Thursday, January 1, 2015

Love Triangles

I have quite a lot to say about this topic and I really was inspired by a discussion thread in the group Addicted to YA on Goodreads where I did post and you should go check the group out because it's awesome, huge, and welcoming. I am going to put what I posted below and then I'm going to expand on it, so let's get started!

"Usually, love triangles are terrible and only a source of frustration and anger for the reader, but if they are done well, it can contribute to the overall awesome of the plot. In my opinion, the love triangle in the Infernal Devices series is one of the best crafted love triangles of all time because it makes the reader fall for both guys and want Tessa with both Jem and Will which mirrors Tessa's confusion. Though, love triangles like ones in the Hunger Games are terrible. The Hunger Games love triangle, to me, wasn't really one at all. We all knew Katniss would end up with Peeta and Gale would always crush on Katniss, but that didn't really matter. YA love triangles always have a clear choice for both the decider and reader, which makes me turn away from love triangles in my favorite genre, but there are those rare gems where the author leaves you just as confused and head over heels as the character."
-Jayne (aka ME)

I have a love hate relationship with love triangles. I love them if they are done well, if not, I want the love triangle gone. Since I wrote that, I've read more books and developed more thoughts on love triangles. Now, I don't have any objections to romance in books because books mimic real life and real life has romance in it and some times, it makes a dull or semi-interesting plot more interesting. Occasionally in real life, there are love triangle situations and it gets super messy and usually doesn't end well. But love triangles happen way too often in books, especially Young Adult. 

Usually in Young Adult, love triangles always have a clear winner. In the Hunger Games, my example above, no one absolutely hates Gale and thinks he's the worst person in the world and wants him killed. Like I've said before, I think Gale would have benefited more as a character if he were Katniss's brother since he kind of acts like that already minus being in love with Katniss. Me thinking that Gale, one third of the love triangle, should have a different relationship with the center of the triangle instead of being in love with her shows that there was a clear answer all along, Peeta. I think everyone agrees with that. 

The Selection series by Kiera Cass is the same case, a flopped love triangle, but it is a little different. It's a little different because, since the beginning of the book, WE ALL HATE ASPEN. I don't think I'm alone here. He broke America's heart and we all hated him for it. But, America still loves him even though he ripped out her heart, stomped on it and crushed it into a million different pieces. Personally, I would be at least a little mad. And then, Maxon comes along and he is the one we all adore we all see that America should end up with Maxon. We can all see it, it's the best choice! But she can't let herself fall for Maxon because she still loves Aspen. Really? Cass is trying to make this into a working love triangle, but it's just not going the way she would have liked. Cass says over and over again that Aspen really is a good guy, and I do think he redeems himself (sort of) towards the end of the series, and we don't see him the same way that America does... and that's the problem. She doesn't make us see what America sees and that is what makes this "love triangle" fall flat on its face.

Now, not all YA love triangles make me want to tear my eyes out. There are some gems out there and they are exactly that. We have to dig and dig and dig until we feel like it is just not worth it anymore until we spot it... a fantastic love triangle that makes our little hearts swoon for both involved parties and makes us just as emotionally confused as the poor girl stuck in the middle. 

Like I mentioned in my comment, the Infernal Devices love triangle is one of the best, if not the best love triangle in YA. Cassandra Clare makes the readers just as confused as Tessa. One second we are absolutely in love with how sweet as Jem is and think that he should be the one for Tessa and the next we are one hundred percent sure that Will and Tessa should be together forever. It's the most wonderful and the terrible thing to ever experience. We read books to experience a story, not to be emotionally connected, right? Wrong. Books are an emotional roller coaster, at least they should be. Cassandra Clare is able to craft a love triangle that takes us on that roller coaster which is what she set out to do. Thank you Cassandra Clare for destroying my heart and making it whole all at the same time.

Another fantastic love triangle is that in The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I have only read the first two books, so I'm not an expert on this series by any means, but I still think that it has a great love triangle. When Celaena is with Dorian we want her to be with Dorian, at least I do. And when Celaena is with Chaol we want her to be with him. Personally, I think Celaena should be with Chaol because I like him better for some reason, I can't remember specific reasons why because I just remember their relationship being really sweet and cute and I like reading about their relationships. But, in the first book, I did like Dorian slightly better, but that changed in the second book and I like Chaol better. Sarah J. Maas made me really confused between the two. That must be the key with love triangles... confusion. 

Personally, I tend to stray away from love triangles because they usually frustrate me or don't recognize them as love triangles because it is that terrible. Occasionally though, there are those rare gems that make the reading experience better. 

Please let me know your thoughts on love triangles in the comments! I don't want to be the only one with these strong feelings!

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