The Bermudez Triangle

( 57 )

Overview

Grade 9 Up–Johnson begins this exceptional novel in a lightweight fashion but quickly segues into more serious issues that affect the three young women who make up the Bermudez Triangle. It is the summer before their senior year in Saratoga Springs, NY. At first, organized, serious Nina has trouble adjusting to her leadership workshop at Stanford University. Although she desperately misses Avery and Mel, who are waitresses at a restaurant back home, she quickly falls head over heels for eco-warrior Steve, who has...

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Overview

Grade 9 Up–Johnson begins this exceptional novel in a lightweight fashion but quickly segues into more serious issues that affect the three young women who make up the Bermudez Triangle. It is the summer before their senior year in Saratoga Springs, NY. At first, organized, serious Nina has trouble adjusting to her leadership workshop at Stanford University. Although she desperately misses Avery and Mel, who are waitresses at a restaurant back home, she quickly falls head over heels for eco-warrior Steve, who has grown up in a commune on the West Coast–so different from Nina's secure middle-class experience. When she returns to New York, she immediately senses that Mel and Avery are keeping secrets and soon discovers that they have become lovers. Rocked to the core, Nina wishes them happiness, but feels excluded and lonely, especially as her long-distance relationship begins to deteriorate. As is typical for teens, the girls obsess ad nauseam over their romantic relationships. Yet this narrow focus lends authenticity to the narrative, and readers become drawn into the characters' lives as they stumble toward adulthood, fall in and out of love, enlarge their circle of friends, and rethink their values.

The friendship of three high school girls and their relationships with their friends and families are tested when two of them fall in love with each other.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this saga of three best girlfriends in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Nina returns from a summer program at Stanford to discover her friends Avery and Mel kissing in a store dressing room. "The novel becomes more credible as it unfolds," wrote PW. Ages 14-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
This novel follows Nina, Mel, and Avery, close friends in upstate New York, from the end of their junior year through their final year of high school. The girls have always been together, and biracial Nina's leaving for the summer is a major change. Although Mel and Avery must work at a restaurant, Nina can afford to attend a pre-college leadership course. Nina's Stanford roommate is weird, but she meets an environmentalist boy from Oregon who becomes special in her life. Meanwhile Mel and Avery fall into a lesbian relationship that feels fine to Mel but is not as comfortable for Avery. By Nina's September return, the others still have not mentioned their involvement, so she is surprised to discover them kissing and realizes the nature of the friendship triangle has drastically changed. The ups, downs, and confusions of senior year are portrayed, and Parker, another senior from the restaurant, is introduced into the mix. The two parties that the girls attend are awash in alcohol, and although only one of them gets thoroughly drunk at each party, drinking to excess is a goal. No sex appears. Johnson accurately and effectively interweaves characters of various classes, backgrounds, values, and dreams, credibly mixing them with empathy and care. Intolerance has a place, but overall the girls and Parker find a wealth of understanding for one another. Although slow to start, the story is engaging by the third chapter and will interest girls interested in dating, relationships, and sexuality and boys who wish to know them better. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Razorbill/Penguin, 368p., Ages 11 to 18.
—Cynthia Winfield
KLIATT
The protagonists of Maureen Johnson's novel are high school seniors dealing with relationships and planning on their futures. Mel, Avery and Nina have been friends since childhood, but the summer before their senior year they deal with the first of inevitable separations. The novel follows them through their senior year, through e-mail relationships, college applications and harassment. Various trials and tribulations of young love are explored as college camp lovers Nina and Steve go home from their summer together to live on opposite coasts and yet hold onto their dream of being together at Stanford. Their story is told through the e-mails and phone calls that make up their long-distance relationship. Nina returns to school as student council president and discovers a changed relationship with Mel and Avery. The two of them have begun a homosexual romance, which for all the usual reasons they have to keep to themselves. For Mel the romance is a realization of her real identity, but for Avery it is a confusion of warmth and physical attraction that puts them into the rumor mill of the small New York town. New to their friendship is Parker, a funny, supportive young man who provides a listening ear and platonic shoulder for each girl at different points during their senior year. By the end, little is definitively resolved, though each girl, as well as Parker, moves forward in understanding who they are to each other and what their friendship means. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2004, Penguin, Razor Bill, 368p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
Children's Literature
Avery, Melanie, and Nina have been best friends forever. When Nina goes away for a summer program at Stanford, the friendship dynamic changes drastically. Nina begins seeing a boy she meets at the summer program while Avery and Melanie also begin seeing someone: each other. Avery and Melanie decide not to tell anyone, but Nina discovers them kissing. When she asks for clarification of their relationship, Avery gets cold feet. Is she really gay like Melanie seems to be? While Avery and Melanie try to figure out their relationship and friendship, Nina struggles with a long-distance boyfriend who becomes less and less communicative as time goes on. This honest look at friendship, heterosexual relationships, and homosexual relationships is touching, funny, and poignant. All three girls are very sympathetic yet realistic in their flaws. As the reader follows Nina, Avery, and Melanie through almost a year of their lives, they will gain a greater understanding of the fragile bonds that friends and lovers share. 2004, Razor Bill, Ages 12 up.
—Amie Rose Rotruck
From The Critics
Nina, Avery, and Mel have been inseparable for years. However, when Nina leaves for summer camp, a secret emerges that shakes the foundation of that friendship: Avery and Mel are in love with one another. When Nina returns, nothing is the same. She feels alienated and struggles to accept the life her friends have chosen; meanwhile, her friends now avoid her to be alone with one another. Avery and Mel are unable to keep their relationship a secret; rumors circulate throughout school. Embarrassed, Avery begins to doubt her newly discovered homosexuality. To figure out what she feels and who she is, she breaks off her relationship with Mel, seeking comfort in the arms of a man. Left alone, Mel turns to Nina for comfort. Bermudez Triangle is an excellent portrayal of the realistic struggles associated with homosexuality. Since it does contain scenes with the two lovers, I would not recommend it for middle school or younger high school students. 2004, Razor Bill, 370 pp., Ages young adult.
—Esther Myers
Children's Literature - Allyson Drysdale
Nina Bermudez from upstate New York has earned the chance to attend a summer program at Stanford the summer before her senior year in high school. As she leaves her best friends, Avery and Melanie, behind, she never imagines that upon her return, the two girls will be dating. While Nina finds her first love during her summer program, her two best friends are exploring their sexuality with each other. Nina returns weeks later, leaving her new boyfriend, Steven, on the West Coast, and discovers that she is no longer part of the "triangle" that the three girls had formed years ago. When Avery cheats on Melanie with a boy, Nina must help her pick up the pieces. Nina, however, has her own relationship problems with her new boyfriend. As the three girls struggle to identify their sexuality, each comes to a different realization about herself and about each other. While Johnson wrote this book for young adults, it lacks literary value. Though the book relates a coming-of-age story, the narrative is fluff at best. Some readers who feel confused about their sexuality might find comfort in this book, but because many of the characters are poorly developed, engage in stiff dialogue, and display overblown emotions, readers may have trouble connecting with them. I would recommend this book only for someone who is looking for a casual read and can also overlook the book's weaknesses.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Johnson begins this exceptional novel in a lightweight fashion but quickly segues into more serious issues that affect the three young women who make up the Bermudez Triangle. It is the summer before their senior year in Saratoga Springs, NY. At first, organized, serious Nina has trouble adjusting to her leadership workshop at Stanford University. Although she desperately misses Avery and Mel, who are waitresses at a restaurant back home, she quickly falls head over heels for eco-warrior Steve, who has grown up in a commune on the West Coast-so different from Nina's secure middle-class experience. When she returns to New York, she immediately senses that Mel and Avery are keeping secrets and soon discovers that they have become lovers. Rocked to the core, Nina wishes them happiness, but feels excluded and lonely, especially as her long-distance relationship begins to deteriorate. As is typical for teens, the girls obsess ad nauseam over their romantic relationships. Yet this narrow focus lends authenticity to the narrative, and readers become drawn into the characters' lives as they stumble toward adulthood, fall in and out of love, enlarge their circle of friends, and rethink their values. As the story deepens, Johnson does a superb job of subtly developing individual personalities for each one. Although all ends well, it's a long, hard struggle, one that perceptively reflects the real-life ambiguities and shades of gray faced by contemporary adolescents.-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Warm, humorous, and smoothly readable story of three girls who've been friends forever. Nina, Avery, and Mel are the "Bermudez Triangle" (Bermudez being Nina's last name). The summer before senior year of high school, Mel and Avery become a couple. Mel identifies as a lesbian, while Avery refuses to pick any label. The path of their relationship-from friends, to swooning girlfriends, to enemies, back to friends-involves Nina, too, and also their new friend Parker. Meanwhile Nina has an up-and-down, long-distance romance with an environmentalist, while Parker goes from unattainable crush to unattainable crush. Johnson writes Avery's slight punkiness, Mel's sweetness, and Nina's burning drive to achieve with sympathy and color. Class issues come up sometimes, race almost never (despite Nina being interracial while everyone else is white). Sprinkled-in pop-culture references range from spot-on to easily dated, but the characterizations of love-different kinds-are tender even when painful. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595140333
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/6/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 266,800
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.16 (w) x 5.36 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Maureen Johnson

Maureen Johnson is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels include Suite Scarlett, Scarlett Fever, Girl At Sea, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and The Key To The Golden Firebird. She lives in New York City, but travels to the UK regularly to soak up the drizzle and watch English TV.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 57 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2008

    Great Book

    Oh wow, this book was one of the best books that I have ever read. This book was actually the main reason why I became a total bookworm!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2007

    Impressive Book

    'The Bermudez Triangle' is definitely one of the better books I have read. The author has done something in her writing style which incorporates everything a character needs - hate, love, confusion, joy, and sadness...every character in this book has flaws, which makes it enjoyable and easy to relate to. At the same time, I feel that the characters were really an embodiment of the trouble teenagers go through when put in situations like these. The book's redeeming quality is that it is wholly truthful. The ending was a bit less than what I had hoped, but that didn't take away from the experience. And the splash-proof cover is a definite plus!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2007

    A Good Surprise

    I was surprised at how much I liked this book. I have read other books by this author and wasn't crazy about them, but I loved this one! It was one of those books that makes you feel. You'll hate, love, and feel sorry for the characters. I think any book that you start to feel for the characters is a good book. I definately recommend it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A tale of love and friendship

    After reading 13 Little Blue Envelopes and The Last Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson, then being thrilled by her newest novel, The Name of the Star (not to be confused with her pal John Green¿s novel, The Fault in our Stars), I decided to pick up some of her other works, which lead me to The Bermudez Triangle.

    The story begins with three friends going out for dinner, simple enough. It¿s the last time they will all be together until Nina, returns from her summer course at Stanford¿Avery and Mel will be staying at home, working.

    The bulk of the story really centers around relationships - from Nina and Steve, Avery and Mel to Nina, Avery and Mel, each relationship is different and complicated and I thought that Maureen managed to capture the emotions of each of her characters with perfection. As a reader, I felt the butterflies when Steve admits that he¿s been trying to get Nina to notice him, the hesitance as Avery tries not to put labels to her relationship with Mel, the betrayal that Nina feels in the changing room when she walks in on Mel and Avery kissing, and so much more.

    The great thing about this story is that it explores the fact that relationships can be messy. It doesn¿t necessarily tie things up in a neat bow, but it explores the complexity of friendships, dating relationships, and even a bit of family dynamics - all in a very realistic manner.

    The one flaw for me was that the story dragged a little in the middle, however, the relationships kept me intrigued enough to push through.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2009

    It was okay...

    Definatley not the best book I've ever read, but a lot of people can relate to the frenship these three girls have. The ending is okay, not the best either becuase it leaves a lot of loose ends. Overall, the story plot is nice and easy to read, great book for a young teenager.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 28, 2013

    The Bermudez Triangle ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This book was alrigh

    The Bermudez Triangle
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    This book was alright. It was light and quick and simple, and I liked that. Though I did have some issues with it, I thought the story, overall. was alright. I would recommend this to someone questioning their sexuality, or just looking for a super fast, very lighthearted read about friendship. 
    My first issue, and perhaps the most important one, was the characters. I could not relate to any of them. 
    - There's overachieving, cleaning-parties-for-fun kind of girl Nina. Who is obsessed with her long distance boyfriend Steve, who she knew for about a total of like, three months..?
    - There is Avery; Spunky, badass piano-playing, almost-gay-or-maybe-not, rude as can be, Avery. I did not like her at all, and I hated how she treated Nina and Mel. 
    - And Lastly, Mel - Meek, quiet, beautiful redhead. I did not have much of a problem with Mel, but I still could not relate to her. I wish she would have spoke up for her self more. 
    Most of them (with the exception of Mel and Parker) I found extremely selfish. I did not like the way Nina or Avery treated others, and they were both a bit absorbed in themselves. 
    Secondly, the plot was a tad slow. Now, i've read slower books, and I still read this book pretty quickly, but I was just a teensy bit bored whilst reading. I really enjoyed some parts of the story, and fought the urge to skim through others. The ending as also alright.




    Overall, I would give this book a 3/5. I could understand someone liking it more, but to me it was all slightly gimmicky. However, I did truly enjoy Parker's character. He made me laugh quite a bit, so I feel like that makes up for a bit. I really have read worse books

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2007

    interesting

    this book is wonderful in the aspect that it touches on sensitive situations that do really happen. but i think the author jumped from one thing to the next a little too quickly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is a great present i got one for my friend who turned 13 and she loved it!!! I would suggest to get this book for ur friends!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    Reply to wondering about this book

    Yea they r gay...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    Dear Bored

    If you can't take Maureen's beautiful writing and detail, then go live in a cardboard box! Love 13 little blue envelopes btw!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Bored

    Not that great pretty boring ecspesly the begginig chapters

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2011

    Wondering about this book....

    I read the description and comments, and I just had a question. Are all of the main characters girls? Because if they are, and two of them date each other, doesn't that mean they're gay?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2011

    Dont waste you time

    this book kind of sucked. i thought it was going to be alot better than it actually was.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    hmm

    i think i confused this book with kissing kate...they're really similar

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  • Posted January 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Bermudez Triangle (of love)

    It was okay. I read it pretty fast. It was realistic and the periodic holidays marking the pages made the time frame easy to follow. I liked it. There's not too much to it other than that.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    i was actually really disappointed with this book. i thought it was going to be a great read, but this book just dragged on and on. i know it sounds harsh, but i've read better.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2008

    A slight disappointment

    I wasn't very impressed when I had finished reading this book. I had held much higher expectations when I purchased it. However, I did grow to feel very sympathetic toward's Mel. Even though I 100% relate to this book and the entire plot, it just wasn't really written in my style I suppose.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    B-

    A nice book if you're looking for a quick and easy read. This book is really geared more towards young girls (13-16), and I strongly suggest you consider the maturity level of the girl you may give this book to as it does touch strongly upon issues of homosexuality. However, it also is an inspirational story about the value of friendship and togetherness.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2007

    Okay.......................................

    This book was okay i guess mostly it sucked to me, i mean it was kind of boring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2007

    Awsome gay tale

    this tale of love was great i finished it in 10 hrs, and i dont know why u guys dont like it, it was really good. I will read it again and again. it was gay, funny, and if u r gay read this book!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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