Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Didn't Have Love Triangles

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! This week's topic are books we wish had more or less of...something. Love triangles can be well-executed (Anna Karenina and The Age of Innocence both come to mind), but often don't add anything interesting or special to the story, rather padding it with extra drama that doesn't serve the underlying narrative very well. Here are ten books I wish I could read again without the love triangle element.


The Hunger Games: This is the start of an amazing trilogy about a young woman who conquers tremendous odds to become to be both a freedom fighter and a symbol of the resistance. Her relationship with Peeta is built slowly and organically, but the silly love triangle with Gale? Not even remotely necessary.

New Moon: Bella and Edward have plenty of obstacles in their romance without the artificial hurdle of stupid Jacob. This is the book where he's the most real as a third leg of the triangle, but mostly he's just sulking in the corner. Laaaaaame.

Water for Elephants: I loved this book about a young man who finds himself traveling along with a circus and working with an elephant, but the love triangle with Marlena and Jacob and August? Doesn't add that much to the story, really.

The Interestings: While Jules and Ethan have a connection (and Ethan has a crush) when they're teenagers, I never understood why it persists past the point when Ethan marries Ash and they have children. Jules is happily coupled, Ethan is happily coupled...why the need to add the *~drama~* of a long-burning love triangle?

Gone With The Wind: Has anyone who's ever read this book or seen the movie ever understood why Scarlett gets so hung up on Ashley?

The Circle: Every single person involved in the Mae-Francis-Kalden triangle sucks. Mae is a selfish asshole, Francis is the worst kind of "she friendzoned me" bro, and Kalden only ever wants to bang in weird places. There's no tension here.

From Dead To Worse: Most of the love triangles that make up Sookie Stackhouse's romantic life are well-rendered and entertaining, but Quinn is my least favorite of her partners and when it comes to either him or Eric Northman, it's hardly even imaginable why she might consider the other side.

Return Of The King: This is less of a love triangle than an ill-advised crush, but the half-heartedness of Eowyn-Aragorn-Arwen is just

The Marriage Plot: Being in a relationship with someone with a serious mental health issue is a topic that doesn't get explored very often, and Eugenides handles that issue really thoughtfully. But inserting Mitchell's crush on Madeleine like it's a viable spoiler to that romance? Falls totally flat.

Sophie's Choice: While Sophie's love affair with Nathan is a beautifully tragic, Stingo's desperate crush on her leads to one of the single most cringeworthy scenes I've ever read and it just feels so pointless.

10 comments

  1. I've not read the book Gone with the Wind, but if memory serves me, the love triangle in the film is actually one I can "deal" with. Most of the time, this plot drives me nuts. Oddly enough, I can also "deal" with THG triangle - maybe because Katniss is such a closed off character?

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    1. I actually found the Gone With The Wind triangle even worse in the movie than the book...there's no indication that Ashley has anything to really offer Scarlett, he's so bland and boring and the "wanting the one person you can't have" trope is one that just does nothing for me. With THG, I think the love triangle is just superfluous. I like the way Collins builds Katniss and Peeta's relationship from a showmance to real feelings, but Gale just seems like a pointless character to me.

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  2. I totally agree, The Hunger Games did not need a love triangle!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/top-ten-tuesday-95/

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    1. It just feels so tacked on, doesn't it?

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  3. Great list! I wish THG didn't have a love triangle either; I really don't like Katniss and Peeta together and I didn't want her to be with Gale either, in fact I read Katniss as aromantic but, when this was published, love triangles sold books so I guess Collins had to throw one in there.

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    1. Yeah, it definitely seems shoehorned in rather than organic. I like the way she built the relationship with Peeta, but if it hadn't ended with them together, that wouldn't have felt wrong either. I can totally see what you mean about Katniss...romance doesn't feel like a priority to her at all

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  4. Oh my gosh - I'm with you on New Moon, The Interestings, and GWTW. I feel like there was just one seriously weak link in all of those love triangles...so they all felt contrived/forced. I never understood the whole Ashley Wilkes thing...he was such a wet blanket. And I feel like Jules was hung up on Ethan still solely b/c jealousy his money/success and their lifestyle...nothing actually having to do with Ethan himself.
    Now - a good TV love triangle I'm down for! Nashville and Hart of Dixie!

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    1. The only appeal of Ashley seems to be the "want the one person you can't have" deal, which...isn't really very compelling. And I totally agree, I thought her continued infatuation with him was all about his wealth and status and it made me like her less (but did feel in line with her character). I do enjoy love triangles in books and movies if they're well done and both options are viable and understandable, but it feels like a plot device that gets shoved in to so many things just because it's easy and so often fails!

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  5. I'm 100% with you on The Return of the King and The Hunger Games. The whole Arwen-Aragorn-Éowyn bothered me because it put this incredibly strong, brave woman in this stereotypical position of pining. And I really hate it when women pine in books because it usually feels like the author/director/etc. is just trying to make them look a little bit pathetic–and that totally doesn't fit with Éowyn's role in the rest of the story.

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    1. I am so with you! Eowyn is totally bad-ass...except when she's acting like a lovesick puppy making big eyes at Aragorn. It feels so off for what's otherwise the best female character in LOTR!

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