REVIEW: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Fiction/ Young Adult, Pages: 454, Level: Easy

Book Description from Barnes & Noble:

A shocking, heartbreaking story of taboo romance that’s as compelling as it is controversial.

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 de facto 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 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.

While the book is so much more than just the relationship, make no mistake, this book is about a romantic and sexual relationship between an 18-year old and almost 17-year old brother and sister. The father left a long time ago and the mother is almost always gone; when she is home, she is usually drunk or hung over. There are five children and the two oldest step into the father and mother role, which is why they end up identifying as each other’s partner.

Unfortunately, the reason they end up in a relationship is never properly analyzed. The genetic reasons why such a relationship is a bad idea are not presented. While they know it is against the law, the only reasons really given are societal and gross factor. Furthermore, Maya constantly argues that it is a prejudice and there is nothing wrong with it.

It is a fast read. In my opinion, the book is well written. The way the mother completely checks out from their family, knowing they have no one else is heart breaking. She would rather spend money on tarting herself up for her boyfriend and his kids rather than give it to her five kids for groceries, clothes without holes, a backpack that is not kept together with tape, etc. This family is just messed up in so many ways and I couldn’t help but feel sad and angry.

As for Lochan and Maya’s relationship- I don’t have a brother, so the ick factor isn’t really a problem. I can say it is wrong, but that is just because I know the consequences of these relationships, not because I would find it gross to make out with my brother. If you have a sibling of the opposite sex, you may very well be grossed out.

And at the risk of ruining the ending, don’t expect any happy endings; objectively, the odds of that are not good. This family has so many problems and no adult intervention. It starts with sad and ends with depressing. If you are looking for a happy ending and good feelings, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Finally, this book is not for young adults. I am surprised it was written for Young Adults. I think I would have enjoyed it more if a third point of view had been added, that of an adult, and the book was adult fiction. If your teenager brings this book home, take it away immediately and read it first. I gave it four stars based on an adult reader, not a young adult reader. An adult is capable of reading this and understanding it is from the children’s point of view. A teenager may see it as romanticizing an incestuous relationship. While I will recommend this book to a few people, I will not offer a broad recommendation. I really liked this book but I also think most people will not even want to touch it.

In spite of what I thought was missing in the book, I gave it 5 out of 5 stars because it really was a good book and tragically intriguing story.

Reviewed by Christina

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