February 10

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma


Pub. Date: June 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Age Range: Young Adult
ISBN-13: 9781442419957
ISBN: 1442419954
ARC for review from publisher

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:  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.

My Thoughts:  So you’ve read the synopsis already and you’re probably shocked and grossed out and you’re wondering to yourself, why would anyone want to read about a bother and sister falling in love romantically?? That’s just crazy!  And I’d have to say, I’d agree with you. I would never want someone to judge a book by its cover and the same goes for the synopsis. Never judge a synopsis without reading and understanding it first.

People tend to steer clear of taboo topics such as this one: Incest. I think one reason is that it’s just so hard to comprehend loving your bother or sister in that kind of way. I have a brother and I can’t tell you how completely disgusted it makes me feel to picture myself that way with my brother. But also, we have that brotherly/ sisterly relationship where we fight and argue  and we’ve done that since birth. It’s your typical sibling relationship.

This is where FORBIDDEN is different. Lochan and Maya are brother and sister helping to care for their three younger siblings: Willa, Tiffin and Kit. They’ve never developed that kind of relationship where they had time to fight and argue about who got to do what. Instead they constantly worked together to care for their siblings after their father left their family for another woman and their mother stayed out for days on end drinking and hooking up with men. They were forced to grow up together supporting their family and keeping it together so child protective services didn’t come in and split up their family. What other choice did they have? With mom gone there was no one else and the responsibility fell on the two oldest. Together Lochan and Maya matured well beyond their years running the family as if they were the parents to their younger siblings. They didn’t have the chance to become brother and sister but instead they were best friends.

In Forbidden you get to meet all the siblings and each character has a distinct voice. I will not go into detail about the other children. You should discover their struggles and feelings for yourself. But their mother was a horrible women and my bad feelings toward her only got worse the deeper I got into the story. How a mother can deliberately allow their children to live they way they did makes me sick.

Lochan stole my heart. The pain he feels and keeps bottle up in side of him is utterly heartbreaking. He is constantly ridden with guilt about being in love with his sister and knowing  that its wrong. He’s constantly worrying that they’ll get caught and he’ll go to prison because it is illegal to have a relationship with a sibling. And he fears that if they do get caught, their family taken away and split up.

Maya felt like the stronger one on the outside but she too had strong internal conflicts about what she was doing with her brother. Lochan seem to bare the worst of the conflict but he always remained strong in the face of his family and for Maya. His struggle was the most heartbreaking and reading his internal conflict tore me up and I felt so sad for him through the  entire book.

As a reader I was constantly telling myself how wrong this was. How they shouldn’t be doing what they are doing. But given their situation and how much they truly do love each other, I found myself cheering for them. Savoring those sweet moments they got to be alone and express their love for one another. You find yourself questioning the laws and society as a whole. If two people choose to willing love each other no matter what their situation my be, then what gives me or anyone else, the right to tell them its wrong? Who is it hurting? Why should we even care? Shouldn’t happiness be the only thing that matters when you get that one chance to be with the one person who loves you more than life itself?

I think the quote in the front of the book sums it up pretty well:  “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.”

This is the best contemporary book I’ve ever read. And even though its shocking and sad and will have you crying well after you’ve turned the last page, I think its defiantly a book you should experience for yourself. If you only read one book this year, this would be the one you should choose.


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