Tag Archives: coming of age

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.

Tiger Eyes

Tiger Eyes Book Cover

Blume, J.(1981). Tiger Eyes. New York: Random House. Kindle.

Reader’s Annotation

After Davey’s family faces terrible tragedy they move across the country to recover from the shock. Davey finds solace in the most unlikely place and learns a lot about herself in the process.

Plot Summary

When Davey’s father is brutally shot and killed in their family’s corner store the structure of her family crumbles. Davey begins having panic attacks at school, her mother can barely hold it together and her brother refuses to take off his super hero cape. With everything crumbling around their shoulders Davey’s mom moves the family to New Mexico to recover from their loss. In New Mexico Davey’s overbearing aunt and uncle don’t help her feel any more anchored, indeed she feels more lost and alone that ever. As she explores the beautiful canyons of Los Alamos, Davey meets a strange young man who calls himself Wolf. As Davey’s friendship with Wolf develops, she and her family begin to heal and find that though she may carry the pain of her father’s death, she doesn’t have to be afraid. After all, “how we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”

Critical Evaluation

Tiger Eyes is a classic coming of age novel, the characters are strong and the pain the Davey and her family are attempting to cope with are palatable.

Author Information

Judy Blume is a prolific author of many adult, young adult and children’s novels. She’s been writing for over 40 years and is one of the most well loved writers in the field. Blume is known for writing about issues important to teens and adolescents like puberty, sexuality and divorce, which makes her work some of those most frequently challenged in libraries across the country.


YA Fiction, Coming of Age, Death, Family

Curriculum Ties

Supports literary response and analysis curriculum for grades 9 and 10:

3.3 Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.

3.4 Determine characters’ traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy.

Booktalk Ideas

What is the canyon a metaphor for?

What are some of the main differences in parenting styles between Davey’s aunt and uncle and her own parents. How does Davey cope with these differences?

How does Davey’s relationship with Wolf change after she meets his father?

Reading Level/Interest Age 


Challenge Issues

The violent death of Davey’s father may be offensive to some readers or their parents. The library’s continued support of the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights clearly demonstrates that we work against censorship and strive to include literature in our collection that appeals to every reader. This work fulfills those qualities because it tackles the very real issues of parental death and depression with sensitivity and intuitiveness. Additionally the book supports the California Department of Education curriculum as demonstrated by the subtleties in the relationships between Davey and the adults in her life, as well as her brother and Los Alamos friends.

Reason for inclusion

I included this book because I remembered reading it as a teenager and loving it. I think it’s a valuable novel for any teen struggling through the murky business of growing up, whether or not they have been forced to deal with a tragedy such as Davey’s.


Judy Blume. (2012). In J. W. Hunter (Ed.), Contemporary Literary Criticism (Vol. 325). Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CH1132910000&v=2.1&u=csusj&it=r&p=LitRC&sw=w