Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

I've read and enjoyed most of Ellen Hopkins' YA books, so I was pretty excited to see that she planned to release an adult book, also written in verse.  I was able to score an ARC through Atria's Galley Alley program, and the book was released yesterday, so you can also find a copy in stores now.  Like the title implies, it's a book about love triangles in adult relationships, specifically committed adult relationships.  It follows three women - two married and one single - whose lives intersect in various ways and form triangles with the men in their lives.

Hopkins pushes boundaries in her YA works and I think it's fair to say that she does so in her first adult book as well.  It's well done, similar in style to the verse novels she writes for teens.  As I've said before in reviewing her writing, the poetry can be, at times, gimmicky, but she makes her points well and I love that she is bringing poetry to readers who probably typically stick to prose. 

Entertainment Value
Again, I think it's similar to what Hopkins writes for teens, but with an adult audience in mind.  The issues she brings up are so appropriate for where I think our society as a whole is - the indulgence, the focus on making yourself happy regardless of what that means for others, the attempts to fill a life void.  The characters were not always likable.  In fact, I found myself really hating one of them, and at times really disliking the other two.  The character I hated was the most obvious example of someone who is living for her own desires and disregarding everything but her own happiness.  I appreciated that Hopkins showed a realistic portrayal of what happens when someone decides to cast aside everything and everyone in search of making herself happy - and how it can backfire. 

The issue of adultery is addressed well.  I have a hard time reading books where adultery is portrayed lightly and shown as a solution to loveless marriage - where a character has a justified affair because she doesn't "really" love her husband and then rides off into the sunset with the man she cheated with.  That's not ok for me.  But Hopkins doesn't take that route.  While she refrains from moralizing or preaching at the reader, she honestly shows the inside workings of why a person would cheat and the ripple effect that cheating can have on people who may not seem to be directly affected.  This certainly isn't a book that shows a happily ever after escape from loneliness or problems in marriage.  I think it shows the sad reality for many people who have an emptiness that they are looking to fill, and the damage that can be done to families when a parent decides to put their own happiness over the family.  OH and it totally reminded me of the Casting Crowns song "Slow Fade" if you are familiar. 

One note to readers is that it's also a pretty graphic book.  Like I mentioned before, Hopkins is known for her edgy teen fiction and her adult fiction takes that a step farther.  I had some o.O moments as I was reading.  If sex scenes turn you off, you may find yourself skipping some pages. 


  1. I'm reading this one now and so far it is what I expected. I wish it wasn't chick lit drama but EllenH has put her spin on it. I'm not done yet.

  2. What an excellent review...I haven't tackled any of Hopkins novels but I did get this one to review, so I think Ill check it out..:)

  3. Marce - I do think you're right in using "chick lit drama" to describe the plot. What I liked about it was that she did a better job than most at getting inside the character's heads and detailing their motivations - I think that's what appealed to me. I hope you'll post a full review on your blog so I can read your thoughts when you're done!

    Tina - If you get a chance to read it I'd love to hear what you think!

  4. Triangles is essentially the adult version of her other books, describing the lives and struggles of three women who each believe the grass is greener on the other side. Hopkins tells their stories unflinchingly - the good, the bad, and the ugly (generally the latter two) - and covers controversial topics, spanning from homosexuality to infidelity. I think Marissa was my favorite of the three. Her story is so heartbreaking and honest, while the others (although still interesting) seem somewhat superficial at times.