As a reader, I don’t belong to any particular genre. Sometimes I crave getting into a Young Adult Dystopian novel, so much so that I currently have some on my wishlist. I love reading them but as I’ve started to enjoy my latest one, I’ve realised that a love triangle is about to manifest itself. This was off-putting for me as I was beginning to enjoy the overarching conflicts inside the main plot. I fail to see how this brewing love triangle will help drive the story further. I am on book #2 in a series and the first book showed no such signs of a love triangle.
I started to think back on all the YA Dystopian novels I’ve read and quickly realised that this is actually a common trope. My question is, does this need to be a reoccurring theme?
Young Adult books are of course for young adults, and considering that girls are the biggest consumers of such fiction, it’s easy to understand why this may be so common. Love triangles are often fantasied. Nothing makes a young girl feel more relevant than having two handsome hunks to choose from. Our fantasies often have an affect on the types of things we enjoy, and publishers know this. Both publishers and authors will look at the success of a book series like The Hunger Games and Twilight and assume it’s important to include these themes to gain traction. I feel like throwing in a love triangle just for the purpose of pleasing a demographic can cheapen a fantastic tale.
Don’t get me wrong, with some of the popular YA books the love triangle is actually the pivot of the story. If the story is centred on this dynamic then that’s fair play. But books like The Ask and the Answer (my current read) build up such an intense storyline and then out of nowhere throw in a love triangle. This, in my opinion is cheap and looks as though the author or publisher is making assumptions on their audience.
Sure, I could just read some general dystopian books instead of YA. But sometimes I enjoy the idea of young people going on adventures and maturing throughout the process. If done right, young adult books can have some of the best character growth you can find in fiction.
If a love triangle is an inevitable part of the journey then I have no issues with it; as long as it feels like a natural part of the story. Just please stop throwing things in there because you think it would be a great way to hook new readers. I also feel like they’re trying to appease movie production companies who may buy the movie rights in attempt to recreate Twilight.
This is just a personal rant, so I would love to hear some more thoughts on this. Feel free to share your stance on YA love triangles in the comment section below. Perhaps there will be a follow-up post revisiting this topic.