Wednesday, April 10, 2013

FORBIDDEN by Tabitha Suzuma - Book Review

[Note: This review was originally published on August 8th, 2011, on]

Rating: 5/5 - So delicious that I read until my eyes went blurry!

Title: Forbidden

Author: Tabitha Suzuma

Format: hardcover


Genre: young adult [publisher’s note: ages 16 up]

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Landed in my hands: purchased myself

Summary (from jacket blurb):

Love knows no bounds...

Lochan and Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together, they have stepped in for their unreliable, alcoholic mother to take care of their three younger siblings. The stress of their lives — and the way they understand each other so completely — has brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be.

So close that they have fallen in love.

Lochan and Maya know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet they are powerless to stop what feels to incredibly right...


Quiz: Can you name a quick way to get Leslie to pick up a book?

Answer: Cite a highly controversial topic, then say it’s a young adult title, but with an age stipulation of 16 years and up.


I’m a sucker for controversy, and a true believer that if an author isn’t making their characters uncomfortable, they’re not doing their job as a writer.

Forbidden is a highly intense read, and yes, it truly has that ages 16 plus rating. It’s not for everyone.

And when I say intense, I don’t just mean the incestuous relationship

These teens find themselves in extremely stressful circumstances. They fear being separated, and are perpetually on guard for the watchful eye of the Child Protective Services, authorities, and adults in general, while running a busy household (daily care and discipline for three children, groceries, housework, paying bills), on top of keeping up with their school work in order to duck the attention of teachers (both their own and those of their siblings). They are on constant alert, under immense pressure, and for one character it includes panic, anxiety, and apparent depression.

Many adults who would struggle to keep up, and these protagonists are only sixteen and seventeen years old.

The format in which the narrative is written — present tense, and with the first person viewpoint split between Lochan and Maya — only increases the tension.

I repeat: not for everyone.

Seriously, by the end of the novel, my chest was tight with anxiety about their outcome. Regardless of their shared genes, the love that develops between these teens is deep, and in many ways they hold a wisdom that belies their years.

Truly, they are wise about a lot of worldly truths, about what is important and what is not, and yet —

Then there’s the incest.

And Suzuma sells it. She has woven a narrative so deftly that it is natural for these two to be drawn together. It’s inevitable. It’s hard to put down. It’s like trying to look away from a train wreck: the morbid fascination draws you in.

It’s one of those amazing books that is heartbreaking because even though the incest might squick you out, it’s so well written that you can’t help but sympathize with the plight of these teens.

To put it simply, Forbidden blew. my. mind.

And I won’t be forgetting it any time soon.

1 comment:

  1. It drifted onto my radar via Twitter, and I'm so glad it did! Thanks for stopping by, redhead!