Are Love Triangles Really An Epidemic?


Not Every M/F/M Friendship Is A Love Triangle

It’s gotten to the point where I can’t trust when a reviewer reports there is or is not a ‘love triangle’ in a Young Adult book.

Sometimes reviewers say there is a love triangle when there’s absolutely no love between the girl and her two male friends.

I don’t know why reviewers always assume every friendship equals romantic love.

After all, these tend to be the readers most vehemently against insta-love, right?

Maybe that’s part of the problem. Assuming insta-love when it’s not, and assuming love triangles when it’s not.

What Is It

A love triangle in YA fiction typically represents a teen girl trying to choose which person she wants to be when she’s with which lover she wants to be with. The boys are typically a good guy and a bad boy – ultimately, the girl will choose the boy she feels more herself with.

That’s not to say there can’t be other kinds of love triangles – between two rival girls and a boy, bisexual, gay, or between a girl and two bad boys – but the point is that the centre point of the triangle must be in love with both of the other points. She or he has a choice to make. He or she can also be in love with someone who does not reciprocate.

See, it’s not about who’s in love with the main character that defines a love triangle.

It’s who the main character is in love with.

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)It’s not a love triangle when there’s a couple and a pining third wheel.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer is a love triangle because Bella is in love with Edward and is also in a kind of love with Jacob.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White is not a love triangle because Evie is NOT in love with her fairie ex-boyfriend stalker, but is in love with Lend. Evie does not make a choice between Lend and the creepy fairie, even though creepy fairie is obviously still into her.

UnwantedIt’s not a love triangle when the heroine is platonic friends with two boys.

Unwanted by Amanda Holohan is NOT a love triangle because Bea platonically loves her best friend who is male, and she does not love Red.

It’s not a love triangle when the centre point is not in love with either of the other two points.

Harry Potter is NOT in a love triangle with Ron and Hermione.

Adaptation (Adaptation, #1)Malinda Lo’s Adaptation demonstrates a bisexual love triangle – Reese has a crush on David and falls into a relationship with Amber. She’s still trying to choose who she wants to be with and how it defines her, even if David isn’t in love with her. Because it stems from Reese, it’s a love triangle.

If there is no romantic feelings towards both of the main character’s suitors, then it’s not a love triangle. Please stop misrepresenting books!

Note – You can still be Team Whoever! You are still allowed to ship characters with whichever character you want.

Even if it’s not canon.

zuko katara


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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