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Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
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Forbidden (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Tabitha Suzuma

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4657822,298 (4.21)18
Member:CatHellisen
Title:Forbidden
Authors:Tabitha Suzuma
Info:Simon Pulse (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:audiobooks, Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:dark&twisted, YA

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Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma (2010)

Recently added byprivate library, RCW, englisherna, sandra.k.heinzman, Cmyrick36, Terry_Mitchell, azeralpawn

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Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
To say that I am emotionally crippled is the understatement of the year.
I have just finished reading Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma (when I wrote this) and I don’t know what to feel. So forgive me if I prattle or babble or commit grammatical errors because I am so wrung out but I must write this review to lighten my heavy heart. Be mindful though because this will contain major spoilers that I cannot omit because of very important reasons.
Forbidden was first introduced to me by some friends online. Having read their tweets, posts and some reviews, I got curious so I looked it up and, well, I became intrigued right away. It dabbles on such a taboo topic—incestuous relationship—that I was uncomfortable of the thought of reading it. But my friends finally managed to persuade me and so I did, with little knowledge of what I was about to face.
It started with Lochan, the eldest of the 5 Whitely siblings, in a classroom describing the most inane stuff as ‘the small, crisp, burned-out black husks scattered across the chipped white paint of the windowsills.’ But the way he narrated it, the words he used to describe its suffering before finally dying suggests that he was not your typical 17-year old. Throughout the story, it was implied through his thoughts and actions that Lochan has a problem socializing or dealing with his peers. But it appears that he only has this problem at school because at home, he was the father-figure. It was never said what his real problem was or how and when his panic attacks started whenever he is asked to speak in class. What I can glean though was that being left so young by their father and having a drunkard for a mother who neglects them has taken its toll on Lochan so he became so focused in keeping what’s left of his family that he shut off from the world almost competely. What kept him afloat was his younger sister, Maya.
Maya is sixteen, 13 months younger than Lochan. Unlike her brother, Maya interacts well enough with other people and is almost like the normal 16-year old save for the mother-figure role that she plays. She doesn’t think as deep as Lochie does but was as pragmatic as her brother. Together, Maya and Lochie play the part of their estranged parents despite being brutally young. Maya and Lochan were close to their siblings especially Tiffin and Willa. But Kit, their 13 year old brother resents Lochan, claiming that he enjoys bossing them around.
So, as they struggled with the more frequent absence of their mother and Lochie’s problem dealing with other people plus the constant threat of Social Service hovering above them, Lochie and Maya became even closer. At first I cannot find any trace of incestuous feeling or thoughts between Lochan and Maya except that both of them constantly thinks about how the other is his/her bestfriend and has been there from the start. So I thought, ‘hey, maybe I can fathom reading this’.
But well, there’s always another shoe as they say. It all started to change one innocent morning. After reading a rather unsettling essay that Lochie wrote—the essay was about a man who felt emptiness even though he just received his college degree and contemplated to jump off a building; I think Lochan was channeling his own thoughts to the man in his essay—Maya asked him to help her practice salsa and so he did. But then a slow song came up and they, of course, danced slowly. Maya was content in the arms of her brother, and so was Lochie with Maya in her arms, except that, Lochie found himself admiring his sister’s beauty.
“I find myself marvelling at how pretty she is, standing here, leaning against me in her short-sleeved blue shirt, bare arms warm and smooth against my neck. Her top buttons are undone, revealing the curve of her collarbone, the expanse of smooth white skin beneath. Her white cotton skirt stops well above her knees and I’m aware of her bare legs brushing against the thin, worn fabric of my jeans. The sun highlights her auburn hair, catches in her blue eyes. I drink in every tiny detail, from her soft breaths to the touch of each finger on the back of my neck. And I find myself filled with a mixture of excitement and euphoria so strong that I don’t want the moment to ever end . . . And then, out of nowhere, I am aware of another sensation – a tingling surge across my whole body, a familiar pressure against my groin. Abruptly I let go of her, shove her away from me, and stride over to the radio to cut the music.”
Yep— a boner for his sister.
Days and weeks followed and things became silent between them. Then, one night, Maya went home from a date (with the hottest guy in school; and she agreed because she thought it would be better for both her and Lochan, to brush off what’s happened betweem them) and this is where it really changed. Lochan asked Maya what the hell they did for four hours when they’re just supposed to have dinner.
“I’m just surprised. Four hours is a hell of a long time to spend over dinner.”
And they argued and argued, Maya defending herself saying that she and her date, Nico DiMarco, talked for hours because he was such a great guy (but she dumped him when he dropped her off outside their house) and Lochan, not believing her, convinced that she slept with Nico even saying that ‘like mother, like daughter’. So Maya took her brother’s shoulder and told him that Nico didn’t even kiss her—wasn’t able to because she didn’t let him— because... *kissed Lochan’s cheek*... *kissed the corner of Lochan’s lips*... *kissed Lochan*.
By that point, I thought... uh oh. I don’t know whether to be repulsed or what because they are siblings for chrissakes! But then, my friends told me to keep an open mind and so I did. And continued reading. Another thing that bothered me aside from their indecorous relationship was their mother. I seriously wanted to rip her hair out because no matter how much you hated your children, you do not leave them like that, you do not let them fend for themelves like that. But this also begs the question: if their father didn’t leave or even if he did but their mother wasn’t a drunkard, negligent whore-ish woman, would Lochan and Maya find themselves in the position they were in—in love with each other?
I’m still thinking about that.
Anyway, so after that fateful night, Maya was convinced to show her brother what she feels for him but Lochan is intent to avoid something like that to happen again. He was steering clear from Maya, insisting that what they did that night was wrong but after sometime, they cannot stop their feelings for each other anymore so they did whatever they could to be with each other secretly.
“They’ll never stop us. Not as long as this is what we both want. But you’ve got to stop thinking it’s wrong, Lochie. That’s just what other people think; it’s their problem, their stupid rules, their prejudices. They’re the ones who are wrong, narrow-minded, cruel . . .”
Oh, I’d really like to comment on this.
This may or may not reflect what Tabitha Suzuma personally thinks. But she presented a quite reasonable case with the statement above. It is true that there are certain kinds of love that are wrong in the eyes of the public. “Why is this such a crime?” Maya asked. Why, indeed. Does this have to do with religious beliefs? Or did it just blossom from chauvinism and predisposition of the society? Lochan believed that as long as they didn’t cross the arbitrary line—that is, of having sex— and as long as they don’t hurt the people around them, they are doing nothing wrong. Personally, I do not approve of incest. That’s why I wasn’t comfortable in reading this in the first place. But experiencing a love like that through Maya and Lochan’s eyes, I think I need some time to rethink. It doesn’t mean that my view towards the subject has gone all 180 degrees but that statement above really got to me as well as Maya asking why is their love such a crime and Lochan, “How can something so wrong feel so right?”.
Okay? Okay, well here’s the part that I have been dreading to write about. This is the major spoiler.
Okay so one morning, everyone, that is there three siblings, were out. Kit was on some field trip and Tiffin and Willa were on a friend’s house. Of course their mother wasn’t there. Maya and Lochan were looking forward to this day because finally, for one whole day they don’t have to pretend. So when they’re finally, finally alone they went to Maya’s room and at last, gave in to each other. Yeah, they crossed that line, that boundary but surprisingly, I did not feel disgusted. I was kinda happy for them actually because I can see that they’ve been working so hard and I’m not thinking of them as brother and sister anymore. I was happy because they were happy but then at the end of that chapter, it was like my world went down with them. Their mom discovered them. Long story short, she called the police and Lochan was taken away but not before he made Maya promise to incriminate him of rape because Lochan, unselfish Lochan, was thinking of their siblings and thought that if he and Maya confessed that their relationship was consensual their siblings would go into custody. Maya agreed and Lochan was imprisoned, questioned until he learned that Maya reneged and their plan was turned to ashes. But heck if Lochan will stay to witness that. Oh, no. He still thought of a way to escape. And I seriously thought he was going to escape, escape because of the small window he keeps on mentioning. Turns out he had a different definition of escape in his mind. One that’s permanent. An escape where there’s no coming back.
He hung himself. And his last thoughts were of Maya.

By this time I felt wrecked. I mean, I just wanted to hurl my phone across the room because, really? REALLY? I mean, why go through all those hardships, all those secrecy with Maya when in the end he just chose to end his life. He chose to leave his family. He chose to leave Maya!!!!!!!! By that time I really don’t care anymore what kind of love they have for each other but I know that it’s worth a lot and taking his own life didn’t make sense. If he’s not thinking of himself and Maya, can he at least think about Willa, Tiffin and Kit? How will Maya handle them all on her own? They barely manage it with the two of them but...ugh. I was so devastated and I’m just crying all throughout until the last page especially when Maya was also contemplating on killing herself! And when she’s telling Willa to draw for Lochan’s funeral... I just can’t.

And because this novel was able to make me cry, I consider it great. It brought out feelings in me that I thought I would never feel. It challenged my belief, made me rethink my own prejudices and made me reevaluate my judgement towards this kind of relationship. It showed me that love can be found even if it goes against human nature. It presented a kind of love that is very rarely found, one that is so taboo yet so thrilling to read at the same time. This is a story that I would not forget—not for quite a long time.
( )
  englisherna | Apr 8, 2015 |
I stumbled upon this author at an Author party on facebook and was intrigued about the storyline...I must say that I LOVED this twist on Vampires! It's hard not hurt and be angry for the fate that Rosaline was served and root for her to have a just a little bit of a normal life. Of course fate doesn't allow that for long and her story becomes the page turning tale that you truly can not set down! Each of the characters were well developed and the story was an a great read, looking forward to reading more in this series! ( )
  Terry_Mitchell | Feb 20, 2015 |
I stumbled upon this author at an Author party on facebook and was intrigued about the storyline...I must say that I LOVED this twist on Vampires! It's hard not hurt and be angry for the fate that Rosaline was served and root for her to have a just a little bit of a normal life. Of course fate doesn't allow that for long and her story becomes the page turning tale that you truly can not set down! Each of the characters were well developed and the story was an a great read, looking forward to reading more in this series! ( )
  Terry_Mitchell | Feb 20, 2015 |
Read more reviews at The Beautiful World of Books!

“You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel.”

It's been over a year since I read this book and although I feel prepared to now write one, it's still a tough book to review.

Initially, I gave it a three stars. Considering I follow the GR rating system literally and three stars means 'liked it', it was fitting. However, after careful consideration, I gave it four stars because although I didn't 'really like it', it deserves a higher rating.

Before continuing, I would like to say that I highly doubt Ms Suzuma was trying to sell the idea of incest to readers, or even romanticising incest. It's a twisted love story, one of survival and growing up, one that is so believable, it will give you goosebumps.

I went into this book with an open mind. After reading several YA stories where incest is romanticised *coughCityofBonescough*, I gave this one a shot. The blurb clearly states it won't have a happy ending, so if you're going into reading this thinking it will, you're wrong and I suggest you look elsewhere.

Maya and Lochan are best friends, soul mates, the love of each other's lives. They're inseparable and know each better than anyone. They're the epitome of a perfect couple... with a twist.

They're siblings.

Growing up in a dysfunctional home with a mother who could care less, Lochan and Maya rely on each other to look after their younger siblings. They're a tight knit family, and they love each other dearly.

This book ripped me to shreds. I have never cried this much when reading a book (with maybe the exception of My Sister's Keeper) and I felt emotionally drained for days after reading it. So drained, in fact, that it's taken me a year to write a review and even now I can't find the right words.

This is not a book about accepting incest. It's not a book about accepting what life throws at you and going with the flow. It's about two people trying their hardest to survive and depending on each other too much, to the point of falling in love. In today's society, incest is not only illegal but regarded with disgust and horror and I won't lie, I felt horrified and disgusted whilst reading Forbidden. It's a very visual book and Suzuma goes all out with her scenes.

With the way it was written though, you can almost forget they're brother and sister. Suzuma's writing is lyrical and poetic without coming across as pretentious and snooty. She did an incredibly job with portraying life in Lochan's and Maya's household. It comes to the point where you feel so sick and sorry for those poor kids, you just beg for a happy ending.

Newsflash: this shit happens, more often than you realise. When a paternal figure disappears from the picture and children rely on each other too much, it happens. In the UK alone, there have been over a 1000 reported cases of incest in the past two to three years. 95% of these cases, the children were from a highly dysfunctional family and didn't realise what they were doing was wrong. The difference between these kids and Maya and Lochan is that the latter knew what they were doing and knew that it was wrong but didn't know how to stop.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I'm going to say one last thing before leaving. This is a beautifully written story about love and heartbreak. It doesn't have a happy ending and it might tear you to shreds like it did me. It's not a book for everyone's taste, but it's a book I'd recommend to anyone who is willing to be open minded about it. ( )
  Aly_Locatelli | Jan 26, 2015 |
So, I didn't really care for this one. I don't think it's a bad book or anything. And the subject matter wasn't an issue. The writing didn't pull me in, and I didn't find myself draw to or feeling much for any of the characters. For me, what should have been an interesting, engaging read just wasn't. ( )
  Kelly_Mills | Dec 13, 2014 |
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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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