Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma @TabithaSuzuma

Forbidden

Author: Tabitha Suzuma

Release Date: May 27th 2010

Publisher: Definitions

Genre: Young Adult

Pages: 418

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Book Depository| Watestones|


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 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.

Wow wow wow

I added this to my TBR about five or six years ago and I have just finally got around to reading it…why did I wait so long? This book is one of the few to have extracted such an emotive and raw reaction from me as a result of its beautiful prose. Its outstanding in a complex and devastatingly crushing way. In all honesty it made me grateful for the quiet, uneventful childhood that I experienced. Some children aren’t so lucky. Some children have to fight, have to hide, have just get through each damn day never knowing if tomorrow is going to be the day where everything comes crashing down. This book made me SOB. Inconsolable tears. It ripped my heart out, stomped all over it and made some lame attempt at putting it back in my chest and sewing me up…I felt destroyed. It’s a damn good book that can engage its reader in such a way. Suzumas skill is magical wizardry.

This novel tackles the taboo subject of an incestual relationship between brother and sister, Lochan and Maya. It’s written beautifully and taken from a different angle – not the usual disgust from onlookers but how it develops under an extremely stressful home situation. It’s a situation that is borne from children having to grow up very quickly and act like adults. The only solace they have is each other.


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.

I’ll warn you – this doesn’t have a HEA.  There’s no flowers, no butterflys, no skipping into the horizon without a care in the world.  The ending will break you, just like it did me.  Its an utterly devastating book. 

The premise of the story had me extremely nervous – why wouldn’t it? It’s a story about forbidden love between a brother and a sister.  This is my first apprehensive walk into the world of forbidden love, maybe that’s why it has taken me so long to get around to reading it.  I think in order to be able to read this story you are going to have to let go of any preconceptions, any judgements around the topic and just let the story guide you.  The story is incredibly tragic but you do find yourself rooting for their HEA. 

Lochan and Maya are seventeen and sixteen year old siblings.  Their life is incredibly hard.  They are left to run things in the home, sort out their younger siblings everyday – thirteen year old Kit, Tiffen and Willa.  Their mother is the worst kind of mother anyone could have.  She’s selfish, she’s got a drink problem and doesn’t give a damn about any of her children.  Its painful to read and she really had the red mist settling around me.  What mother could care so little?  Nothing is more important than her children.  Lochan and Maya have always felt more than siblings – they are each others best friend and they both confess that they are each others soul mate.  The situation they are in is screwed up and I think its this that pushes them together.  They are dealing with a hellish situation.  Kit is struggling with the behaviours of their mother.  He’s self destructive, angry and lashes out at any moment.  He needs the love of his mother – a love he is never going to get.  Tiffin is mischievious and he is confused about the what is happening to his family.  Willa is the baby but even she can see the destruction of her family happening all around her.  The two eldest siblings have an impossible task but they keep trying to drag them out of the mess.  They are suffering with exhaustion of trying to get through their A levels and coursework and do everything else as well.  They fear that Social Services are just around the corner.  They will do anything to keep them altogether and under one roof.  Its this stress that is pulling them together like an invisible magnet, pulling and pulling until they have found themselves falling in love.  They are aware its wrong, they know its not right and if anyone finds out about them, they are going to have more troubles than they do right now. 

“He is my soul mate, my fresh air, the reason I look forward to getting up every morning.”

The book is told in Lochan and Maya’s POV.  The romance building, although extremely taboo is written beautifully and it seems very natural and compassionate.  Don’t forget that they have both been through and are GOING through hell.  They have no one else to confide in except each other.  They both know the implications of their forbidden love and its always at the forefront of their mind but its like an itch you can’t scratch, once you know its there, you just cant stop. 

“But the downside to that taste of pure happiness is that, like a drug, a glimmer of paradise, it leaves you craving more.”

The author has an impeccable way with words.  The story doesn’t read as disgusting or cringy despite the theme of the story.  The realism is just too real.  The family situation, the utter loneliness all the children feel and just that pure need to be wanted by another soul screams from the page. 

This story will stay with me for a very long time.  Now pass me the tissues *sob*

4 thoughts on “Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma @TabithaSuzuma

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