Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Published: Simon Pulse (June 28, 2011)
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Series: No
Source: Galley Grab
GoodReads Summary: 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.

My Thoughts: I will warn you guys straightaway that I did not go into reading this book completely blind, because some champion on GoodReads didn't mark their spoiler and the ending was ruined for me. That being said, I was not deterred from cracking open this book and subjecting myself to some highly controversial and disturbing topics.

Did it make me want to crawl out of my skin because I was cringing so much? Absolutely.
Do I now support the idea of a bro/sis love affair? NO NO NO.
If I had a brother, would I have probably been hesitant to continue reading at certain points? Probably.
But was the writing beautiful and emotional and raw and vivid? So much so that I couldn't put this book down and completely devoured it in almost one sitting, despite knowing exactly how it all ends? YES.

This book's reputation precedes it by close to a year, for me. Back before I was a blogger, I heard from some fellow GoodReaders how horrendously beautiful this book was. And the waterworks it induced. I, being one who loves taboo and difficult reads, immediately went to order it overseas. WOE OF WOES, it was out of stock. Luckily, I caught word of Simon Pulse releasing it and was joyous, because I couldn't wait to start reading it.

I had a really hard time absorbing that Lochan and Maya were brother and sister, because the idea of them as being mother and father figures to their three younger siblings overshadowed everything else. Maybe that's what Tabitha Suzuma wanted. Maybe it was a coping mechanism on my behalf. I don't really know. But I found myself emotionally invested in an illegal relationship. I wouldn't go as far as to say that I was in favor of their love, but rather their happiness with their lives. I wanted a good ending for both of them. Both Lochan and Maya are good, sweet, kind people. The fact that their mother was a good-for-nothing drunk only fueled my feelings for them. (HATED HER SO MUCH.)

There are so many subjects that I've read about time and time again that were presented to me in a whole new light in Forbidden: crippling social anxiety, drunken, negligent parents, broken families, sibling rivalry, first loves... except all of it seemed magnified and brand new, thanks to Suzuma's painfully raw prose.

I just finished and I feel cheated, because I knew what was going to happen. I definitely did not get to experience the full spectrum of emotions that I've heard so much about. I didn't cry. But I still wanted to tell you guys that if you're up for a difficult, powerful, gripping, unputdownable read that leaves you feeling just a little bit gross, but also warm and fuzzy in a sick, twisted way... this is the book you should be picking up.


  1. Jen, this is an exceptional review. I am eagerly waiting to read this book. I'm like you - something about the taboo topics really pull me in. Am I fan of incest? Hell no. But I am a fan of YA lit that pushes the boundaries & writes about uncomfortable matters. I will steer clear of goodreads so I don't read any spoilers. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. I have this one on my shelf at home and have been so back and forth on reading it....

  3. We agree with Ginger 100%. And we're so sorry you were robbed/spoiled for the ending! That stinks. Normally we don't get too worked up about stuff like that, but if it's so integral to the emotional journey of a book like this, we would hate to know ahead of time.

  4. Oh boy! I think I may just have to pick this one up. After reading your review I know that perhaps some uncomfortable moments will ensue but it seems to be worth it. Plus, from what I can tell there doesn't seem to be any other YA book out there that touches on incest (correct me if I am wrong). Thanks for the excellent review. I am putting this on my wish list.

  5. Sorry that someone spoiled the ending for you - that sucks! - but glad you still found this a memorable and emotional read! I have this earmarked to read, so your review reminded me that maybe I should read a little sooner than planned :)

  6. I agree with Ginger, really awesome review. Halfway through I was off to pre-order on B&N. Sorry about the spoiler on GoodReads...but thanks for the tip, I'll be avoiding the Forbidden page. I'm really excited to do this one...I'm a sucker for a controversial read.

  7. really great review! I hate GR reviewers that don't mark their spoilers.

    Seriously though, the book really was so well written. I felt so gross for reading it, but I couldn't help it--the way it was written and paced sucked me in big time.

  8. You summed up the book perfectly! :) Which I already told you! :) Great review!

  9. Stop making me want to read this book that I DO NOT WANT TO READ.

  10. Very interesting review. I have actually never heard what this novel was about, even though I have seen the cover. I love reading the taboo books but once I start reading one I become so emotionally involved sometimes it affects my 'real' life in different ways - ie. I just reviewed Want To Go Private? and in 'real' life I became 'down' very quickly. I really love how novels can do that! I am deffintly adding this to my TBR list!

    <3 Happy Reading!
    Patricia @ Patricia's Particularity

  11. AMAZING review!! I want to read this book so bad! It's horrible that someone spoiled this for you! I hate spoilers. :(

    But, seriously. I love books that tackle really tough, controversial issues. This one sounds amazing!