Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Published: 27 May 2010 by Definitions
Pages: 418 (paperback)
Source: Own library
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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.
A few weeks ago there was a question on Formspring asking which was the last book that made you cry. I said ''none, I don't cry over books'', which is completely true - in the 20+ years I've been reading, I've never cried over a book. Sure, I've been enthralled, emotional, shocked and heartbroken, but I've never physically shed a tear whilst reading. Until I read Forbidden.
Ms. Suzuma is a brave lady. She has taken one of the most taboo subjects and written a book about it. But as well as being brave, she is also exceedingly clever and an outstanding writer. Why? Because she made me care about two characters so very much, despite the fact that my head was screaming 'this is WRONG' the whole way through, and actually hope for a different outcome than what was the inevitable.
The writing is strong and fluid, without prettying up a tough subject - the story of Lochan and Maya and their siblings is both heartbreaking and uplifting. As teenagers they are exceedingly mature and dedicated to holding their family together, even as events spiral out of control and threaten both their physical and mental health. Both Lochan and Maya are wonderful, strong, weak, human characters - I couldn't help but have an overwhelming sympathy and admiration for them both.
If you're worried about being shocked by the subject matter of this book, I will warn you that it doesn't gloss over the facts - it's confronting in every way. But in the end, this is a story about family, and the bonds that are formed through isolation and uncertainty. This doesn't make it right, but it does make it all that little bit more....not exactly understandable, but nowhere near as twisted as I imagined it could be.
Forbidden goes straight to the top my Top 2012 reads. And not just because it made me cry ;-)