Love is messy. And you know the feelings start to become weirdly real when you fall deep into a twisted romance that keeps you feeling some type of way, even when it’s over. Yep—we’ve been there. Love triangles have been a staple of the YA genre, and are the best and words things in that the gratification from seeing your fave couple get together is unlike anything else! But when the couple you’re rooting for doesn’t quite work out… it’s soul crushing.
Before you immediately cast the trope away, one of our recent favorites has given us ALL kinds of emotions. Like, TITANIC-level emotions. When We Caught Fire tells the story of an epic romance that literally sets a city ablaze. We don’t want to spoil too much, but this love is intense. And so, because we were feeling so inspired, we compiled some of our favorite love triangles that had us dying to know who would end up together.
Slight spoilers below!
💕 Love triangle books:
1. Emmeline, Fiona, and Anders
When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen
If you recognize Anna Godbersen’s name from The Luxe series, then you already know serious drama is in store. In this new story, we meet Emmeline Carter, a girl poised to take Chicago’s high society by storm. But the romantic entanglements that come about from her childhood best friend and childhood sweetheart… complicate things.
It’s 1871, and Emmeline Carter is poised to take Chicago’s high society by storm. Between her father’s sudden rise to wealth and her recent engagement to Chicago’s most eligible bachelor, Emmeline has it all. But she can’t stop thinking about the life she left behind, including her childhood sweetheart, Anders Magnuson.
Fiona Byrne, Emmeline’s childhood best friend, is delighted by her friend’s sudden rise to prominence, especially since it means Fiona is free to pursue Anders herself. But when Emmeline risks everything for one final fling with Anders, Fiona feels completely betrayed.
As the summer turns to fall, the city is at a tipping point: friendships are tested, hearts are broken, and the tiniest spark might set everything ablaze.
2. Tessa, Will, and Jem
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
This book marks the first (and like, probably only?) time we were okay with anyone ending up with anyone, or everyone ending up with each other. All three of these characters had SO much love for one another, and watching the drama play out between them (especially once Will discovers the truth about his curse) is still devastating. We’re constantly thankful that Clockwork Princess really did bless us with the perfect epilogue.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. And as their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic.
3. Rose, Dimitri, and Adrian
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Let’s be real: There was never any doubt in our mind that Rose wouldn’t end up with Dimitri. Except for those middle couple books, maybe, but we don’t like to think about those painful memories. Still, our heartbreak in this trio is devoted to Adrian, who really deserved the world in this original series. We’ll reread Bloodlines for him and Sydney any day, though!
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger… and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever…
4. Molly, Patrick, and Gabe
99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Katie Cotugno is our go-to author for realistic fiction with messy relationships, snappy dialogue, and characters with complexities that we can’t help but fall in love with. And getting torn between two brothers—and all the fallout that happens before even the first page, really had us hoping everyone could just work their issues out in both timelines!
Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything. She has every right to hate me, of course: I broke Patrick Donnelly’s heart the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college and be done.
Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”
Day 12: Gabe wouldn’t quit till he got me to come to this party, and I’m surprised to find I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.
5. America, Maxon, and Aspen
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Do we really need to explain this one?! We were READY for Maxerica to whisk our emotions away from the very first page, but Aspen even managed to work his way into our hearts with his genuine devotion to America. This was another case of “can everyone just pls get a happy ending,” and if you haven’t read this romantic epic yet, we won’t spoil!
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
6. Taryn, Locke, and Jude
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Alright, IMPORTANT: If you have not read The Cruel Prince yet, turn back now. Because if you have, you know this trio’s spot on the list isn’t because of any devotion we feel to Locke, or even Jude’s feelings for him. This twist was most heartbreaking because of what it meant for Jude and Taryn’s relationship. Please talk it out and make up, ladies!!
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
7. Rielle, Audric, and Ludivine
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
This love triangle was very different at the beginning of the book than it was at the end, but if you haven’t read this epic fantasy yet, we’ll let you come into those developments all your own! What we can say is that we fell hard for all of these characters, and seeing Rielle in the prologue, hearing of Audric… it really got us wondering (and worried!) where it’s all leading to.
When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.
8. Cristina, Mark, and Kieran
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
We really couldn’t count the Emma/Julian/Mark tangle because we knew where the genuine feelings always were, but the storyline these three got in Lord of Shadows definitely made things between them more interesting. We don’t even know who we want to end up together but we’re ready for Queen of Air and Darkness to destroy us!
Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.
Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?
9. Griffin, Theo, and Jackson
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Obviously following Griffin through the grief of losing his first love is heartbreaking enough… without the author throwing another (sort of?) love story in the mix. Griffin and Jackson have such a unique relationship and we really felt just how it broke Griffin’s heart, unable to tell if he wanted to pull Jackson close or push him away at every page. Prepare to cry.
When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.
If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.
10. Adelina, Enzo, and Maggiano
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Although we agree that Maggiano was the best choice for Adelina—how can we not, after that ending?—some may argue that it doesn’t chage their love for Enzo from the beginning. They had passion, sure, but Maggiano was always the light in Adelina’s dark world. The real heartbreak came the moment we saw how their fates were all sealed.
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.
Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.