Tropes are a fundamental aspect of romance novels, whether it’s friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, grumpy x sunshine, or forbidden love. However, there’s one trope that is suffocatingly popular and just as chaotic: the love triangle.
While the details can vary, the most typical love triangle involves two guys hopelessly falling for the same girl. When it’s done well, it can be compelling to read. Oftentimes, however, love triangles get messy.
One of the most obsessed-over love triangles is in the Hunger Games series. Katniss, the protagonist, is forced to choose between Gale, her best friend, and Peeta, a charming boy in her district. According to junior Maya Merhige, “It’s one of the most iconic ones.”
The decision between who the main character should be with isn’t easy. “If it’s an obvious answer, like who that character should be with, then yeah, it’s fine. But if it’s a hard decision, then it breaks my heart because it’s hard to choose between people,” said freshman Mahrosh Shabir.
There isn’t always a happy ending, or the happy ending that the readers want. “Everyone kind of hates each other, they keep going back to each other but it’s just not right. And then I just feel bad for the other person who isn’t in it,” said sophomore Julia Marks.
In “The Summer I Turned Pretty” books and TV series, there’s a love triangle between the main character, Belly, and two brothers, Jeremiah and Conrad Fisher. Belly goes back and forth between the brothers, making the love triangle particularly chaotic. The series gained a lot of attention, and people all over the internet have been arguing over which boy Belly should be with. “People find it fun to debate with people about which character is better,” said Shabir, “I think authors love to create that drama.”
Some of the messier romance novels with love triangles include “The Kissing Booth” series and the “Twilight” series. In both of these novels, the love interest is painfully indecisive about who she wants to date, so the audience is left wondering what’s going to happen. The reason these love triangles are so entertaining is because of how unpredictable they can be. There’s always plot twists and switch-ups.
“People love the drama, they love saying what’s gonna happen and who’s gonna end up with who. It’s back and forth. They’re with this person, and then they’re with the other one,” Marks said.
While both of the above series are widely considered cheesy, they have huge fanbases. Love triangles in novels are often dramatic, but that can be relatable with teenage relationships. Even though these series can get chaotic, it’s understandable why they’re popular with a teenage audience.
“Certain aspects of (love triangles) are very applicable to people’s everyday lives, especially as a teenager at school,” Merhige said.