Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is up with all the triangles?

I've spent the last 10 or so minutes looking at the books listed in Goodreads' 2011 Debut Authors for Young Adults and I noticed one particular thing that a lot of these books have in common. I counted five books, among the ones that I randomly clicked on, that mentioned in their synopsis a very familiar plot device known as the Love Triangle.
I'm still not really sure what to think of this cliche, err, plot device. I admit that I can't recall a book or series that (I thought) executed the situation well. Probably the most famous triangle in recent fiction has to be the Gale-Katniss-Peeta quagmire of the Hunger Games series. For me, that was a love triangle that had a whole lot of potential: it started out well, then it just went downhill and served in part to alienate me from the narrator, Katniss, and make me feel quite bored with the overall story...
But I'm probably being unfair. What I want to know is, why are so many authors writing these? Because, skeptical conspiracy-theorist that I am, I have to wonder if they (new authors) feel like this will give their manuscript an advantage or make their book more enjoyable. Triangles seem to be 'in' now, right?
Why, though? Tell me, why are they popular? I know all you can see is the print on the screen and you can't hear my voice, but let me assure you I'm not trying to be snarky or sarcastic. This is definitely a phenomenon that I don't understand. Is it like a girl's secret fantasy, to have two absolutely physically perfect guys chasing after her? Because you and I both know that both candidates are usually portrayed as being...well, not horrible to look at. For me, it's a turn-off for a girl to 'play' two guys at the same time. When I say 'play,' I mean lead them both on, kiss them/make out with them, yet keep them at arms' length by not making a decision and committing. That also seems to hint at a double-standard, too, because if a boy did that with two girls, well we'd all be up in his Casanova grill.
But I must be missing something. What is it that yall like about love triangles? Or not--basically, what are your opinions? Do you like books that feature triangles as a major plot device, or does it make a difference?

By the way, the "Triangle books" for 2011 that I noticed included:
- Cynthia Hand
Possession - Elana Johnson
A Beautiful Dark - Jocelyn Davies
Girl of Fire and Thorns - Rae Carson
Hemlock - Kathleen Peacock
** Note: none of these books are published. I'm only going on what I read from the synopsis :)
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