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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

Yes, there really is a whole genre of books about two brothers fighting over one girl

I’ve always liked to consider myself an avid reader. I also credited myself to branching out and reading a variety of genres. Despite awarding myself this title, I’ve recently come to the realization that many of the books I pick up contain a very similar base story: the “Brother love triangle” plot. This trope, despite its repetitive nature and easy predictability, engulfs me every time (bonus points if it involves a summer home). I think what I love the most is how the details can make it a completely different story. 

If you’re interested in this trope and looking for a place to begin, let me be your guide to some of the best books this genre has to offer:

1. The Summer I Turned Pretty Series

The Summer Series is no hidden gem any longer after its debut as an Amazon Original series. Let me be the first to tell you that the books are WAY better. I found the show a little cheesy and somewhat childish, whereas the books dug a little deeper (granted, I did read these books back in seventh grade, so take my analysis of its childishness with a grain of salt). The series reigned at the top of my list for years, following the story of Belly, a young teenager who spends her summers at Cousins Beach. Belly’s family vacations with the Fishers, their close family friends. The series follows a number of summers wherein Belly is finally noticed by Conrad Fisher, her longtime crush, as well as his younger brother Jeremiah, in a romantic light. If you’re intrigued by the “brother love triangle” trope, The Summer Series is a staple and a must-read start to your journey.

2. Every Summer After

Sticking to the intertwinement of the brotherly love triangle and summer love tropes, Every Summer After follows a similar concept. This book was actually my most recent read, and I sped through it during winter break. The story embarks on the evolution of Percy and Sam’s relationship from childhood into adulthood. When Percy’s family bought a cottage in her preteen years next door to the Florek boys, Sam and Charlie, she immediately struck a connection with Sam. The story begins with an adult Percy being beckoned back to the lake after a mysterious fallout with Sam that is not uncovered until the book’s conclusion. If you’re a fan of slow-bun, coming of age tales, Every Summer After is the book for you.

3. 99 Days Series

The 99 Days series consists of two novels following the fallout of Molly Barlow’s scandal: an affair with her boyfriend’s brother, Gabe. When Molly’s mother publishes a book based on Molly’s infidelity, her entire town of Star Lake, including her boyfriend Patrick, become attuned to the gossip surrounding the relationship. After the book’s release, Molly escapes the town, but not for long. She returns for a brutal summer facing the town’s shame for what she’d done to Patrick (which, by the way, irritates me that she receives the brunt of ostracization, despite Gabe’s role in the affair). This series takes a twist on the typical plot of the “brother love triangle” trope that’s refreshing and keeps the reader enthralled. The sequel follows a slightly older Molly, leaving us to put the pieces together of what occurred during the jump in time as she is thrown back into a similar mess as the first installment.

Whether you enjoy a beachy summer read or a scandalous tale of redemption, the trope of “the brother love triangle” typically has it all. Not to mention, there are a ton of options to get you started and get some books under your belt. I am a mournful book-finisher; as much as I want to know the ending of the story, the idea of finishing a book I love makes me sad. With this genre of books, you’ll find yourself mourning much less as there is definitely another story out there following this popular trope that will excite and enthrall you just as deeply.

Maddy Scharrer

Wisconsin '26

Maddy is a student at UW-Madison who loves to write. She plans to major in Journalism and Communications. In her free time, Maddy loves watching movies and hanging out with friends.