I’m a teenage girl and maybe I’m an anomaly but I’ve never had to choose between two ridiculously handsome guys that are fighting over me. Come to think of it, none of my friends have either. In fact I don’t think I’ve heard of a single real teenager being involved in the trauma that is a love triangle. So why are there so many damn love triangles in YA books?
I may have never had to choose between my own Peeta and Gale or Edward and Jacob, but I’ve certainly had my fair share of friendship triangles. For those of who you who don’t know what that is (which is entirely fair enough – it’s not exactly a technical term) it’s basically the frienship equivalent of a love triangle, that is to say having to make hard choices between friends and the jealousy and friction which can occur in mutiple people friendships.
One of these struggles I can remember most vividly is when I moved to secondary, with many of my friends from my primary and obviously got introduced to a whole new pool of potential friends, one of whom I became close with pretty much immeadiately. We had surnames that began with the same letter, meaning we sat next to each other in pretty much every lesson and had lots of similar interests. This caused conflict between me and my best friend, who felt like she’d been replaced and over time we grew apart. Now we’re acquaintances and we make polite chat regularly but we’re not at all close. Of course, I can only tell my side of the story and how I experienced things and I can’t speak for either of the other girls but this is just one fo the many examples I have in my own life of the challenging dynamics of friendships.
So if this is such a real struggle occuring in teenager’s lives, why is so rarely depicted in young adult novels? Why are we so insistent on focusing on romantic turmoil? Perhaps it’s simply because it makes better reading and forces readers to pick sides, getting them invested in the book. Or maybe it’s due to the fact friendships can be a lot more painful and real for a lot of us.
I’m 18 years old and I’ve never been on a date or been in a relationship. I have had and continue to have countless friends. They are some of the most important people in my life and I don’t know what my life would look like without them. Currently I am more than perfectly happy being single and I see no difference in happiness between my single friends and those who are dating. But when people have difficulties with their friendships, that’s when they really struggle. If this is really the case, why don’t YA books reflect the world teenagers actually live in?
Luckily, not all YA books are lacking meaningful friendships that have their ups and downs, so to end I thought I’d share some of my favourite books with a focus on friendships or that contain friendship triangles.