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The Bermudez Triangle

The Bermudez Triangle
Maureen Johnson
YA, LGBT, Romance, Coming of Age

Lifelong best friends Nina Bermudez, Avery Dekker, and Melanie Forrest face their first separation the summer before their senior year when Nina attends a ten-week summer program at Stanford. Nina returns home bursting with stories about Steve, her summer romance. But she soon learns the shocking truth about what her friends were up to while she was gone when she sees Mel and Avery . . . kissing. The friendship is rocked by what feels like the ultimate challenge. But it's only the beginning of a sometimes painful, sometimes funny, always gripping journey as three girls discover who they are and what they really want.

It seems like I go on a hardcore reccing-spree for this book once every few months--probably because that's how often I reread it. I've just finished it for the twentieth? thirtieth? time and I want to make everyone who hasn't been around to witness my Bermudez-related histrionics is made aware.

The Bermudez Triangle is a romance on the outside but a story about friendship at its heart. I've never related to characters in a YA novel the way I relate to Mel, Nina, and Avery. When you read this book, you could be reading about yourself or your friends. And those are the best kind of characters, in my humble opinion--the ones you can see yourself in, be it the good parts or the bad parts. Rarely do I find one character--let alone three--where I can see, not one side, but both. For bonus points you also have the goofy but endearing guy friend thrown in there. Why all have those. (Don't we?)

Maureen Johnson realizes that it's not just how a character is described or how a character acts that is a prime marker of characterization--it's the relationships between the characters and how they interact and how their personalities bounce off of one another. This is especially important in a book about friendship and it's one of the many aspects that makes The Bermudez Triangle shine through triumphant.

The book chronicles a year in these characters' lives together and it's full of poignant moments, sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad, usually bittersweet. It's organized with holidays as time-markers and it serves to remind that even in the midst of jubilation or crushing heartbreak, life doesn't stop.

And besides all that, I'm just a huge fan of Maureen Johnson's writing. She's adept at bringing any scenario to life with her trademark style of humor. The lesbian relationship is (of course) what drew me to this book in the first place and if I'd have to choose, it probably stand number one on my shelf of Queer Relationships And How They Are Handled. Sexuality is a big theme: not only is it about two girls in a relationship, it's about discovering yourself, coming out, questioning your identity, dealing with homophobia, and learning how to deal when your two best friends begin a relationship.

There is honestly nothing I don't love about this book and I could wax poetic some more about WHY but I think you get the idea. It's one of the first books I go to when I need a heartwarming, comforting read. Read it. I can't recommend it strongly enough.

Trigger warning: some depictions of homophobia.

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December 2011

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