Review – Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

October 26, 2013 All-Time Favorites, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review – Forbidden by Tabitha SuzumaForbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Published by Simon Pulse on 1/28/11
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 454
Source: Library
My content rating: Mature YA (Somewhat explicit sex for a YA book and some very disturbing themes - Read my warning under negatives below!)
My rating:
5 Stars

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.

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Forbidden is just what its name implies.  The synopsis describes it well.  It’s a story of a brother and a sister who have lived through so much together that they feel that they only have each other to turn to – and much to their own horror, they start to turn to each other in a romantic way.

You will be shocked and horrified at times throughout this book.  You will be torn apart by Lochan and Maya’s guilt, pain and suffering.

If you don’t mind being ripped to shreds by a book, just hoping to come out whole when you get to the last page, then you will LOVE this book.  I certainly did!

The negatives:

  • The subject matter (mature YA or adults ONLY).  I’ve seen this book referred to as YA (I’m not sure if that’s an official genre, or just what people call it because the main characters are teens), but I want to make sure that all of my readers are aware that this book should NOT be read by a younger YA audience.  This is a book about incest and there are sexual scenes involved (which, while not exactly explicit, are definitely described in some amount of detail).  There are many teens who are probably just not ready for this type of subject matter.  Heck, there are adults who are not ready for this type of subject matter.  If you read this book, you have to go into it realizing that you are going to be reading a book about incest.  Sometimes you will be horrified!  If the very thought of this type of subject matter is revolting to you, you probably shouldn’t read this book!  But, if you can handle the content, then read it – it is an amazing story that will wreck you!

What I LOVED!!:

  • Maya.  Maya is a dutiful sister, trying her hardest to be the glue that holds her shattered family together.  Even in her painful circumstances, she is forever an optimist, which I loved about her.  Maya doesn’t despair (usually) and she doesn’t give up.  She has hope and you can’t help but hope with her as you read her story.
  • Lochan.  Lochan is the perfect example of a broken protagonist.  He is so fragile that you expect him to break at any moment – and yet, he has taken on such a burden with his younger siblings that he can’t let himself break.  When the cracks start to appear in his armor, he is horrified!  There are almost two Lochans – his public self (where he is almost completely unable to function) and his home self (where he can truly be himself, but where he is forced to bear way too many burdens).  The only person that Lochan can truly feel okay with is Maya.  Lochan broke my heart – many times over.  I so wanted happiness for him and I knew that there was very little chance of true happiness on the horizon.  He is a character who I haven’t been able to get out of my mind and who I will be thinking about for a long time to come!
  • The emotional whirlpool.  I honestly don’t think I have ever been so emotionally affected by a book.  Suzuma has an uncanny ability to pull you into the emotions of her characters, so that you are feeling their pain (and sometimes joy) right along with them.  And this book is filled with pain.  As you might assume from the subject matter, this is no happy-go-lucky romance novel.  Lochan in particular is broken in ways that are heartbreaking.  He suffers from a shyness so extreme that he shakes when he is forced to speak.  The guilt that he harbors over his feelings for his sister is so extreme that he makes himself sick over it and, in one instance, goes into a full-blown panic attack.  I swear that this panic attack was described so vividly that I almost started to experience it myself – I literally couldn’t catch my breath – it was surreal!  I actually found myself occasionally wishing that Lochan and Maya could be together – not because I actually wanted a brother and sister to be romantically involved, but because I was desperate to end Lochan’s pain and Maya was the only thing that brought him any sort of happiness.  And then I would sit there, shocked, thinking, “How could I even kind of, sort of, even the tiniest bit, feel okay about this?!”  This book is not an easy read.  It won’t leave you feeling happy or content.  If you read this book, expect to feel gutted, practically tortured.  But, most of all, don’t expect to forget it anytime soon.
I don’t know what else I can say about this book except that I loved it!  As horrible as the subject matter is, the book is wonderfully and beautifully written and I was sucked in from the very start!  I won’t be forgetting Forbidden anytime soon!  5/5 stars.
All -Time Favorite

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