Published: October 6, 2015
Genres: Romance, Young Adult, LGBT+
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
What happens when your two best friends fall in love…with each other?
“Their friendship went so far back, it bordered on the Biblical — in the beginning, there was Nina and Avery and Mel.” So says high school senior Nina Bermudez about herself and her two best friends, nicknamed “The Bermudez Triangle” by a jealous wannabe back on Nina’s eleventh birthday. But the threesome faces their first separation when Nina goes away the summer before their senior year. And in ten short weeks, everything changes.
Nina returns home bursting with stories about Steve, the quirky yet adorable eco-warrior she fell for hard while away. But when she asks her best friends about their summer romances, an awkward silence follows.
Nina soon learns the shocking truth when she sees Mel and Avery…kissing. Their 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.
Being honest, I haven’t read a lot of books with queer characters. I haven’t actively avoided them or anything, I just haven’t read them. From what I understand, there is a lack of LGBT+ books, especially in YA. However, this book is good and also happens to have a story that centers around sexual identity and accepting yourself. There are some things that 12 years later read much more problematic than it did in 2005, but I still think it captures figuring out who you are when you are 17.
A great deal of the story is about the friendship between the three girls. Can it survive, firstly, a huge secret as Mel and Avery hide their relationship that started over the summer while Nina was at smart camp and, also, the break-up?
Each girl goes through a complete transformation through the story, which I think is a brilliant part of the book. I could have been very easy to focus just on Avery’s journey as I think her’s is the biggest, but Johnson chose to write a rotating narrative that highlights each of the girls.
Reading Mel’s discovery of her sexuality was powerful, hers is a story of self-discovery and acceptance of herself.
Nina’s is a story of learning to see people, especially people close to her differently than she had before. She needs to accept chance and learn that even though people seem different, they are fundamentally the same.
Avery, oh Avery, her story is so complex, and it’s with hers that some of the now problematic storylines lay. She doesn’t want to label herself, which I loved, but I can see how some could find it problematic. Johnson talked about this a little in a Twitter conversation years ago, and I couldn’t find it. Mostly because it was in, like, 2010 and if you don’t follow Maureen on Twitter, you don’t understand the sheer volume of tweets she has.
This book also does a deep dive into female friendships. Out of all of Johnson’s books, I think this one does the best at exploring how girls relate to each other. Female friendships are complex and hard to quantify. I thin that she does an amazing job showing the different sides of those kinds of relationships.
Overall, I loved this book. I found it just really compelling and a quick read overall. Most of Maureen Johnson’s books are quick fun reads, this one is rather deep for her line of work. I recommend highly.
Maureen Johnson is my favorite author, I’ll be writing more about her on Thursday if you want to know more about that.
Until next time Internet,