Monday, October 03, 2011

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Publisher: Definitions
Pages: 432
Release date: May 27th 2010
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads

Goodreads description:
Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

First sentence:
I gaze at the small, crisp, burned-out black husks scattered across the chipped white paint of the windowsills.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wow. Wow. This book is so mindblowingly good I can't even think straight, much less write a coherent review. I was freaked out by this book before this book, obviously - I can't imagine anyone not being freaked out about incest. It's gross and wrong and thinking about my brother that way makes me want to... I don't even know what, just no. It's not a topic I'd normally be interested in, as it's not something we're usually confronted with, since it's so generally accepted as wrong. But somehow, this book works, and I actually felt Lochan and Maya's relationship.

Lochan and Maya are great characters. Lochan is so easy to relate to, with his social anxiety and all. I'm really shy and also afraid of talking in front of people, but it's nowhere near as bad as what Lochan's going through. That made it really easy for me to connect with him. My heart went out to him - he's troubled, but he's such a good guy, always trying to do the right thing, always putting Maya and their other siblings first and thinking about himself only second. I liked Lochan better than Maya, but she's a good character too - I love how she tries to take care of Lochan, and her scenes with their younger siblings are sweet. They both have to deal with things normal teenages never have to deal with, and I felt for them.

I loved reading about Lochan and Maya's family situation. Their dad left when they were young and their mom is an alcoholic. She's never there and basically abandons her kids, so Maya and Lochan are left to take care of their three younger siblings. I really enjoyed reading about how that affected the main characters. Willa, Tiffin and Kit are great characters - it's heartbreaking how the whole story affects these kids. I didn't like Kit at first, but later on I understood why he acts the way he does. I really, really hated the mother, though - I just can't understand how anyone could do that to their children.

The writing is beautiful, raw and emotional, and it really made me feel something. Somehow, I could understand Maya and Lochan's relationship, even though I honestly didn't want to. I never saw them like brother and sister - they're more like partners, parents to their younger siblings - I really saw them as two people in love.  They understand each other like no one else can, and I felt their heartbreaking struggle. It's great how slowly their relationship develops - if it had been rushed, there'd have been no way I could have understood them. It was so slow and so realistic that I was even going 'Just kiss already!' in my head, which is crazy - how could I want the brother and sister to be together? Even once they admitted their feelings towards one another but were afraid of doing anything, I rooted for them - I was never repulsed by their relationship. It's crazy how invested I was in these characters, and I wouldn't have thought that's be possible, given the subject matter.

***This next paragraph contains spoilers!***
The ending - why? Why why why why why? Yes, it's the perfect way to end the book, but... how could you do that to me, Tabitha Suzuma? This book ripped my heart apart, and I bawled after reading the ending. The next day in math I had to do a problem up on the board, and I started crying a little because I had to think of Lochan, how he, like me, would have probably gotten the problem right but would have hated solving in front of the rest of the class, how he wanted to be a journalist or a writer, how his dreams will never come true, and... I can't even think about it - the ending is just so... evil!

Also, I love the quote at the beginning of this book: "You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see,but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel." - it's beautiful, and it fits perfectly to this book.

This is a mindblowing story - it's powerful, gripping and twisted. It's different from anything I've ever read before, and it'll stay with me for ages. I definitely recommend Forbidden - don't be discouraged by the topic!


  1. I agree with you about the ending! I was so shocked and surprised. I had a feeling that the relationship would not end well, but I never expected Lochan to do what he did. I admit that at first, I didn't want to read this book because of the topic, but so many people were talking about it so I decided to give it a try. I'm happy that I got outside my comfort zone and read this book.


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