Review: Three Sides of a Heart

Cover of Three Sides of a Heart, which features text over a colourful, overlapping triangle pattern.Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles is another book club pick. I didn’t actually get to attend the meeting because I was sick. But that’s all the more reason to share my thoughts here.

Summary

The love triangle has appeared in many a young adult novel. Yet the subject has yet to be exhausted, according to the authors featured in Three Sides of a Heart. This collection, edited by Natalie C. Parker, contains stories written by Renee Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagan, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, EK Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, and Brenna Yovanoff. And each story takes on the love triangle in a unique way.

Let’s Get Into It…

I’ve read my fair share of love triangles. In many cases, they’ve appeared as one girl trying to choose between two potential male partners. So when I heard of an anthology about love triangles, I had my share of doubts. I couldn’t help but think, Why do we need more of this? Luckily, the stories in this anthology stray far from what I usually expect in a love triangle.

Very few of the stories deal directly with a girl choosing between two male partners. Instead, we get an array of LGBTQ pairings, a bit of non-romantic love, and even some non-human points of a triangle. While some subvert the standard love triangle more than others, most treat the subject in a refreshing way.

The stories within this collection is diverse in more than just representation of the love triangle. The anthology includes characters and authors of different races and backgrounds. Some stories are set in the past, while others are set in the present or future. There’s also a wide range of genres, and tone ranges from dark to light, serious and contemplative to slice of life.

I like the stories that include other issues or that frame the love triangle within some greater choice the best. For example, “Omega Ship” by Rae Carson does feature a tale of a girl who must choose between two boys. But, it’s really a story of choosing between duty to species or freedom.  However, the fact that I prefer these kinds of takes on the love triangle rather than those that focussed on the love triangle itself probably speaks more to personal taste than the quality.

That’s doesn’t mean that some stories aren’t stronger than others. There are indeed a few pieces that seem a little rushed, or like they were written just to fit in the anthology rather than to tell an interesting story. Still, I would find it surprising if one came out of reading this collection without enjoying a few stories. Reading a YA anthology can be a nice switch from longer novels, after all.

Final thoughts: Three Sides of a Heart takes on the love triangle in often refreshing ways. If you’re a love triangle fan or you’d like to switch up your reading with some short fiction, this anthology might be worth checking out.

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