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Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Tabitha Suzuma

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5979016,431 (4.22)19
Authors:Tabitha Suzuma
Info:Simon Pulse (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:audiobooks, Read but unowned
Tags:dark&twisted, YA

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Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma (2010)



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I have a phrase for stories so beautifully sad that they break through your heart. Lovely Despair. Lots of stories have broken my heart. This book pulled my heart out of my chest, threw it on the pavement, and shattered it into a million pieces. And yet I loved it with every broken shard.

Some people won’t ‘get’ this book. It might be cringe-worthy or even triggering. And I get that. I do. If you feel that way, I don’t blame you for avoiding this book. You have to take care of yourself. But if you can handle the subject matter (and getting your heart shattered by a story), this book could be for you.

Forbidden is a story about two teenage siblings, Lochan and Maya, who have spent most of their lives raising their three younger siblings. They’ve always been best friends more than brother and sister, and that develops into romantic love. I want to mention right away that these two are not people who simply have incestual leanings. They don’t feel any attraction to their other siblings. They have an attraction to each other. And that’s something that builds out of a deeper connection, not just a sexual desire. They act as parents to the kids, and Maya considers Lochan her soulmate and partner in the life they have to lead, with their alcoholic and absent mother leaving them all the responsibilities. Lochan and Maya might be living a much different life than you, the reader, can easily imagine, but you feel so connected to them that it doesn’t matter.

I have a thing for forbidden love, and I’ve always been curious about the idea of consensual sibling incest, but judging by other reviews and testimonials I’ve read, this can be a book that makes you really think about your beliefs, even if you don’t normally approve of such a thing. But that may not be the actual point. Whether or not you believe consensual incest is okay, I think it would be hard not to feel for Lochan and Maya, whose connection and relationship is often the only bright point in their lives. They also don’t enter the relationship without reservations. Lochan, in particular, struggles deeply with his feelings before giving in. They both just come to the point where denying their feelings is too painful to bear. “At the end of the day it's about how much you can bear, how much you can endure. Being together, we harm nobody; being apart, we extinguish ourselves.”

The writing in this book is simply amazing. If you let yourself become invested in this story, the emotional intensity will absolutely shake you. You feel the pain and loneliness of Maya when she’s away from Lochan. You feel the desperate panic of socially phobic Lochan when he has anxiety attacks. And in the moments they actually get to be happy together, you feel the intensity of the real love these two share and how much they truly need each other. And that makes it really, really hard to maintain that this relationship is morally wrong.

Is incest a good thing, something that should be encouraged? No, of course not. The laws regarding incest are completely understandable, because (and I can’t stress this enough) the vast majority of it is abusive. But this particular instance where the relationship is very clearly consensual, with two people on an equal level of authority, and based on a deep love is something I can’t believe is evil. It’s unfortunate and tragic. You feel like you wish that they just hadn’t been born siblings. But I’ve thought about this so much that I’ve sort of decided that they needed to be siblings. That they needed someone who was as invested in their family’s survival. They couldn’t have made it through their hard times if they hadn’t supported each other every step of the way. It’s unfortunate that they should be soulmates who are also siblings, but they were fortunate in that they had each other nearly their whole lives. All of it is tragic, and yet, all of it makes sense. And the incredibly rare kind of love they shared should not be illegal. At least that’s how I feel about it.

This book is probably the best book I’ve read in years. The writing and plot were able to suck me in and reach me on every level, the characters became a part of me, and this is a story that will stay with me forever. I feel like I have to warn you, though, that the ending of this book set me off into an extremely depressive state. I was just so invested in the story and the characters that I couldn’t really handle the ending with the other things that were going on in my life at the time. I don’t regret letting this beautifully painful book into my heart, but if you’re easily set off by tragic endings, please be prepared. I thought I was. I wasn’t. ( )
  fireflys_locket | Apr 25, 2017 |
Sixteen-year-old Maya and seventeen-year-old Lochan have to look after their three younger siblings and share household responsibilities while still going to school and doing their homework. Their father left them five years ago and now has a new family and when they do see their mother she's drunk. She usually stays over at her boyfriend's house pretending she doesn't have five children. At school Lochan is socially inept. The one person he considers his best friend is Maya. When Maya goes out on her first date, she doesn't want the guy to kiss her because she's in love with someone else.

Lochan and Maya are in love with each other.

The author did a good job of taking a taboo subject and creating this story. It wasn't like the brother and sister went at it the whole book. They were in denial, they knew it was wrong and thought of their family and the consequences, they followed their heart. They needed to feel like they were loved and wanted since their parents didn't care about them. They, as well as the others, were fleshed out into real characters and I couldn't help but feel for them. It's just a sad story about a dysfunctional family. ( )
  jenn88 | Apr 25, 2017 |
Are you f'ing serious!I can't even believe the ending of this book!!!! Don't want to spoil it for anyone but lets just say it was unexpected. Overall this was a great read, unconventional in subject since it was about a teenage brother and sister who fall in love with one another after parenting their younger siblings when they are deserted by their actual parents, but great read all the same. ( )
  JordanAshleyPerkins | Jan 26, 2017 |
Going into this book, I was very skeptical and hesitant. I knew the major theme of the book was going to be incest, and let's be honest, that's a topic that makes everyone uncomfortable. What I didn't expect was the internal conflict I felt throughout the story. LOTS OF SPOILERS BELOW!

So basically the story follows Maya and Lochan who are brother and sister. They have a horrible home life (alcoholic absent mom and a dad that left the family and moved to another country) that centers around the two of them having to raise their three younger siblings. On top of the bad home life, Lochan also has terrible social anxiety to the point where he is paralyzed in social settings. Through the book, you realize how close Maya and Lochan are because they basically have to take on the role as mom/dad. They grow closer to the point of having feelings for each other beyond a sibling sense. They both feel disgusted with themselves at first and try to deny their feelings, but eventually the pot boils over and they have to come to terms with the fact that they love each other and only want to be with each other despite the consequences. They keep their relationship underwraps for the most part until they finally get a day alone and things escalate physically and they take each other's virginity. Their mom ends up walking in on the aftermath of the scene and calls the police. It turns out, the younger brother Kit tipped off the mom because he was angry at Lochan for something that happened at school (something very minor that shouldn't have caused such a fall out). Lochan makes Maya promise to let him take the fall so that she can continue to raise the younger siblings and can try to have a normal life. Maya is reluctant but agrees, mostly for the sake of the younger kids. The police come and Lochan away in handcuffs and their is a very dramatic scene with Kit chasing the police car down the road after he realizes the consequences of what he did. At the police station, Lochan holds up his story and says he threatened Maya and forced her into the relationship and that it is entirely his idea. The police later reveal that Maya signed a statement saying that the relationship was consensual and now she faces jail time of her own. The story ends with Lochan realizing the only way to save Maya and his family is to escape the prison some how. He ties a bed sheet to the cell bars on a window so that he can loosen them in hopes of breaking free.. But it actually tuns out that Lochan ties a noose and hangs himself with his last thoughts/words being about his family and saying "Maya, my love, Maya, Maya, Maya." In the epilogue, Maya and the younger siblings are getting ready for Lochan's funeral. Maya realizes that she is planning to kill herself by taking a kitchen knife in their favorite spot in the park. After a conversation with the youngest girl, Willa, Maya realizes that by her killing herself she will have made everything Lochan did for the family in vain. She chooses to put the knife back in the kitchen drawer and makes a promise to Lochan to try to live her life. The book ends with the youngest boy, Tiffin, commenting on how summer is finally almost here.

This book... I don't really know how to put into words how I feel about it. You know going into it that incest = wrong, but once you read about Maya and Lochan you find yourself cheering for them. You feel so badly for them that their home life is so horrible that they deserve happiness, even if it means the happiness comes from each other. Many times they justify (to themselves) their love by saying they relationship isn't hurting anyone else, so what does it matter? That is the biggest thing I took from this book. Yes, this is a weird and taboo subject but their relationship was not hurting anyone else and was absolutely consensual, so what does it matter? I found myself cheering for them and feeling so, so sad when they weren't able to have a normal relationship like othe teenagers, but then I would feel disgust when I remembered they are brother and sister. Like I said, I felt very conflicted throughout the whole book, especially when they got to the sexual scenes. I will say that the way the sex scenes are written are more realistic and accurate than any other book I've read. Anyway, I kept finding myself cheering for them and hoping for a good ending. I kept hoping that maybe Lochan and Maya would go off to university together and could have a life on their own without judgment, but I knew coming into this book that the ending wasn't a happy one. When the mom walks in on them after the sex scene, I literally gasped out loud. How could this woman who has been such a shotty, absent parent decide that this was the one moment she was going to do the "right" thing and call the police. How could Kit betray Maya and Lochan just because he was an angry teenager? How could he not have known that he was going to change everyone's life forever? After the scene with Kit chasing after the police car, I had to put down the book and walk away. I was so angry and upset that I needed to give myself a time out. After picking it back up and going through the scenes in the police station with Lochan.... I really thought he was going to try to break out of his cell and an officer was going to shoot him or something. I did not see him hanging himself, and I had to go back and read the paragraph several times because I was so shocked. Then when Maya contemplated killing herself as well to give the little kids a chance to go into social services to find new families... I just couldn't. I was overcome with emotion that I just didn't know how to feel. I was so proud of her for putting the knife back in the drawer once she realized that Lochan did this for, for the family. By her killing herself, his death would have been in vain. She realized that Lochan knew how strong she was and that she can make it through life without him. It is such a touching scene, and I'll be honest, the water works were following at full force.

This is one of those books that works as a standalone book and not series, because their story was told in full and their is nothing left to be said. It ended the best way that it could have given the events. I do wish I could know how Maya and the little ones are doing now, but I can only hope that she has stayed as strong and used Lochan's love as motivation to continue on with her life. This is definitely a book that you cannot judge just by it's theme. If I would have done that, I would've never given it a chance. Sometimes you have to open yourself up to things that are taboo and make you uncomfortable so that you can grow and learn and understand that the world isn't as always black and white as it seems. There is a lot of gray, and Maya and Lochan's love is the gray.

For more reviews, and also review of the book by my co-blogger:
Southern Bred, Southern Read

( )
  leahlo89 | Nov 2, 2016 |
Ummmm..... WOW!

I am left speechless after reading this one.

It has been two days and I am still trying to collect my thoughts. Forbidden was one of the most emotional, intense romances I've ever read about. The subject is touchy and at times makes you uncomfortable, but it's also what pulls you in. From the moment I devoured page one I was hooked. My fingers couldn't turn the pages quick enough and my heart swelled with emotions.

Lochan and Maya are living an unconventional life. They are left to fend for their younger siblings and while doing so they connect on a romantic level... Yes, I know it's a bit sick, but in some taboo way... It worked. My heart ached for all they dealt with. Between the worry of finances, the sorting out sibling drama, and maintaining their own school work... It's no wonder they looked to one another for comfort and security. As their relationship progressed behind closed doors the feelings became more prominent and they began to crave a more public affair.

Towards the end I started to draw my own conclusions, but nothing compared to the TRUE ending. Let me just say... the ending will gut you. Your heart will be ripped from your chest and stomped all over.

I honestly cannot recommend this book more. Immediately after finishing I wanted to pick it up and start a re-read... I remember looking at my husband and saying "This is a book I wish I could own 15 copies of". Absolutely amazing book that will give you butterflies and break your heart into a million tiny pieces.

( )
  ReadersCandyb | Oct 7, 2016 |
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Book description
Sixteen-year-old Maya and seventeen-year-old Lochan have never had the chance to be 'normal' teenagers. Having pulled together for years to take care of their younger siblings while their wayward, drunken mother leaves them to fend alone, they have become much more than brother and sister. And now, they have fallen in love.

But this is a love that can never be allowed, a love that will have devastating consequences ...

'How can something so wrong feel so right?'
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She is pretty and talented, 16 and never been kissed. He is 17, gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. Only one problem, they're brother and sister. 'Forbidden' will take readers on an extraordinary emotional journey.… (more)

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