(May contain references to spoilers.)
Girl meets boy, girl likes boy, girl meets another boy, girl likes other boy… too.
The love triangle. A common theme in numerous young adult novels. In the case of a stand alone story, the girl often ends up with the better of the two boys. Usually we get biased by the way the characters show their true colors--the one boy does something more heroic in word or deed, while the other does something stupid in word or deed. I’d say it’s a rare case for the author has the lead character go for the idiot. This way we are satisfied that the girl got her happily ever after. And when the story is told in a singular novel, we don’t find ourselves distressed for long, because the tale ends when the book ends.
This is not always the case with a series.
After reading the synopsis for Lauren Oliver’s Pandemonium, the second novel in the Delirium series, some readers freaked out. The very idea of some secondary guy entering into the picture for Lena potentially trying to take place of their beloved Alex… the nerve! Nobody wants to read about the main character falling for somebody new when they’ve already fallen for the first guy. It seems to be infuriating to some readers.
But is it really?
Take, for example, a well known vampire series. In the first book, the vampire was built up as an amazing and wonderful and caring and loving guy. The girl falls in love with him. As the story progressed, she starts to fall for her friend too. Enter love triangle. Most know how it ends. Some wish she picked the other guy (not me). Regardless of how everyone feels, that series was read by millions. Not just read, but loved, and continues to be one of the most popular series to date.
Then I reflect on another story, this time a dystopia where you get set up with your marriage mate. The girl gets set up with a wonder young gentleman she’s known all her life. Then they play a trick on her and another boy is revealed to her by accident on a computer screen. So the What If’s start to happen. As you take in both of their personalities, you think they’re both great. Of course, you’re supposed to think she’s meant to be with the one who she was not set up with. But you could get irritated with the fact that the one she was set up with isn’t a bad person. And considering that they were messing with her head, it makes you wonder if she really does love the forbidden guy or if they just made her think she does.
For some reason, that book frustrated me. Usually I don’t find myself torn between the two possible loves. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been in a position to be torn between two boys. I’m always swayed one way or another. Often, I believe, by the author. Another reason for the swaying is how we feel about the circumstances. I am the person who roots for the underdog. Because of that, I root for the forbidden boy. But like I said, the other guy’s a sweetie.
Does this mean I’m not going to read the next book? Of course not! I was pulled into the story, into their world, I need to know what happens in the end. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way I’d like it to be.
Even though we may feel a twinge of irritation with our favorite character falling for who we think is the wrong person, the journey is what keeps us reading. The journey of finding out the end, or that character’s happily ever after. Don’t let a book synopsis to get you riled (I’m actually quite excited for Pandemonium still). A love triangle can be maddening, but we subconsciously love it. It may be unintentional. But that’s why we keep reading them. And that’s why authors keep writing them.
PS: Ironically, this was written prior to last weeks Top Ten Tuesday. Readers may not be loving the love triangles but I beg to differ (because I'm irritated at times and still read them myself).