unless they’re really, really well done, I can do without them. I’m not sure when love triangles became such a big thing (particularly in YA fiction), but…I don’t know. They don’t really do much for me a lot of the time, and yet they’re a pretty key component in a lot of books I’ve read lately. And can we talk about how they’re never really “triangles”, anyway? They’re more like just love…angles. Two people (guys, generally) zeroing in on a single girl, while that girl debates the pros and cons of each guy. Ish. A triangle…that should be like…One guy likes a girl who likes a different guy, who likes the first guy. Or maybe one girl likes a girl and a guy, and the guy likes both the girls, and the other girl likes the guy and the girl. Something like that.

I mean, I think part of the thing that throws me off with a lot of the love triangles I see is that in a lot of these books, the protagonist is going through a lot of stuff. Like, we’re talking world-saving, massively-important stuff. I don’t know about you, but I had enough trouble trying to maintain an interesting love life while I was trying to double-major in undergrad. If “saving the world” or something like that was on my to-do list instead, I’m not sure I’d find time to eat, let alone find time to wring my hands over multiple potential-lovers.

Now, I will say that there are some exceptions. In particular, I can think of two love triangles that I like off the top of my head:

-Katniss, Peeta, & Gale (The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins)

Why do I like this little grouping? Because in The Hunger Games, the love triangle is never center-stage. In fact, at one point Katniss even says something to the effect of “screw you both, I have more important things to worry about right now, so we’re gonna have to table this whole ‘love’ thing a while”. That’s realistic, to me. At least, as close as we can get to realistic when we’re dealing with a teenager-turned-reluctant-rebel-leader-with-PTSD in a dystopian future.

-Alyssa, Jeb, Morpheus (Splintered series, A.G. Howard)

I don’t have a lot of reason to like this one. Like, I don’t have something nice and thought out about why I like it. I just really like the series*, and I really like Morpheus. Part of the appeal of this love triangle, I suppose, is that Jeb is representative of the “real” world, the “normal” world, whereas Morpheus is the nether-realm embodied. The strange, the new, and possibly the real place Alyssa belongs. The boys mirror Alyssa’s bigger dilemmas of trying to juggle her mortal life and Wonderland and trying to find balance between the two. Or choose one.

And that’s all I have time for today, because work and class took up most of my day. But the moral of the story is: I like stories without love triangles, even though I like some love triangles. And I prefer my romance subplots to be more like…sub-subplots. Usually the protagonist has enough on their plate already; let the secondary and periphery characters have some romance arcs, maybe.



*Really. You are going to hear more about this series. And you should read it, because it’s phenomenal. Also, A.G. Howard is on Twitter and she’s really active. I might’ve felt a little giddy when she replied to one of my tweets, because I’m a nerd like that. Gotta love when people whose work you admire are accessible and awesome people.


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