Friday, 16 July 2010

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

For review: Random House. Published 27 May 2010
From Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Maya and seventeen-year-old Lochan have never had the chance to be 'normal' teenagers. Having pulled together for years to take care of their younger siblings while their wayward, drunken mother leaves them to fend alone, they have become much more than brother and sister. And now, they have fallen in love. But this is a love that can never be allowed, a love that will have devastating consequences ...

How can something so wrong feel so right?


How do I even begin to sum up how I feel about this book? I really don’t know how to put it into words. It completely floored me by its ability to have me so invested in the characters and their story I found myself thinking about it all the time. Even now I have finished it I can’t stop thinking about it and wondering about them all. They feel so real to me – so alive – I have to remind myself they are just fictional characters.

I think from reading the synopsis you will know if this is a book you will want to read or not. It is certainly a controversial subject but I applaud Tabitha Suzuma’s decision to write it. Before reading it you may have a strong opinion of what you think is right and wrong but reading this story certainly humanises those behind a label of incest. When I think of incest straight away I associate it with abuse. By giving us a dual narrative and telling the story from both Lochan and Maya’s perspective I was assured that the relationship was consensual – which is imperative to make the story work. Although I still questioned the relationship and their motivations I did believe it was their decision and neither one was forced in any way.

I adored the characters. Lochan and Maya both had so much responsibility on their shoulders because of their mother’s neglect and were essentially raising three children on their own. They constantly lived in fear of social services discovering their mother's regular absense from the home and putting them into care as a result. Add to that Lochan’s fear of any kind of social interaction outside of his family and his constant battle just to get through the day at school without having to talk to anyone - and I was not surprised him and Maya shared a strong bond. Both were also really kind and selflessly cared for their siblings. Willa and Tiffin were really cute, especially Willa. She was so unassuming and sweet. Kit was a typical teen in a rotten situation but he wasn’t a bad kid – just a neglected one. There is only so much attention his siblings could give him when it was his mother’s attention he needed. I really felt for them all and sometimes questioned their determination to keep their mother’s neglect hidden. I did wonder whether they would be better off if the authorities knew.

Reading this story has raised so many questions in my mind – and to be honest they are questions I just can’t answer. All I can tell you is that regardless of whether what they felt was right or wrong I just cared about them both and wanted them to all be happy.

This is such a powerful read and I would highly recommend it. I would hesitate to recommend it to younger readers though, not just because it contains some graphic scenes but also because it packs such a strong emotional punch. I feel as if the author ripped out my heart and stamped on it for good measure. It felt so raw and emotionally honest that by the end I just felt devastated. It’s been a while since I have read something that has had such a strong affect on me and it is a story that will stay with me for a very long time.

9 comments:

The Book Owl said...

Great review. I agree completely with everything you said. I'm in love with this book.

Becky said...

I love this review. It is so spot on. This book is still with me too. It really made me think about how we define abuse, deviance and criminal acts. It was painful to read at times but so worth it.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Fantastic review. I'm still thinking about this book too and I completley agree that it packs a serious emotional punch.

Kay (Dead Book Darling) said...

Wow, that was one hell of a review. I keep reading some pretty amazing reviews for this book - but after this one, I think I am going to have to give in and get a copy.

Chapter Chicks said...

That cover looks like the UK version of the Dead and Hallow places!

Iffath♥Ahmed said...

Awesome review! I really want to read this, and you've made me want to read it even more now!! ;)

prophecygirl said...

Y'know, I had trouble getting into this when I tried reading it. However, after all these fantastic reviews, I'm definitely going to give it another go.

It sounds like such a powerful read.

trishalynn0708 said...

Great review!! I just read and wrote a review for this book as well.. It was written so well!

Clover said...

Ahhhh.. every review of this book that I see makes me DESPERATE to want to read it :(

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