I have to admit, I was pretty surprised at the raving praise Forbidden - the story of a brother and sister who fall in love - was receiving around the blogosphere. Sure, growing up on a steady diet of V.C. Andrews, I'm no stranger to incestuous relationships (er, in book form!), but they're not exactly the kind of stories that get resounding love and five-star ratings (unless it's on a trashtastic scale). So I was immediately curious when this one did, and decided to investigate for myself.
After reading it - and peeling myself up off the floor, where it left me in sobs - I realised that what makes this book so different from the likes of those written by Andrews and her ghostwriters (and it is ultimately VERY different) are the characters. Alternating between the viewpoints of the siblings in question, Lochan and Maya, you really get to know them, understand their choices - even if you can't exactly relate to them - and, most importantly, care about them. Plus, by grounding the star-crossed lovers in the very real situation of an abusive home (as opposed to, y'know, twins-separated-at-birth/rich-kid-kidnapped-at-birth/locked-in-an-attic-for-money), Suzuma takes a concept that's generally used for cheap titillation and turns it into a touching tragedy.
And what a tragedy it is. I should have expected it - I was warned that it'd be sad - but I was shocked and crushed by the end of the book. Just thinking about it now, I feel absolutely gutted. Which is a sign of a good book - something that Forbidden most definitely is. But I can't say it was an enjoyable read. It hurt way too much to be that.
Spoilery Talking Points
- Lochie. :-( It was because of him, more than Maya, that I was really drawn into the book. Such a beautiful, selfless, caring character! So, so, so sad. I'm GUTTED.
- I was surprised that the mother didn't wake up to herself after everything that happened - she still pissed off back to her boyfriend's house in the end and didn't learn her lesson. The sad thing is there are plenty of mothers out there like that.
- One thing I was impressed with in Forbidden was the exploration of the emotional side of Lochan and Maya's relationship. I've seen docos on GSA (Genetic Sexual Attraction) before and always been like WTF?! Even when the people on them were describing their feelings and how they couldn't help themselves, I remember thinking, "REALLY?! How about you just don't have sex with your brother. Is it really that hard?!" So I liked that Forbidden really made me think twice about the whole situation and see their side of the story. Though I still think it's all pretty icky, y'know, generally speaking.
I pictured Felicity Jones as Maya and Nicholas Hoult as Lochie.
Genre: Young Adult
Get It: Book Depository