Tuesday, September 14, 2010

REVIEW:Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

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.

Forbidden will take you on an extraordinary emotional journey. Passionate and shocking, this is a book you will remember long after you have put it down.

This? Was a definite emotional roller coaster. I really have to applaud Tabitha Suzuma for choosing such a controversial subject to write about, sticking with it, and finally for writing about it incredibly well. All the way through Forbidden, I still had that lingering icky feeling that I have when I think about incest, even consensual incest, AND at the very same time I am rooting whole-heartedly for Maya and Lochlan to just together, damnit. How did that happen?

The justification for this odd-pairing seemed quite believeable when placing the two lovebirds in the awful home scenario presented in the book. Their youngish mother, keen to live out some of her fading youth very close to abandons these five children to their own devices, while their father has emigrated to Australia to start a new family. This leaves the two oldest, Lochan and Maya to juggle high school and their three younger brothers and sisters.

I'm really glad there was a dual-narrative, the reader can definitely see that this relationship definitely is consensual. For Maya, she's never seen Lochan as her brother, but more a partner in life. Much the same for Lochan, but his social anxiety is at such a level that he feels increasingly alone and can only really interact with family members. Both are under enormous pressure. To do well in school, to keep their brothers and sisters fed and clean, clothed and doing their homework. Even doing the bills and worrying about things far beyond what they should be worrying at their ages. Add that to these feelings that they know nobody else will understand or tolerate? It was Maya's perspective that I found the most engaging, but I did feel as though both voices felt a little similar.

It was very difficult reading this book. It would have been bad enough, just reading about the level of neglect and poor parenting of their mother, but added to this the guilt and confusion of Maya and Lochan as they realise their feelings for each other and try to supress their emotions. All the jealousy and the build-up to that final explosive conclusion. Phew. I was absolutely frazzled by the end. There's such a feeling of foreboding to this book, that it can't possibly end well, can it?

Has anyone else read anything besides by Tabitha Suzuma besides Forbidden? Because I'm a little excited to find a new author that I love with a backlist! My only minor complaint with Forbidden is that I sort of hated all the kids' names apart from Maya. Still, one not to miss, if you can handle the subject matter!


  1. Great review! Forbidden does sound like a deep and perplexing novel. I'm glad that it lived up to your expectations! I hope to read this one soon-- I've never read about incest, and I don't agree to it, but if you say it was dealt with nicely, then I need to read it. :)

  2. Hi Cass! Forbidden is certainaly harrowing but also very thoughtfully done. I'd recommend it.

  3. I always think of Virginia Andrews 'Flowers in the Attic' when anyone mentions incest. What an interesting storyline, though I can imagine how it gave you a sickly feeling. Not sure if I want to read it or not. Hmmm,

  4. I loved this so much. It's rare for an author to cause such and internal battle in me!

  5. Great review Clover, I loved this one. I never expected to want a happy ending for Maya & Lochan but I really wanted them to find a way to be together. This was definiely a book that challenged the way I think about incest, even though I still feel it's wrong I think in this case it was understandable

  6. Fantastic review! I bought this one after reading the synopsis but I still haven't gotten around to it.

  7. Oooh great review. This one sounds a really powerful read. Definitely going on the wishlist!

  8. Darren - It is very powerful, definitely read it!

    Lucie - Oh, you must get to it. But I can see how you might think there might never be a good time to read about consensual incest..

    Sarah - oh yeah, it didn't change my view about incest as a whole, but I definitely wanted Maya and Lochan together!

    Sophie - I think that's what I loved about it :)

    Vivienne - I'd actually forgotten about Flowers in the Attic! Forbidden is much better, promise.

  9. I recently bought this and have to say that I cannot wait to read it. This one has been getting so many rave reviews and am glad to see that you also love this! Must read this over the weekend!

  10. Download it to my phone (via amazon) today.

    About 10% in according to the app and I'm really hating the mother at the moment.

    Suspect that is not going to change as I move further in...

  11. thebookfairyhaven - Yes! I'm glad you've pushed it up the pile, I hope you enjoy it!

    Darren - No, I hated the mother all the way through it. She's not a very sympathetic character :(


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