Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

(Photo taken from Maureen Johnson's website)

Title: The Bermudez Triangle
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Penguin/Razorbill
Category: Young Adult
Language: English
ISBN - 10:
ISBN - 13: 978-1595140197


Nina Bermudez, Avery Dekker, and Melanie Forrest have been friends way back when. They have never been apart, which is why it stressed Mel and Avery out when Nina had to go on a college program for the summer. Not soon after, they fall in love with each other and begin a relationship. Nina, on the other hand, meets Steve, falls in love, and gets totally bummed when they had to return home at the end of the program. She expected to come back to her friends and continue where they left off, but they appear to not want her around that much anymore; plus, she's missing Steve a lot. Then, by accident, she sees her friends kissing and the 'triangle' is never the same again.


The real reason I bought this book was not because the plot seemed intriguing (that was the second), but because I have the same name as one of the characters, Nina Bermudez. But more on that in another post.

I like that the story is more friendship-themed than romantic-themed. I like that it tackled gay relationships, even more, I like that it tackled falling in love with your friend - stuff that a lot of teens have a hard time coping with. In a now more gender-open society, it is still not uncommon for gay people to have a hard time coming out. I like how the author crafted Mel's character in that in the end, although she had already come to terms with her own sexuality a long time ago, she was also able to come out and gain a little perspective and strength to stand up for herself and what she is. On the other hand, the relationship between Parker and Nina and Avery and Mel showed the difficulties of falling in love with a friend, which is almost always the reason why most people think it's a complicated set-up. One day you're best friends, the next day you're lovers, and the next day you're lost - breaking up not the just the relationship but also the friendship in the process. In the end, I like how the author makes them come together and resolve their differences, as that is how real friendship is supposed to be.

However, I felt that most of my interest in the story is not focused on the main characters. Not even by Nina, who's my namesake and who seemed just a little bit too, well, me. Even though I could see a lot of myself in her, it felt that she and her two friends were too flat for their own good. There's the smart one, the cute one, and the cool one. The blue one, the pink one, and the green one. After a while, I got tired of reading about how Nina was too busy with student council and is the morally upright rich citizen, how Mel was too shy and sappy and the one with the secret, and how Avery is all grunge and spunk and plays kickass music. What saved the day, though, were the secondary characters, Parker in particular, who I liked a lot because he's got some more substance. He seemed to be the big brother type but is also cute, loves to joke, has great comebacks for almost anything hurled in his way, and proved to be a very loyal friend. Not really yellow, but not just orange - more like yellow-orange, and I think you'll agree that it looks better than either colors on their own.

As for the story, the pacing was good, warm, and entertaining. All my questions were answered by the end of the novel. I'm pretty sure that this book's target audience, young adults, would definitely enjoy reading this story with its simple, undemanding personality. As for an 'older' person like me, it suddenly brought back memories, and a sense of nostalgia for old friends and the part they played in creating the person that I am now. This coming-of-age story of a friendship of three girls will definitely have you laughing, crying, falling in love, and smiling at how real friends complete you and help you mature.

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