Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Source: Random House UK and Tabitha
Grade: 5 stars
Lochan has always been the socially awkward—inept—boy whose beauty attracts the girls and whose written prose and intelligence delights the teachers. But Lochan has more than enough to handle than to deal with a love life for his father left for a new family in Australia and his alcoholic mother, who acts more like the child, begins to date again and with 4 siblings to take care of. Definitely more than enough to handle. Yet Maya—beautiful, strong, and gentle Maya—younger than Lochan by 13 months, is there to help him deal with the stress.Lochan and Maya have always been close—best friends since toddler years. It is only recently that the prospect of Maya dating and kissing some other boy does the secret escape and become something they have always suspected: they love each other. More than what a brother and sister should be allowed.But it’s an illegal act, disgusting even more so. So they must deny, hide, and escape from these feelings. It must be locked up with the key to be thrown away. A façade must be put in place to shield from the world from these feelings but with the mask in place they become hollow shells of themselves. With love they are vibrant; with denial they are ghost.
Brilliantly told in alternating point of views Tabitha Suzuma will have William Shakespeare run for his money in this modern-day adaption of forbidden love. The novel will leave its reader exhausted from the constant heart thumping, panic attacks, and shaky smiles. It is a riveting tale of struggle: against your own emotions, against your family and peers, against the world filled with people who do not know you, but will not hesitate to judge you.
The relationship between Maya and Lochan leaps from the pages as they battle what they deemed correct yet separately they still manage to glow intensely that at times it becomes dangerous. They present the dilemma from various view points on this controversial topic with a simplistic counterargument as showcased with the quote from the back cover: ‘You’ve always been my best friend, my soul mate, and now I’ve falling in love with you too. Why is that such a crime?’
I must say I also enjoyed the younger siblings for they provided the needed pause in the emotional rollercoaster to give a minute for me to catch my breath. It is well timed and devised. Though I will say I spotted some writings error, but I’m a bit hesitant to judge them harshly for my unsure differences between the British English and American English. There is also the concern of the ending, well more of the climax, that left me wondering—how did she get in anyhow?—and with concerns of Social Service. The overall ending, however, was shock-worthy enough to make my jaw drop and pause, but I wonder what the world in the novel thinks of Maya and Lochan’s relationship.
Tabitha Suzuma goes beyond than what I had expected to create such a gripping world in Forbidden. A world to love the finer moments of life that others might take for granted. A world where the dirty secret can grow from the cracked sidewalk, twining onto the barbed wire fence, and blooming into a blood-red daisy. And for that I thank Suzuma and gleefully applaud her for an intense 5 hour read.
Warning: Book is not suitable for the younger audience. Does include sex, topics such as incest as well as cuss words.
Forbidden is out in the UK, but Amazon currently has Forbidden listed as a 2012 US release from Simon Pulse.
P.S. I have an older brother so I have strong opinions on incest and the possibility of incest in the Mortal Instruments series disgust me as well, but something worked in Forbidden. That's all I wanted to say.