Before I begin the bashing, I should say that in a cute, fluffy contemporary, I don't mind love triangles. If that's the focus of the book and the MC is growing and finding who she is as a result of it, then I don't mind it at all. It's just that I think there are way too many love triangles out there that don't really have a reason to exist.
Since many of my reviews/posts include little hints at how much I don't like them, here's a list of why:
It should be noted that I am referring to YA.
- It's cliche. In my opinion, this is a bad reason-- I don't like to judge a book by what comes before it. However, if 9/10 of the books I read have the exact same love story, I am not pleased. You know what I mean by exact same. There are 2 options for what story the "good" guy will have. The first is childhood friend, trusted by the MC, but she just doesn't feel the same way. He's more like her big brother, and she doesn't want to break his heart. Option the second-- he brings out the good in her and makes her feel safe and loved. It's all butterflies and rainbows in this relationship. And the bad boy... does he really need a description?
- I always like the wrong guy. This isn't a legitimate reason but I needed to say that. Moving on.
- It's unnecessary. By unnecessary, I mean: Is this really contributing to the plot? Or what kind of person the MC becomes? Does it help the story grow and gain depth? A lot of the time, the answers to those questions are gonna be no. (Particularly in dystopian YA).
- It's unrealistic. For this one, I'm pretty much focusing on dystopian YA (though it can apply to various other genres as well), because I feel like dystopian should have the least love triangles while it has the most. About 99% of the time, the main character in a dystopian novel has her hands full. She's trying to save the world-- or her world. She's busy. And yet, she is falling in love with two separate guys-- so much so that it's all she can think about while a war rages on her doorstep.
- No effort at all was put into creating the love triangle. Sometimes, the love interests are two-dimensional. They're flat. They're echoes of hundreds of other characters, with no personality and no purpose other than adding drama. Sometimes, the main character already loves one of them, yet another character is thrown in last minute-- even though there is no reason for them to be there.
I'm not a big fan of the The Hunger Games, but I do appreciate the love triangle. Katniss handles it well. She realizes that she does not need either guy to survive and that she is completely fine on her own. She puts love aside at the moment, because she's literally the symbol that started a war.
Of course, it's different if it's a fantasy novel or a contemporary novel. However, I think that regardless of the book, if there is a war/fight/greater evil in a book then that should be the focus.
All this aside, I do understand why love triangles are so popular. A lot of people like them. God knows the media loves them. What is more suitable to focus on in a book series than the love triangle?