The Bermudez Triangle

The Bermudez Triangle book cover

**This review contains spoilers**

Originally I had hoped to include The Bermudez Triangle in the original set of fifty reviews, but I couldn’t quite pull it off. Here is the thing about Maureen Johnson’s book, I really wanted to like it. It’s about a trio of teenage girls, best friends since forever, and everything is copacetic until the overachiever of the bunch heads off to Stanford for the summer to attend a leadership camp and the other two are stuck at home and sort of fall into a romance with one another. I like that, I like books with strong female leads doing strong female lead type things.

I did not include this book in the original fifty though, because I couldn’t get through it. The first half of the book is so hard to read, it just drags on and on and on and I was continuously putting it down because nothing happened. Once things started to happen I was more interested, but ultimately bummed out because the characters are kind of assholes.

Nina, the overachiever, returns home from Stanford totally stuck on some guy who lives across the country, with no phone and no money, but who she plans on continuing to “date” from 3000 miles away until they can be reunited in the Fall of their freshman year at university. This is so unrealistic to me. This girl Nina is supposed to be some kind of genius, president of the student council and blah blah blah. It bothers me that someone so smart can lose herself in some guy so completely. I felt like she needed to listen to the entire back catalog of Savage Love and get a grip.

Her best friends aren’t much better. Mel and Avery stay home all summer and work at some generic bar and grill together with another kid in their class, Parker (a dude). The girls start fooling around and decide to be girlfriends, but they are stuck deep in the closet, which is whatever, but um, so dull. PLUS, Avery isn’t even sure she’s a lesbian, which is extra annoying because she and Mel, who knows she’s gay, don’t ever talk about their relationship. The whole thing is like an example of how to do everything wrong in a relationship. Once again I felt like I needed to set those girls down with Dan Savage and get their heads straight (heh).

Of course, everything wraps up nicely in the end, the girls repair their friendship just in time for Avery and Nina to start making their big future plans, but no word on what poor sweet Mel is going to do after her psycho mom flips out on her when she’s accidentally outed. Nina once again lets down a generation of smart, strong women when she messes with the head of sweet Parker and then drops him like hot coals in favor of the dumb dumb from Oregon who cheated on her three months into their long distance thing (no surprise there, frankly). No worries though! Another girl wanders past Parker just in the nick of time and he immediately begins to follow after her like a lost puppy. Because affections are totally interchangeable!

So yeah. This one was a disappointment. It could have been a really thoughtful piece about being a gay teen in highschool, but instead just furthered a bunch of backward type thinking about relationships and young people and did not really impress me. I think I got the recommendation for this book off of the 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader list put out by Bitch Magazine, and I still can’t figure out why it’s on the list. Maybe for the same reason I thought it would be good? Because it’s a coming of age story about a teen lesbian? Speaking of, Mel is pretty much the only redeeming character in this book, the only one who stays true to herself and doesn’t screw anyone else over in the process. So, I guess there is that at least.

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