How did I get it?:
It was a birthday gift!
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.
I really don’t know where to begin with this review. It’s such a contentious issue. I wasn’t sure whether to review it or not, but then I decided to go through it. After all, although these kind of books are hard to review, they are the ones that deserve a review and deserve to be spoken about because they push the boundaries, and make us think about our own opinions on this subject. This has been classified as a young adult novel, I would definitely recommend it to the higher age range of young adult, purely because the content is quite extreme. The story is about a romance between a brother and a sister, but it’s also more than that.
Lochan is seventeen. He’s a complex character, suffering from social anxiety at school and the responsibility of looking after his three youngest siblings with his sixteen year old sister Maya. Their mother neglects her family. She’s an alcoholic, who prefers to spend her time away from her children and with her partner instead. Their father moved to Australia with his new wife years ago. Lochan is a high achiever, although he doesn’t speak at school, he regularly gets high grades. Lochan’s only good thing in his life is his sister Maya. Lochan and Maya heave never really been like brother and sister. They’re more like best friends, or even to some extent like a mum and dad to the three younger children. One night after a heated argument, they share a kiss, and their whole life is turned upside down.
Tabitha Suzuma spends the first third of the book, setting up their family life and letting the reader know how tough the whole family has it. Lochan and Maya are literally hanging by a thread. They have to keep up with their own school work and care for the other siblings. This means cooking, cleaning, shopping, supervising homework and bedtimes. They often have to cover for their absent mother as they really don’t want Social Services on their case, they might split up the family and that is Lochan and Maya’s worst nightmare. Kit, who is 13, starts to rebel against Lochan’s authority. The family situation is very, very bleak.
Once the kiss happens, their lives begin to change. They become very scared about the implications of falling in love with the wrong person. Their love grows, with the dread growing with it. They try to be rational and think about the implications on their family and also how much trouble they would face if they were caught. They know their love is wrong, yet they can’t help their feelings for each other. They’ve experienced so much together which has brought them even closer together. They believe they are soul mates, and they want to find a way that they can be together.
I really liked how Tabitha alternated between Lochan and Maya’s narrative. I think it really worked. I felt like I knew Lochan and Maya so well. There are some particularly powerful scenes, which Tabitha handles with such skill. The book is incredibly tense. There’s not much light relief. Yet, I couldn’t stop reading. The thought processes and feelings that the siblings experience are so well explored and written. It’s such an emotional read. I knew that it wasn’t going to end well. It can’t be a happily ever after ending and I was just waiting for that messy end for the two. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where I felt so conflicted to whether a couple should be together or not. I wanted them to have a happy ending, but I knew it couldn’t be that way.
I completely agree that this book makes you think, way after you’ve finished reading it. It’s taken me a while to write this review, to try to process what I’ve read and to make sense of it. I felt every emotion, but more often than not it was frustration, panic and despair. It’s definitely not a light read, and if you don’t think you’d like reading this book, then I’d say, don’t give it a go. I don’t want this book, which is beautifully written, to be slated, just because the subject matter makes the reader feel too uncomfortable. I definitely felt uncomfortable at points, but I like that it made me challenge my thoughts.
Would I recommend it?:
Ordinarily with books, I just give my rating, but this is a tough book to rate. I personally thought it was a four star read, which I answer the question as ‘Of course’ but given the subject matter of this book, I don’t think it’s for everyone. I do think some people might be very offended by the content. So, in this case.. read at your own discretion.