By: Tabitha Suzuma
Published By: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Reading Level: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon
Goodreads Summary: 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.
I bought Forbidden on the recommendation of one of my friends - she said that it ripped out her heart and stomped on it and a few other painful-sounding things (read the exact quote in her review here). If someone could feel that emotional about a book, I knew I had to read it. And wow. This might be one of the saddest books I have read, but it's also one of the most beautifully written and moving books as well.
Lochan and Maya have never been ordinary teenagers. While their mother spends her time drinking and galavanting around town with her boyfriend, trying to recapture her lost youth, Lochan and Maya have had to become parents to their three younger siblings. Lochan, the oldest, tries to keep everything together, but it's extraordinarily difficult. He excels in school, and his teachers expect this, but he has a difficult time talking to anyone outside of his family. Maya struggles to fit in, but even with a few friends at school the true details of her life are kept secret. At the end of the day, Lochan and Maya are the only ones who understand each other. This understanding eventually grows into love. Both Lochan and Maya know it cannot last, both try to fight against their attraction to one another, but to no avail. But how long can their secret love stay hidden?
Where to start? I guess I should throw this out there: Yes, this book is about incest. No, I do not have any siblings, so I can't imagine exactly what that would be like. But this book is so much more than an incest story. It's about two teenagers who have been dealt an unfair hand in life and survive the only way they know how - by relying on each other. Forbidden alternates between Lochan and Maya's point of view, and my heart went out to both of them. They were both under so much pressure: pressure to keep the family together, to take care of their siblings, to succeed in school, to try and fight their love. They so desperately needed healing, solace, and love, and they found that in each other. Their story really makes you question if such situations happen and we simply don't know it as well as think about the nature of love. The lines between right and wrong quickly become blurred in this book.
Even though Forbidden deals with difficult subject matter, it was beautiful. The emotions are so vividly portrayed and felt from the first page until the last one. The story alternately tugs gently and rips at your heart, making it impossible to read this book without feeling something. And yes, I will admit that there were tears while reading this. Many tears. But as emotionally exhausting as this book is, it is certainly worth the read.
In Forbidden, Tabitha Suzuma has told a story that is riveting, emotional, moving, and heartbreaking. Her writing is beautiful, and I will definitely be ordering her other books to read as well.