Friday 20 April 2012

Forbidden review

Tabitha Suzuma
May 27th 2010
Random House

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

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 knew straight away from reading the blurb that this book was not going to end well. But I really didn't think that I'd like it as much as I did (Which I know  I literally say in every review ever now. I really must think of something new to say...) But with the subject matter it's safe to say I was a bit careful. Though now I've actually given it a go, I totally understand all the hype about it! I'll be honest, I didn't actively enjoy. It wasn't an enjoyable book to read, so if you're looking for something light and fluffy, do not read this book. It is heavy and difficult to read, not literally, but purely because of what it's about.

I was really worried that it would be a bit of a flop. Even having read all of the glowing reviews for it, I still thought that it wouldn't be that well handled and that it wouldn't really have much of an impact emotionally at all, but I was really wrong. First of all, the book itself was beautifully written, almost lyrical in places, and it really just completely swept me up into the story. I was in kind of a minor reading slump this weekend, and  started two or three different books, but as soon as I picked this one up I knew it would be different. And it kind of reminded me of Stolen in the way that it took a completely taboo relationship and turned it into something you almost wanted to root for, even though you know in the back your mind that it's something we consider to be fundamentally wrong. And even though I didn't really, really want Maya and Lochan to get properly together because they would never have been in a happy, lasting relationship, I really could never see them being with anyone else. If that makes sense.

You can really tell that Maya and Lochan grew up in a bad environment, especially Lochan, and though I didn't really actually like either of them a great deal, I still felt for them. I still cared what happened to them. I still cried at the end. I still forged an emotional connection to them even though if I knew them, I probably wouldn't be friends with them. Lochan especially was a tricky one, because he was so unstable throughout the book. One minute I thought he was nice and sweet, and the next he's just have a breakdown. I know that he was under a great deal of pressure, and that his way of living was having a huge negative impact on him, and I did think it helped to add to the books intensity, so it wasn't a bad thing being said, but it didn't help me to actively like him. It just made me feel sorry for him. And there wasn't anything wrong with Maya at all! She was just very naive towards the relationship she was instigating, and very optimistic about their chances of actually getting to stay together. She was nice, but she didn't stand out. But I think that helped to accentuate how normal she was. That even though they're in this kind of relationship, they're just normal kids. It's not like they're fetishy freaks or that they were doing anything they didn't want to. That's the main thing that twists your morals about this book. They're just normal teenagers trying to find love and be happy amongst everything else they have that sucks in their lives.

My favourite characters were Tiffin and Willa, Maya and Lochan's youngest siblings. They were just so adorable, and I really felt awful that they had to be stuck in the middle of everything. That they had to get their hopes dashed by their own mother who just kind of abandoned them. Surprisingly, I also liked Kit. He just had a bad way of coping with everything, when he's a nice kid really. I feel for him most out of everyone apart from the two main characters because of the guilt he has to live with. It must be horrible. (she speaks like they're real people, they're not.) The mother, though, was just deplorable. I know that she wasn't evil, and she had reasons and everything, but she could've at least been there. She resents their father for abandoning her with the five children she never even wanted, but then she swans off and does exactly the same thing. I just didn't have much pity for her whatsoever. And the way she just acts like their mother whenever she feels like it, when she was drunk or angry and wanted to tell them what to do, but when it came to actually being a responsible parent, she didn't give two shits. She pissed me off most in the epilogue, not that she was evenly actively in it, but I think that's the thing that got to me most. After everything, after kind of being the one responsible for what happened, she just left them. She looked after them for a while, and then she left them.

Forbidden is a dark book, and not for the light hearted, but it's also beautifully written, and takes an incredibly difficult subject and turns it into something else completely. Definitely read this if you liked Stolen, or like getting to see these kinds of things from a completely new perspective.


  1. great, brilliantly written review. I agree with you, this is certainly not a light read but my gosh, its amazing. I really couldn't put it down. xx

  2. Wow, excellent review! Really, really well written, and a great assessment of the different aspects of the book and your reactions to them. We have gone back and forth on this one -- first getting excited by the hype, then worried by it -- and finally we decided just to skip the book. We didn't think we were in the mood for dark (plus we read how it ends). But now you've got us interested in it again anyway... Thanks!

  3. Really wonderful review. I loved this book so much. Had my misgivings at first but I thought the author did such a great job of changing the way I think about the topics in this book.


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