The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
Synopsis: Nina, Mel and Avery have been friends forever. However one summer changes them and their friendship. While Nina goes away to a pre-college program Mel and Avery stay at home and start dating. But that is a bit of a secret.
My Thoughts: At first I found this book difficult to read. It was hard to distinguish between the three main characters. They didn’t seem to have their own voice. They all “sounded” similar and because I couldn’t hear the difference I couldn’t keep them straight even with physical differences. This made the physical descriptions seem forced, especially when they were repeated several times. It doesn’t really matter how many times you tell me Mel is tiny if I can’t hear Mel’s voice. It took about a third of the book before I could distinguish the three different girls and once I could I found the book easier to read.
What I did like about this book was how it explored the way in which we love the people we love. At one point Mel explains why she fell for Avery and not Nina. This is always interesting as this doesn’t really matter what gender the people are. Falling for one friend and not another is always tricky.
I thought Johnson handled the confusion felt by Avery very well. Avery acted in an awful way, but at the same time you could see why she acted the way she did. I think the confusion about do I like this person or do I LIKE them is one that teenagers (and older) often feel. When does caring for someone you have known forever go over into LOVE? And how do you react when it does how do your react or act?
I also like the way Johnson handled Nina’s reactions. From her confusion over her own sexuality, to her struggle with living up to her own image of herself as a tolerant open person, to her jealousy over being excluded. It all felt very true. Overall Nina felt like the character who was the most developed, the least flat in a YA book that wasn’t quite as littered with stereo types as one might suspect. However, I never felt like I got to properly know Avery and Mel, the other two main characters, the same way I got to know Nina.
The book contained quite a few snarky comments on theme bars which I found highly amusing. As well as Avery’s distain for management and their “incentive schemes”. One of my big problems with working in retail was trying to “up-sell”. I like helping people find what they were looking for (even if they didn’t know what they were looking for) but trying to get them to by that extra thing just felt squicky!
Overall this was a nice read but not one that rocked my world, but then again I don’t think I’m the target audience. I would definitely recommend it to my students though.