Author: Tabitha Suzumi
Genre: Young-Adult, Romance
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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.
Forbidden was a difficult book to write a review on due to its controversial theme. Having read the synopsis, you already know that this book is about incest. And yes I can already imagine the weird looks and most likely disgusted faces, and I wouldn’t be surprised because I felt the same way. Prior to reading this book, I was actually put off when I read the premise so I was hesitant in reading it; however I thought about reading Lolita so I told myself “why the hell not?” and the book had great reviews so I had to know what this book was all about. Therefore, I decided to read it and had to made sure that I kept an open mind because after all, it is a story about a forbidden love between siblings. In addition, I reminded myself that I could always put it down if it got to the point where I was just completely appalled with the whole thing.
Nevertheless, Tabitha Suzuma has taken a premise that is shocking and possibly offensive to most people and turns it into a story that is heartbreakingly beautiful. There were moments when I was reading this book that I forgot that Lochan and Maya were siblings. But then I remember that they’re siblings and they shouldn’t feel that way towards each other. I’ll be honest though, this book did make me uncomfortable at times, but I couldn’t put it down. Incest is something that most people, myself included don’t discuss or really even think about. Venturing into Lochan and Maya’s growing feelings for one another did make me feel uneasy. I mean it makes them uncomfortable, too which I think is realistic and I’m glad that it’s pointed out in the book. Neither of them truly wants to feel the way they do, they just do. As far as the characters go, I think Tabitha Suzuma developed them well. I deeply felt for them, especially Lochan. He probably had the best characterization throughout the entire book. When you are reading his thoughts, you can honestly feel his pain and really sympathize with him. What I liked about this book is that it is thought provoking. Incest is taboo in society. It’s a word that we tend to ignore; however, jump at the opportunity to scrutinize those who are in that situation. I don’t think that Tabitha Suzuma is saying that incest is okay. I believe that she wants us to recognize that there are “unconventional” types of relationships in society, even if we may not agree with it or deemed it unacceptable. It brought light to a lot of questions. Exactly who are we to legally decide that two people can’t love each other because they came out from the same womb? Other than me quoting the Bible and saying it’s morally wrong, I really don’t have much of an answer. Now from a scientific standpoint then you can make an argument, but that’s if we’re talking about these siblings having children. Although it raised questions, it doesn’t change my mind on incestuous relationships because I still find it disturbing, but it really made me think more of the types of love that exists in this world; those outside of the norm. After all, it’s not like incest is exactly uncommon. The royals did it.
With that being said, I honestly believe that this book is not for everyone. You are either going to feel appalled/disgusted or you will feel sad/heartbroken. And despite the fact that it is advertised as a young adult, it is a young adult book with adult themes. It’s really a book that you have to read with an open mind. Though I’d like to say that it might have helped that I am an only child. Moreover, for those assuming that this will be like Flowers in the Attic, it’s not. I gave this a four stars because I felt that at times it got rather repetitive. The ending would probably be the best part of the whole book. It’s short and concise, and just perfect. It was heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. It may make me seem sound cruel, but I loved the ending. It was realistic and I can honestly say that I am glad that it ended the way it did.