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[personal profile] bookgazing
I kind of want to riff off some things Ana mentioned in her first post (I am going to frame this as having a conversation with another post, not stealing Ana’s idea, even though I’m now going to quote Ana’s words…):

‘There’s a lot of potential hurt involved when someone who’s already in a relationship falls in love with another person, but guess what? It happens, and it doesn’t make them a traitor.’

Love triangles, which always end with one disappointed party, can be unsatisfying, to say the least, but they crop up again and again in romance and young adult fiction. I have to say I often feel kind of over the love triangle and I know romantic trigonometry is not welcome around these parts, so this seems like the oddest way to begin our joint blog venture. I feel like we should all watch that highly entertaining, educational video of James Blunt singing ‘My Triangle’ on Sesame Street at this point to diffuse any tension…

Love triangles commonly move fast. The three main characters appear early on and a spark is established between the characters who aren’t yet together. In ‘When the Stars Go Blue’ Caridad Ferrer sets her love triangle up slightly differently, giving her first romantic pairing more time together to give her readers a real feel for their attachment and their flaws.

Soledad, a gifted, classically trained dancer has a backstage conversation with Jonathan, a talented horn player. Jonathan asks her to tour the summer competition circuit with his drill corps, which needs a dancer to complete their portrayal of Carmen. Soledad has always wanted to be a ballet dancer, but has been advised by her mentor, Madame, that she should focus on a discipline less likely to destroy an athletically built dancer like Soledad. Upset by what she sees as her mentor’s lack of faith in her, she decides to take the role instead of taking up a place that Madame has arranged with a latin dance troupe.

Approaching Soledad about the role of Carmen is Jonathan’s way of finally getting up the courage to talk to the girl he’s liked for four years. When she wins the role he makes his feelings clear and they find themselves embarking on a romance just as they’re about to spend a whole summer living out of coaches together. Both of them are highly focused, creative people who have previously left little space in their lives for romance, which means they’re both in the dangerous position of having to test out how relationships work on each other. Their romance is physically and emotionally intense (read hawt), but their high level of intensity quickly shows up both characters serious emotional insecurities.

Soledad’s insecurities manifest as a need to be wanted. Her mother left her with her grandmother when she was very young and she never returned. Although Soledad has a loving relationship with her grandmother, she does have abandonment issues, which seem to have partly shaped her professional ambitions to be a great dancer. The feeling that she needs to be the best, in order to feel worthy impacts on her relationship with Jonathan, as she feels the relief of being wanted and recognises that she has the ability to give something perfect to another person:

‘what I felt as I kissed Jonathan back was the most tremendous sense of tenderness for this sensitive, beautiful boy and underneath that was, well…he wanted me.

He wanted me so much and I could give that to him.

Tell me, how was I supposed to resist?’

Jonathan buries his insecurities under an extremely rigid façade, but his issues are essentially the same as Soledad’s. His lack of self-confidence also stems from parental disapproval and abandonment and he needs to be wanted, but also to be the one and only perfect person for Soledad.

In a more equal situation Soledad and Jonathan would be well matched romantic partners who could help each other through similar issues, but Soledad is always a more self-assured character than Jonathan. She also doesn’t make a successful relationship with Jonathan the centre of her focus, while Jonathan almost sees Soledad as his redemption from the severe criticism his father constantly hurls at his personality. Early on in the book, once Soledad is involved with the corps and him Jonathan reveals he’d be happy to sack off the corps and they could just, like, travel and explore each other all summer. Soledad meets with the corps because Jonathan introduces her, but then she accepts the role because of her own personal drive. She is never so focused on him that she forgets her own dreams, while he would gladly give up a professional career as a musician for her.

Soledad’s strength and confidence in some areas makes her rather intoxicating to watch, but the fact that Jonathan can’t match her confidence and can’t make himself the sole focus of her life means that the relationship fills him with constant doubt (doubt which is all created by Jonathan’s worries and his father’s pressure, not by her awesomeness). Jonathan has been interested in Soledad for four years while her love for him is new minted, which is the first indication of romantic inequality that arises. His issues with his self-worth always result in more violent, or fearful outbursts than Soledad’s. His crazy home life makes him insecure and Soledad must constantly reassure him. He also resents her journal writing because he feels it keeps her from expressing her thoughts to him, but Soledad has to all but shake honesty out of him. As the pressure on Jonathan and on his relationship with Soledad increase his rigid control fractures and his insecurities do the young couple great harm.

While on tour with the corps Soledad meets Taz, a talented Spanish football player touring with his team. They strike up a teasing friendship with him, but they begin to connect on a deeper level as they talk about their homesickness and Carmen. Jonathan becomes jealous, but initially he and Soledad dismiss this as normal romantic jealousy that they can get past. As Soledad continues to meet Taz and their connection grows Jonathan must be continually reassured and it's clear that his jealousy is escalating. He’s territorial, appearing at her elbow whenever Taz is around.

All your sirens should be screaming 'Danger! Romantic core unstable!' right now. )


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