Tuesday 26 July 2011

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Well. That was heart-shattering.

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.

Rating: 4/5

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.
Eye Candy
I pictured Felicity Jones as Maya and Nicholas Hoult as Lochie.

Fine Print
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 2010
Publisher: Definitions
Get It: Book Depository


  1. LOL at your last talking point :D Okay, I love that it made you think twice about these things because it made me feel the exact same way. I felt shattered at the end and consumed by guilt. Thinking I was even remotely even like those people that wanted to tear them apart really got to me. Made me realise that it's so easy to judge, but much harder to understand. And it's the understanding part we need to work on. I felt I understood a whole lot more on this after reading this book which is what makes it so worth it. Great review :)

  2. I'd been feeling a little skeptical about the praise for this book as well. Yours is the first review I've read, however, that's actually made me want to read it! Bookstore, here I come!

  3. At first I was a little bit hesitant about buying this read. Instead I picked up Spoiled (we are both reading the same book!) which I think was a mistake. Next time I go I will pick up this book! Thank you for the review!

  4. I let this one expire (well, let is a bad word, but oh well...) so I'm sad that it happened! I need to pick this one up despite it being so emotional. Oh and I love the casting. :)

  5. See, this is a book I'd go into ready to tear to pieces! I just don't think I can get over the ickyness!

  6. Blueicegal - Thanks! I agree, I feel like if it's two consenting adults and they're not doing anyone any harm, it's their business.

    Jenna - Wow, thanks! I'd be interested to know what you think :)

    Roxy - How funny! I was happy to pick up Spoiled after Forbidden because I needed something mindless and fun after being so devastated.

    Melissa - Thanks! It's probably like a bandaid - better to get through the pain quickly ;-)

    Jenny - I know what you mean, but it's really well done. It's still icky, but it really explores the emotions and reasoning behind it. They talk about how they never really felt like brother and sister. I think what helps is they're not horrible characters, you do care about them. That's what makes it so sad. But hey, it's not for everyone. :)

  7. Lochan really drew me into the story too. I felt so much of his pain. So heartbreaking.

  8. It makes me wanna cry just thinking about Lochan!

  9. Oh this is all so intriguing...and icky...but intriguing. Fab review. I think I'll have to pass because it sounds to sad for me. I just can't do it.

  10. Haha Alexis, icky and intriguing pretty but sums it up! It is VERY sad and a very hard read in that sense.